The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


January 9, 2013

Guard play boosts Hilltoppers

DANVILLE —  The original game plan of the Schlarman Academy Hilltoppers entering Tuesday’s Vermilion Valley Conference contest against the Chrisman Cardinals was to exploit the significant size advantage the Hilltoppers held.

It rarely happened. In reality, they didn’t have to, and at times, the guard play of senior Austin Calhoun and freshman Michael Simmons made the Schlarman Academy big men a second option.

Hilltoppers post players Maher Samawi and Chris Kuchefski each scored six points in their 51-28 win over the Cardinals, and Kuchefski pulled down five rebounds and had three blocks. Forward Andrew Kelley also finished with six rebounds.

But it was the duo of Simmons and Calhoun that ultimately gave the Cardinals fits and left their effort seeming lackluster and poignant in the eyes of Chrisman coach Greg Gisinger.

“I thought we came out with no heart,” Gisinger said. “I thought we played soft, and messed around. They wanted to play more than we did. I think we wanted to stay at home tonight.”

Any lack of effort on the part of the Cardinals was magnified as the defense of the Hilltoppers produced a 21-4 first-quarter lead behind the nearly perfect shooting of Calhoun who scored 11 of his game-high 22 points in the frame. Schlarman Academy (13-6 overall, 4-1 in the VVC) had six steals in the first quarter, and limited Chrisman’s offensive opportunities.

“I told those guys in the locker room that they had an outstanding performance tonight, both of them,” Schlarman Academy coach Gary Tidwell said of Calhoun and Simmons. “Austin was tough to stop around the bucket and did a great job defensively as well. He just used his athleticism around the rim.

“Michael made some outstanding decisions in the open court, took it coast-to-coast a couple times. He’s just really been improving leaps and bounds throughout the course of the season. The thing that makes him even more of a challenge to guard is he’s able to knock down the three-point shot. He’s been doing a good job of that, and he did that at the beginning of the game, which stretched their defense. Those two, it was definitely a one-two punch tonight out of those guards.”

Simmons scored 15, grabbed seven rebounds, and accounted for five of Schlarman Academy’s 10 steals. The freshman point guard scored the Hilltoppers’ first eight points of the third quarter on perfect accuracy beginning with a three-pointer that gave his team a 34-14 lead.

“Michael is a very fast, good point guard,” Calhoun said. “He’s got really good handles. We work really well together. Being a freshman, he’s got a really good career ahead of him.

“If he needs to drive, he’s good at kicking it out. If I’m driving, he knows where to be. He’s always my opposite. He just knows the court really well.”

Simmons not only saw the court well Tuesday, but saw the rim well, too. He scored his first points of the game roughly one minute into the contest. Just after Kuchefski scored the game’s opening points on a rebound basket, Simmons gave Schlarman Academy a 5-0 lead on a three, which was followed shortly after by a three by Calhoun. Calhoun went on to score the Hilltoppers’ final eight points of the period, including a layup as the buzzer sounded when he stole the Cardinals’ inbounds pass under the basket.

“It was good getting a conference win,” Calhoun said. “Every conference game is a big game for us. We’re just really looking forward to being at the top of our conference. Coming off a loss was pretty devastating, but we bounced back really well tonight.”

The win was much-needed coming off a 16-point loss to Cissna Park, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier as the Hilltoppers travel to Bloomington on Saturday for the Central Catholic Shootout where they face Decatur St. Teresa (11-1).

Text Only
  • SPT- Cn0418 - Covington softball photo 2 Trojans cruise to victory COVINGTON, Ind. - The Covington softball team had a big first inning as they scored five runs on their way to defeating Attica 11-1. Attica threatened to score in the first, getting Karrah Pattengale to second, but they were unable to drive her home.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lunger steps up for Buffaloes GEORGETOWN -- In only the second start of his career, Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman pitcher Tyler Lunger pitched a five-hit complete game as the Buffaloes defeated Milford 8-2 on Thursday in Vermilion Valley Conference action. "I feel I threw well

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - CN0418 - Danville boys tennis photo Maroons blitz young Vikings DANVILLE -- In the process of gaining experience, the Danville boys tennis team has taken a few lumps in the first few weeks of season. On Thursday afternoon, the Champaign Central Maroons delivered a few lessons to the younger Vikings with a 9-0 vic

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peelman pitches no-hitter as Vikings beat Maroons CHAMPAIGN -- Alissa Peelman pitched a no-hitter as the Danville High School softball team beat Champaign Central 11-0 in five innings on Thursday in Big 12 Conference action. Peelman was also 3-of-4 with three RBIs for the Vikings while Mackenzie Kin

    April 18, 2014

  • Thursday's Local Scores PREP BASEBALL At Georgetown Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman 8, Milford 2 Milford 101 000 0 -- 2 5 10 GRFC 200 141 x -- 8 8 3 WP -- Tyler Lunger. LP -- Clayton Rieches. Two or more hits -- GRFC: Dylan Bina, Ethan Silva. 2B

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - CN0417 - Andy Bott photo Better late than never for Bott BISMARCK -- Marshall golf coach Matt Grobe completely surprised Bismarck-Henning standout Andy Bott with an e-mail earlier this year. Bott, who is a three-time all-stater for the Blue Devils, was preparing to attend Illinois Wesleyan in the fall. "Ou

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- CN0417- Westville softball photo Nourie, Tigers beat Comets 20-4 in five inning game MUNCIE -- On a very windy day which made playing softball tough for both teams, Westville defeated Oakwood in five innings 20-4 with some good offensive production and a solid pitching performance from Stefanie Nourie. Nourie got her first win of the

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- Cn0417 - Seeger baseball photo 2 Falcons make quick work of Pats WEST LEBANON, Ind. - North Vermillion sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and scored seven runs en route to a 13-1 win over the homestanding Seeger Patriots. The visiting Falcons got five hits including doubles by Jordan West

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0417 - Local Roundup photo Salt Fork's Learnard pitches perfect game JAMAICA -- Salt Fork's Ross Learnard finally got back on the mound on Wednesday for the first time in a week and he did not disappoint, pitching a perfect game as the Salt Fork baseball team beat Schlarman Academy in five innings. "He had his breakin

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- CN0416 - NV softball photo 2 Patriots smash Falcons CAYUGA, Ind. - Seeger took an early lead, extended it and then kept North Vermillion at bay as the Patriots defeated the host Falcons 14-3 in five innings. The visitors scored one run in the top of the first inning and, after North Vermillion went do

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

NCAA basketball
NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014

Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here:

Must Read
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
NDN Video
The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1