Pacers falter in playoffs

Story by: Blake Slunaker, staff writer

As the summer gets closer, the NBA playoffs come closer to a conclusion. The teams are currently in the second round of the playoffs after the first round concluded on May 1.

The teams in the second round in the Western Conference were the Golden State Warriors who faced the Portland Trailblazers. Then the  San Antonio Spurs went against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the Eastern Conference, it was the Toronto Raptors against the Miami Heat, while the Cleveland Cavaliers went against the Atlanta Hawks. The second round concluded on Sunday night with the Raptors defeating the Heat in the seventh game of their series.

The third round, or the Conference Finals, started on May 16. The teams set to faceoff in the third round are the Warriors against the Thunder on the West, and the Raptors against the Cavaliers on the East. The winners of the two sides will play in the NBA Finals.

Unfortunately for Pacer fans, the team could not make it out of the first round as they lost to the Raptors four games to three.

“I was disappointed the Pacers couldn’t pull it out against the Raptors, but I was still happy with their effort considering they were the underdogs,” said Dylan Freeman, 12.

The series was hard fought as Indiana pushed Toronto to a seven game series, but still could not pull it out in the long run. The Pacers and their fans will hope for better luck next year as they will try for a deeper playoff run.

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Boys’ basketball sectionals

Story by: Blake Slunaker, staff writer
Photos by: Elizabeth Miller, staff photographer

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The Mt. Vernon boys’ basketball team recently finished up their season at sectionals at New Castle on March 4.

The team had a bye in the first round of the tournament which allowed them to go straight to the semifinals of sectionals. They played in a tough game against the eventual champions, the New Castle Trojans.

“The boys played their hearts out and fought until the very end but just couldn’t pull it out. I was sad to see them fall after such a great season,” said Dylan Freeman, 12.

While the boys got disappointing results in the tournament, they still had a pretty successful season overall. They finished with 18 wins and only 5 losses.

baksetball sectionals 2“While I was somewhat disappointed with the result of the sectionals, I am looking forward to my senior year and am optimistic that we will have a good year,” said Michael Ertel, 11.

The Marauders should be in good shape next year as they will have a plethora of returning players that will look to make a run at a state title.

“We only have five players that are leaving due to graduation and we have a good group of hardworking seniors coming in. I think this next year will be fun for us,” said Coach Daugherty.

This past year definitely indicated that the Marauders are on the upswing and will continue on to next year.

NBA studs and duds

Story by: Connor Curts, staff writer

With the National Basketball Association’s season reaching its halfway point, it has become clear who is having a great year, and who is having a not-so-great year.

Paul George of the hometown Indiana Pacers is undoubtedly having the best season of his career, in his first full year healthy after the devastating and gruesome leg injury that kept him out for all but six games last year. He’s averaging 24.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. All of those are career-highs. On top of that he was selected to his third All-Star Game, which takes place in February.

“PG has been incredible this year. He had a rough month in December, but overall he’s done pretty well,” said Kevin Lyons, 11.

Stephen Curry, the reigning Most Valuable Player and leading MVP candidate once again this year, has been tearing up the league all season long. Though he has cooled down from his hot start to the year, he is still averaging 29.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.5 assists. Curry opted to play through an injury that would have taken a full month to recover from, and so far, the decision has paid off.

But, not everyone is having such a great year. While some are posting career-best numbers, others are not.

Roy Hibbert, a former Pacers player who saw his stats, and his body, fall hardly to the floor last year, has managed to record even worse stats with his new team, the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s scoring just 6.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists this year. At 7’2, being one of the tallest players in the league, he’s expected to grab a lot more than 5.8 rebounds.

With half of the season remaining, players don’t have a lot of time to boost their stats, but there is plenty of time for them to hit rock bottom. Numbers don’t raise easily, but they fall as quickly as a rock from the top of a cliff.

Senior sports spotlights

Story by: Blake Slunaker, staff writer
Photo by: Amanda Wiggin

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Questions for senior basketball athletes Miles Wayer & Sydney Shelton

Miles Wayer: 6’0 Senior Guard

What are your goals for this season?

MW: For this season, my main goal is to improve our record from last year and to win our sectional.

What are your plans for the future?

MW: I plan to play basketball in college but I am not sure where yet.

What are you most looking forward to this season?

MW: This season I am looking forward to making memories and bonding with my teammates.

What have you most enjoyed throughout your whole high school career?

MW: My favorite memory was going all the way to semi-state as a freshman.
Sydney Shelton: 5’8 Senior Guard

What are your goals for this season?

SS: My main goal for this year is to win state, of course.

What are your plans for the future?

SS: I plan to go to Butler University and play basketball there.

What are you most looking forward to this season?

SS: I am looking forward to playing with my fellow seniors for one last time.

What have you enjoyed most throughout your high school career?

SS: I most enjoyed winning state my freshman year and creating tight bonds with my teammates that can’t be broken.

 

Paul George’s return

Story by: Connor Curts, staff writer

When Paul George suffered a compound fracture to his leg on August 1, 2014, the Indiana Pacers fan base felt like it had just lost everything. Their star player was going to be out for the foreseeable future, and the team was going to struggle without him.

As expected, the team missed the playoffs, after George missed 76 of 82 games in the 2014-2015 season. And worse, George had to be carried off of the court with a calf injury in the final game. It wasn’t a good way to end the season.

