The tone for Mt. Vernon High School's boys basketball season was set in its second game. The Marauders shut down then-Class 4A No. 6 Hamilton Southeastern 52-49 on Nov. 30, the Royals' only loss this season.
Mt. Vernon followed it up with victories over traditionally strong programs in Pendleton Heights and New Castle.
"Those teams are always going to be hard to guard and they're going to guard you hard," Mt. Vernon coach Steve Lynch said. "For us to beat all three during that stretch gave us the confidence that we could play with anyone and battle through tough opponents."
So far, no one has gotten the better of the 3A No. 1 Marauders, who are 12-0 entering tonight's game with Connersville (6-9).
"We've defended very well and make it hard for teams to score," Lynch said.
Junior C.J. Coleman leads the Marauders' scoring with an 18.7-point average. Stephen Turner, a 6-6 senior, averages 14.9 points.
Senior guard Anthony Burnett, a top running back on Mt. Vernon's football team, averages 6.5 assists per game.
Lynch said there are some similarities between this season's team and the one in 2009-10, which finished 22-3 and reached the regional final.
"This group isn't as athletic or long, but they compete really hard," Lynch said.
Mohawks turn corner
Defensive improvement and team quickness have helped Waldron turn an 11-11 squad in 2011-12 into a 13-0 one this season.
"The guards do a good job with their quickness and they anticipate really well. That's the biggest difference," said Waldron coach Jeff Gorrell, whose Class A No. 2 Mohawks play at Southwestern (5-9) tonight.
Senior point guard Cody Sullivan is the high scorer for Waldron with a 17.2 average on 51 percent shooting.
"He's a leader on the offensive and defensive end," Gorrell said. "He does a good job running the team.
Fellow senior guard Presley Huffman is the No. 2 scorer with a 10.3 mark. The team has benefited from the improvement of its post players: senior Garrett Rosenfeld (8.2 ppg) and junior Kyle Garner (6.7 ppg).
"It's making it harder for teams to focus on our perimeter play and allowing us to grow as a team," Gorrell said.
Terre Haute schools move
Terre Haute North and South high schools will compete in Conference Indiana for football starting this fall for two seasons.
The Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference voted last fall to drop the Terre Haute schools and add Conference Indiana members Lawrence Central and Pike in 2014-15. However, Conference Indiana has decided to drop Pike and Lawrence Central after this season.
Pike athletic director Jesse Reyes said he expects his school and Lawrence Central will now be competing in the MIC next fall.
Lawrence North junior G Ana Owens has verbally committed to play at Cincinnati. Owens is averaging eight points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals per game for the Wildcats. Owens also had offers from Purdue, Butler, IUPUI, Ball State and Duquesne. . . . Three Fishers senior defensive players -- DT Cody Moore, LB Rob Peck and SS Seth Riley -- have committed to NCAA Division II Grand Valley State in Allendale Mich. All three were three-year starters. . . . The Indiana High School Baseball Coaches will induct its 2013 Hall of Fame class tonight at the Sheraton at Keystone at the Crossing. The inductees include former major league players Kenny Lofton (East Chicago Washington) and Billy McCool (Batesville) and former Seattle Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus (Princeton). Also to be inducted are high school and college umpire Gene Butts, a 1948 Beaver Dam graduate, and longtime Chesterton coach Jack Campbell, who played baseball at East Gary Edison and Indiana University.