Hornets land three on All-HHC first team: CC, CP boys also honored with all-conference selections
Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 8:00 pm
BY JIMMY GILLISPIE email@example.com
Rossville’s boys’ basketball went undefeated in the Hoosier Heartland Conference, won its first sectional championship in 12 years this winter and it showed in the all-conference selections.
The HHC held its annual winter banquet last week and the All-HHC teams were announced to the six conference boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball and wrestling teams. Rossville finished the HHC season unbeaten and won its second-straight conference title, therefore earning it three All-HHC selections, while Carroll (Flora), Clinton Prairie and Tri-Central were each awarded two players and Clinton Central and Sheridan had one each.
“That’s the way the conference is set up,” Rossville head coach Dave Mosson said. “The winner usually gets three all-conference and it goes does from there. The conference winner gets three and two honorable mention.”
Rossville’s starting senior trio of Brandon Tonsoni, ET Brenneman and Austin Miller all made the All-HHC team. Juniors Clayton Howard and Kyle Bordner were selected as honorable mention all-conference players. This year marked the third time Tonsoni made the first team and the second time Brenneman and Miller were chosen as first team players.
“I wish we could have gotten Clayton on there, but he had three seniors ahead of him,” Mosson said. “He’ll have to get that next year. I was happy that all five of them get some kind of honor. They are all very deserving.”
Tonsoni led the Hornets in scoring with a 17.4 average per game. He surpassed the 1,000 career point mark in December, becoming the first of four Clinton County players to accomplish the feat this season. Tonsoni also averaged 4.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 36 percent from three-point range and 77 percent from the free throw line.
“Brandon had a good season, considering the fact that he was a marked man and had been for two years,” Mosson said. “Opposing teams, especially early in the season, tried to put a man specifically to face guard him or run a triangle-and-two. I thought he did a really nice job of not trying to force things and let the game come to him most of the time. That’s a tribute to him when teams were set up to stop him.’
Miller was the Hornets’ second-leading scorer. He averaged 14.8 points per game, while shooting 35 percent from behind the arc and 81 percent from the foul line. He also averaged 2.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game this winter. Miller recently signed to play basketball and golf at Judson University.
“He probably played his best basketball in the second half of the season,” Mosson said. “He probably averaged around 16 or 17 points a game for the last half of the season. I thought he shot the ball as well as he’d shot it any time in his career the second half of the year. He was just fun to coach. He’s another kid that’s put in a lot of work with AAU, summer workouts and in the weight room.”
Brenneman nearly averaged a double-double for the Hornets after taking over the point guard position this year. However, his 6-foot, 6-inch frame isn’t the typical build for a high school point guard. He averaged 11.7 points, 9 rebounds and 5.1 assists for Rossville. He also shot 60 percent from the field his senior year.
“He’s very versatile,” Mosson said. “His first two years, he played the No. 4 spot and played back-up point guard last year. This year he assumed the role of the point guard and I thought he did a really nice job. He averaged double figures in points, nine rebounds and five assists per game. He fought physical problems for a couple years. It wasn’t until the second half of the season last year that he played totally healthy and it showed in the way that he performed. I thought he had a really outstanding season. It was nice to see him play healthy all year. It was nice to see the talented ET come out when he didn’t have to battle the physical problems.”
Howard and Bordner filled in the remaining two starting spots for Rossville, but they did more than that for the Hornets. Howard averaged 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds, while shooting 66 percent from the field. Bordner was better known for his defensive prowess, but he did average 4.3 points and 3.0 rebounds this season.
“As I’ve said before, they accepted roles this year that were very supportive of the seniors,” Mosson said. “Both went about their business without any complaints. Clayton, the last eight or nine games, may have been our best player. He rebounded and shot over 60 percent from the field. He deserved to be an all-conference player. I’m just tickled for the season he had. Kyle always played hard and guarded the other team’s best player.”
The other two county teams – CC and CP – were also recognized on the All-HHC team. CP senior Austin Martin and sophomore Kale Morris were selected to the first team, while junior Merrick McGraw was honorable mention.
Martin averaged 11 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the Gophers. Morris led them in scoring with a 16.2 per game average. Morris also averaged 5.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 blocks per contest. McGraw scored 8 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished 2.4 assists per game for the Gophers.
Central junior Jake Burton made the first team All-HHC while senior Cole Simmons was chosen honorable mention. Burton led the Bulldogs in scoring with an average of 18.1 points per game. He also grabbed 6.8 rebounds, dished 3.4 assists and recorded 2.1 steals per game for the Bulldogs.
“I thought Jake Burton had a really good year,” Leighty said. “He came back after a good season last year and I felt like he picked it up more this year. I felt like he became more of a complete player. Last year, he scored for us some, but this year he not only led us in scoring, but also rebounding and free throw shooting percentage. I felt like he made people around him better. He did a nice job of getting everyone involved. He is a really good passer. He had a different role this year. Last year, he had the ball in his hands a lot, but this year he worked hard without the ball and got everyone around him playing better.”
Simmons was the second-leading scorer for the Bulldogs. He averaged 9.9 points and grabbed 5.5 rebounds per game.
“I thought Cole had a really good year,” Leighty said. “He’s a three-year starter. During the last seven or eight games, he probably played the best basketball of his career. He did a lot of things defensively and he rebounded for us. He’s always been a tough kid, strong kid and plays hard, but I thought he played really under control and created things for the guys around him. He gave us an inside presence, which we were missing. He did a fantastic job down the stretch and he was a big part of some of those late season wins.’
The other first team players were Carroll’s Jarin Bush and Brandon Dillon, Tri-Central’s Seth Blunk and Dillon Smith and Sheridan’s Cort Christy. The remaining honorable mention players were Carroll’s Seth Eldridge, Sheridan’s Chris Roberts and Tri-Cental’s Cody Howell.