A few thoughts from Tuesday’s boys basketball season opener between Henderson County and Evansville Memorial:
Memorial is the traditional season-opener for the Colonels and has been a tough place for Henderson County coaches to make their debuts. Mark Starns made his Henderson County debut at Memorial on Nov. 27, 2007 and lost 91-58. Phil Gibson coached his first game with Henderson County at Memorial on Nov. 29, 1995 and lost 76-73. Curtis Turley didn’t make his debut with Henderson County against Memorial but lost in his second game with the Colonels 72-68 at Memorial on Dec. 4, 1987.
All 14 varsity players saw playing time and 10 of them played in the first half when the game was still close. Depth will be a key for this Henderson County team. Not only will the Colonels hope to wear down opponents, that depth should build competition in practice. With the depth comes less playing time for some players. “There’s going to some guys who won’t get as much playing time as they got last year and some who will get more. But nobody is complaining about minutes. They’re cheering for each other and picking each other up. That shows me they’re starting to buy into the family concept that we are trying to create,” Henderson County coach Tyler Smithhart said.
Henderson County hit six 3-pointers in the 64-45 win, including three off the bench by sophomore D.J. Smith. Senior Rick Armstead hit two in the first half including one to start the game. Smith, who scored a team-high 13 points, will be hard to keep out of the starting lineup. Smithhart said a couple of weeks ago that Smith was “very close” to breaking into the starting five.
Memorial’s roster includes two Henderson residents. Junior Mitchell Long started at guard for the Tigers, while senior guard Alex Partenheimer played some off the bench.