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Ohio County replaces Paoli on TC schedule

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By Larry Goffinet

Football schedules haven’t been printed in the News yet but some fans are already thinking about basketball.

One who has apparently looked at the upcoming school year’s basketball schedules on the IHSAA’s or John Harrell’s Web site e-mailed me recently to ask why Tell City is playing Ohio County, Ky., instead of Paoli this year.

The Eagles are replacing Paoli on Tell City’s schedule because Paoli called Tell City Athletics Director Maurice Harpenau and said the Rams no longer wanted to play the Marksmen, Tell City Coach John Hayes said Tuesday.

Harpenau and Hayes contacted several Indiana schools of similar or smaller enrollments within an hour’s drive of Tell City. They included Springs Valley and Corydon.

But none of them had an opening. So Hayes then suggested calling Ohio County, which is coached by Jeff Decker, a former player for Hayes at Oakland City University. Hayes coached Decker in basketball and also was an assistant coach of the Oaks’ baseball team, on which Decker also played.

Decker agreed to play the Marksmen, and the game will take place Jan. 29 at Tell City.

The teams agreed to a two-year contract, so Tell City will make a trip to Ohio County in the 2010-11 season.

According to MapQuest, it is 56.5 miles from Tell City to Ohio County’s school and takes an hour and five minutes to get there. Those figures are very comparable to what the Tell City to Paoli trip was.

So Tell City fans shouldn’t have to spend any more time or gasoline to make the trip next year.

Hayes said Tell City has played Ohio County in some summer games and “they usually have a 6-9 or 6-8 kid and a couple of quick guards in their lineup.”

So the Hartford, Ky.,  school should provide good competition for the Marksmen.

As for why Paoli dropped the Marksmen, who knows. Teams don’t usually drop an opponent after winning by 24 points, as Paoli did last season (76-52).

It was Paoli’s turn to come to Tell City this year, though, and as Hayes noted, this was a series in which “we usually won at our place and they usually won at their place.”

Tell City might be better off in the long run, as Paoli could be a tough place to play.

Tell City’s junior varsity team had a double-figure lead midway through the fourth quarter at Paoli last year. But one official refused to call any fouls against Paoli’s aggressively pressing team down the stretch and the Rams came from behind to win.

That same official was Paoli’s public-address announcer for the varsity game.

Tell City also could face some new teams in the PSC Holiday Classic this year.

Owensboro Catholic and Northeast Dubois are joining the eight-team tourney because Tecumseh and North Harrison have decided to withdraw from it.

North Harrison had enjoyed little success in the tourney.

Tecumseh usually played well in the tourney, though, and Coach Kevin Oxley said he thought it was “a great tourney, well hosted and well ran.” But “we usually just turn around and play the same people over, a week after playing Tell City and Boonville in the regular season.”

He also said that “three days is a lot” to play during Christmas vacation. Instead Tecumseh will host a four-team, one-day classic over the holidays this year.

PSC Classic first-round pairings this year will have Tell City playing Corydon and Perry Central facing Boonville at Tell City.

South Spencer, Heritage Hills, Northeast Dubois and Owensboro Catholic will be the teams in the other bracket.