Lo and behold, George wasn’t giving up on something he’s chased his whole life: winning the Most Valuable Player award, and winning the NBA Finals. He worked all summer long, strengthening his legs, working on shooting and dribbling. The question was whether or not it would pay off.

It did. He won Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the first month of the season, and through 20 games, George has averaged 27.9 points, 4.3 assists, and 8.2 rebounds per game. Each of those stats surpasses his career averages, and he’s in the race for MVP, though it will be rather hard to win it over Stephen Curry, the reigning MVP.

George is making 45% of his 3 point attempts, an incredible stat that will be key to watch for in the future.

“It’s insane how he’s been making so many 3 pointers,” said Sam Philpot, 11. “I can’t wait to watch him in person at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.”

For Pacers fans, seeing George on the floor at all is a wonderful sight. But seeing him single handedly dismantle opponents has been truly phenomenal.

Upcoming Events

Wed 11/25: Girls’ Varsity Basketball 7:30 pm against Westfield

Sat 11/28: Wrestling 9:00 am @Shenandoah Invitational
Girls’ Varsity Basketball 1:30 pm @Hamilton Heights
Boys’ Varsity Basketball   5:15 pm @ Hamilton Heights

Mon 11/30: Girls’ Varsity Basketball 6:00 pm @Lawrence North

Tues 12/1: Boys’ & Girls’ Swimming 5:30 pm @Warren Central

Wed 12/2: Boy’s Varsity Basketball 6:00 pm against Sheridan
Wrestling 6:00 pm against Daleville

 

 

Push for the NBA playoffs

Story by: Connor Curts, staff writer

It is April, and that means the National Basketball Association Playoffs are upon us. With only two games remaining for the majority of teams, and just one seed left in the Western Conference, as well as just two in the Eastern Conference, the stage is set for a big finish.

In the East, the Celtics look to be a lock for the 7th seed, and are ahead of both the Indiana Pacers, and the Brooklyn Nets by one game. However, in the case of a tie, the Celtics would receive the 7th seed over the Pacers, as they won the season series.

“As a Pacers fan, I always want to see them succeed, and the only way you can do that, is by making the playoffs,” said Maxwell Nugent, 10.

The Nets also won the season series against the Pacers, and with two games left, Indiana only has two ways to get in. They have to win both of their remaining games and rely on the Nets to lose at least one game. Or they have to win one of their games, and rely on the Nets to lose both of their games.

In the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder are now tied with the New Orleans Pelicans, after a huge loss to the Indiana Pacers. The game kept Indiana’s playoff hopes alive, while diminishing the Thunder’s, as the Pelicans won the season series over them, and hold the tiebreaker.

There are many possible outcomes, but only time will tell which teams are in, and which are out.

Madness in March

Story by: Blake Slunaker, staff writer

With the end of the college basketball regular season quickly coming to a close, fans looked forward to the NCAA tournament, also known as March Madness.

March Madness is what most fans call the NCAA Basketball postseason. March Madness  started on March 15 with “Selection Sunday” which is when the teams were selected to be in the 68-team tournament. The games then officially started on March 17 and went until the final two teams play for the championship on April 6.

Teams on Selection Sunday got ranked from 1-16 in four different regions, with 1 being the best seed in the region and 16 being the worst. The tournament is single elimination, meaning as soon as a team loses they are sent home.

The final four teams that were left in the tournament were Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke, and Michigan State, also known as the “Final Four.” In the championship, it was Wisconsin playing Duke. Duke ended up winning 68-63 and won its fifth title in the school’s history.

Since the tournament is single elimination, it makes it exciting to see the teams give it all they have to stay alive in the tournament. It is also exciting to see a team get upset. An upset is when a lower ranked team beats a higher ranked one. When this happens, fans will typically root for the lower ranked team since they are the underdogs.

Another reason why March Madness is so popular is because of the brackets. Fans can print out a bracket online and then try to predict the winners of each game. Many people put their brackets in a pool with other people and whoever has the most accurate bracket wins a prize of some sort.

“I enjoy watching the March Madness games because there are upsets every year and I like to root for the lower seeds,” said Dylan Freeman, 11.

With all of the unpredictable upsets and just overall craziness of the tournament, the name March Madness fits it perfectly.

The challenge of being a student athlete

By Blake Slunaker, staff writer
Photo by Hallee Evans

basketball for student athlete story editedBeing a student athlete can be challenging. Not only do these students have to focus on school work, but they also must balance being in a sport at the same time.

A big problem for students is not being able to get their school work done. Students  go home after practice, eat dinner and then usually go straight to bed after being exhausted from the long day. Many students do not feel like doing school work after their long day.

“It’s hard to balance school, work, and being an athlete all at the same time while still being successful,” said Kennedy Parker, 11.

Some students at Mt. Vernon are just like Kennedy and struggle to balance school, sports and being worked too hard at the same time. However, there are a couple suggestions to try to help balance out the problem.

“First, student athletes must realize that being a student athlete is a commitment to both things,” said Coach Jarman. “The students must realize that they are giving up their free time and that academics come first. I would suggest that these students get a calendar to schedule time for personal things and getting studies done after practices.”

Getting a calendar could prove to be beneficial for students struggling to handle their time. A few student athletes at Mt Vernon use calendars to be more organized in how they handle their time.

“I use the calendar on my phone to even out my time I have for myself, work, studying, and sports that I am in,” said Sam Mcneely, 11.

While there is no true answer to students being able to handle sports and school, getting a calendar to balance out time is a fine suggestion to helping out struggling student athletes.