Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 4, 2014

Sports briefs, Feb. 4


Kokomo Tribune

---- — Aces’ Balentine wins another MVC award

Evansville guard D.J. Balentine on Monday was named the Missouri Valley Conference’s co-men’s basketball player of the week.

The former Kokomo Wildkat standout continued his outstanding season last week with a pair of big games. The 6-foot-2 sophomore had a 43-point game against Northern Iowa and a 26-point game against undefeated Wichita State. The 43-point explosion was the third-highest scoring game in Division I this season. Over the two games, Balentine was 21 of 40 from the field overall, 7 of 14 from 3-land, and 20 of 22 from the charity stripe.

Balentine is a three-time player of the week this season, the most of any player in the league. He shared this week’s award with Southern Illinois sophomore guard Anthony Beane.

Balentine is averaging 23.1 points and 4.1 assists per game for the Aces (10-13, 3-7 MVC). He is shooting 42.2 percent from 3-land and 87.3 percent from the stripe. He is No. 1 in the conference in scoring, fifth in assists, fifth in 3-point accuracy and second in FT percentage.

Cougars’ Shurn earns Crossroads award

Saint Francis guard Skylarr Shurn on Monday was named the Crossroads League’s women’s basketball player of the week.

The former Kokomo Lady Kat standout led the NAIA Division II No. 1-ranked Cougars to a pair of wins last week. The 5-foot-7 senior guard scored 26 points against Taylor and followed with 28 points against No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan.

Saint Francis (24-0, 12-0 Crossroads) has a three-game lead in the Crossroads over second-place Wesleyan with six games to play.

Shurn is scoring 20.3 points per game, which ranks No. 1 in the conference and No. 10 in NAIA D-II. She also averages 3.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game. She is shooting 53.8 percent from the field (fourth best in the conference) and 81.5 percent from the free throw line.

She is a two-time player of the week this season and a three-time honoree in her Saint Francis career. She is just four points away from the 1,000-point mark in less than two full seasons at the school.

TC’s Gilbert is finalist for national award

Tri-Central football coach George Gilbert recently finished as a finalist for the 2013 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award. With this award, Tri-Central receives a $5,000 grant.

Gilbert led the Trojans to a 14-1 record and Hoosier Heartland Conference and Class A state championships last fall, capping a stunning turnaround for the program. The Trojans had won just 20 games in the previous 14 years when Gilbert took the reins in 2009. The Trojans went winless in his first season, but followed with a 3-7 record in 2010 and a 6-4 record in 2011. The Trojans had a breakthrough in 2012, winning a pair of sectional games for their first taste of postseason success since 1994. They closed with a 10-2 record, laying the foundation for their unforgettable 2013 campaign that was capped by their first state title.

Gilbert owns a 194-160 record in his 33-year coaching career.

• The Tri-Central football awards program is set for 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the high school gymnasium. There will be a presentation of championship trophies and rings and a highlight video. The celebration is open to fans and community members.