Wildcats smash Spartans by 21

March 1, 2024 at 9:58 a.m.
Quinn Gillman
Quinn Gillman (photo Will Fehlinger)


CONNERSVILLE - Behind a game-high 23 points by Isaiah Kemp and 15 more for senior Eli Butt - before a slight injury ended his night prematurely - the Franklin County Wildcats secured a 57-36 victory over Connersville at the Spartan Bowl Thursday in a Beat Cancer in 4 Quarters rescheduled matchup. This was FC's largest margin of victory in the annual series in 23 seasons and first win over CHS in four years.

The last single-digit deficit for the Spartans came with 2:09 left in the opening half. The visitors answered with an eight-point run, shortly after compiling a 7-0 spurt to begin the second quarter that had CHS coach Dave McCollough calling timeout. Butt's three from the top of the key to open the second half capped an 18-4 span from which Connersville never fully recovered.

Butt was the early catalyst for the guests, putting in 13 of FC's first 28, with five others gracing the scoring column to send the Cats up by 17. The upperclassman erased CHS' only lead of the game by hitting a triple off Nick Vanoven's delivery with 6:52 left in the first period. Kemp later got the first of his four 3-pointers (Quinn Gillman assist) to make it 6-2.

A mid-range jumper by Butt from a Gillman pass led to a full Spartan timeout at 3:01 of the first. CHS then outscored FC 4-2 to bring the first-break score to 10-7.

Carson Allen, Vanoven, Carter Dozier and Gillman all contributed in pushing the Wildcat lead to double digits at 17-7. The Spartans scored out of a timeout respite, but Gillman found Kemp in the corner for three more and a 20-9 lead. After a Connersville bucket - the second of just two in the frame - Butt connected on a long one and Allen completed a drive to put FC up 25-11 at intermission. Butt's heater continued with the 3 when play resumed.

A 3-point play the traditional way by Kemp made it a 31-15 game. FC padded its lead from the charity stripe throughout the third, sinking 7 of 8 attempts by four separate shooters. After Butt limped off with 3:12 on the clock, CHS had a brief run of success to get back within 37-27. But Brady Foster responded with four straight points, including a three off a skip pass.

Kemp more than picked up the slack in Butt's absence, scoring 14 of FC's final 16.

Vanoven, Dozier and Foster had 4 points each, with Allen netting 3 and Gillman and Blake Stephenson 2 apiece. Blaine Hornsby led his team on senior night with 13 with classmate Trot Davidson scoring 7. Senior Kevin Seeley had 5.

Can the Wildcats (8-14) hold off Connersville's revenge spirit at the sectional? Fans don't have long to find out, as the two hook up in Greensburg tonight with a tip of 6 p.m. The winner gets either South Dearborn or Batesville Friday, tip approximately 7:30 p.m. Greensburg, which won the conference outright in exciting fashion over the weekend, sits on the opposite side of the bracket.

CONNERSVILLE - Behind a game-high 23 points by Isaiah Kemp and 15 more for senior Eli Butt - before a slight injury ended his night prematurely - the Franklin County Wildcats secured a 57-36 victory over Connersville at the Spartan Bowl Thursday in a Beat Cancer in 4 Quarters rescheduled matchup. This was FC's largest margin of victory in the annual series in 23 seasons and first win over CHS in four years.

The last single-digit deficit for the Spartans came with 2:09 left in the opening half. The visitors answered with an eight-point run, shortly after compiling a 7-0 spurt to begin the second quarter that had CHS coach Dave McCollough calling timeout. Butt's three from the top of the key to open the second half capped an 18-4 span from which Connersville never fully recovered.

Butt was the early catalyst for the guests, putting in 13 of FC's first 28, with five others gracing the scoring column to send the Cats up by 17. The upperclassman erased CHS' only lead of the game by hitting a triple off Nick Vanoven's delivery with 6:52 left in the first period. Kemp later got the first of his four 3-pointers (Quinn Gillman assist) to make it 6-2.

A mid-range jumper by Butt from a Gillman pass led to a full Spartan timeout at 3:01 of the first. CHS then outscored FC 4-2 to bring the first-break score to 10-7.

Carson Allen, Vanoven, Carter Dozier and Gillman all contributed in pushing the Wildcat lead to double digits at 17-7. The Spartans scored out of a timeout respite, but Gillman found Kemp in the corner for three more and a 20-9 lead. After a Connersville bucket - the second of just two in the frame - Butt connected on a long one and Allen completed a drive to put FC up 25-11 at intermission. Butt's heater continued with the 3 when play resumed.

A 3-point play the traditional way by Kemp made it a 31-15 game. FC padded its lead from the charity stripe throughout the third, sinking 7 of 8 attempts by four separate shooters. After Butt limped off with 3:12 on the clock, CHS had a brief run of success to get back within 37-27. But Brady Foster responded with four straight points, including a three off a skip pass.

Kemp more than picked up the slack in Butt's absence, scoring 14 of FC's final 16.

Vanoven, Dozier and Foster had 4 points each, with Allen netting 3 and Gillman and Blake Stephenson 2 apiece. Blaine Hornsby led his team on senior night with 13 with classmate Trot Davidson scoring 7. Senior Kevin Seeley had 5.

Can the Wildcats (8-14) hold off Connersville's revenge spirit at the sectional? Fans don't have long to find out, as the two hook up in Greensburg tonight with a tip of 6 p.m. The winner gets either South Dearborn or Batesville Friday, tip approximately 7:30 p.m. Greensburg, which won the conference outright in exciting fashion over the weekend, sits on the opposite side of the bracket.

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