story by Tristan Jackson
Kenneth Groth, Brent Falkenstein, P.K. Falkenstein, Kasey Falkenstein and Kooper Falkenstein — the Falkenstein family has been churning out Jeff High basketball greats since the 1930’s.
Brent’s son, Bailey, is next in line.
Bailey has been playing on the Varsity team since his freshman year. Now a junior, he is the team’s top scorer (18.9 points per game) and has solidified himself as a leader.
“There’s definitely some pressure there,” Falkenstein said about being a top scoring option for Jeff. “But I have to do it for my team.”
With guard/forward Michael Minton being Jeff’s lone starting senior this season, Falkenstein has stepped up and made strides in his own game. He has become a role model for underclassmen, who have also played a large role in the team’s success this year.
“It motivates you to want to elevate your game and get to the level he is at,” said sophomore Drew Taylor on playing with Falkenstein.
Since Falkenstein’s freshman year, the team has seen constant improvement. After a 2014-15 season that saw Jeff only managed an 8-14 record, new head coach Joe Luce was brought in to return JHS to its winning ways. Last season, the team posted a 19-13 record in Luce’s debut.
“Bailey has gotten to the point where not only is he a fantastic scorer and a go to guy for us,” Luce said. “He has learned to make others better around him, and I think that’s why we’ve been able to play better basketball.”
Along with the excellent skillset Falkenstein brings to the floor on a nightly basis, a winning mentality is something he prides himself on.
“I just want to be remembered as a great player who won. That’s really what I want to bring to Jeff — winning,” Falkenstein said.
In the hotbed of basketball talent in southern Indiana, Falkenstein says he is motivated by hearing what other players are doing on the court, and believing that he is just as good, if not better, than every opponent he faces.
A lack of confidence has never been an issue for Falkenstein, as he feels his work ethic has put him in position to not only be a leader on the basketball team, but to also headline a star-studded baseball team at Jeff.
“Bailey is always showing leadership by getting people focused, giving constructive criticism, and letting others know when he made a mistake,” said pitcher, and teammate, Gabe Bierman.
Falkenstein looks for both teams to have great seasons this year and next, and said his goal for the upcoming baseball season is to win a state championship.
Additionally, Falkenstein credits all athletes for finding the time to balance school and a sport. Although it’s difficult to put the work into two different sports, he says sports helped make him a better person and “the man (he is) today”.
As talented as he is on the court, it’s hard to imagine Falkenstein choosing another sport over basketball in the future, but it’s very possible.
Falkenstein is one of the team’s top baseball players, and he believes that he is talented enough to wind up playing professionally at some level.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
In a day full of upsets, the Kentucky Wildcats managed to escape the Wichita State Shockers, 65-62, thanks to stifling defense at the buzzer.
The win advances Kentucky to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in John Calipari’s eight-year tenure as head coach. But, the road to Phoenix gets bumpy when the Wildcats hit Memphis.
The second-seeded Wildcats have a re-match with another blue blood program, the UCLA Bruins.
UCLA and Kentucky met in a high-scoring affair back in December, but the Bruins managed to knock off the Wildcats in Lexington, 97-92.
In December, these two were nearly identical teams. They scored almost 100 every game and didn’t worry too much about the other side of the ball. Now, Kentucky’s offensive has taken a dive shooting-wise, so they made changes on defense.
These two teams have gone in different directions since their last meeting, Kentucky focuses on defense while UCLA outruns their opponents. They have bought into their systems and have taken completely different paths to the Sweet Sixteen.
A highlighted match-up will be UCLA’s Lonzo Ball against Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox in a battle of elite freshman point guards.
Fox has taken control of the team from the moment the SEC Tournament started, driving to the rim strong without turning the ball over. With Malik Monk still coming out of his slump, Fox will need to continue to lead his team if they want to get past UCLA.
Ball is another type of monster when it comes to point guards. Coming off a near triple-double against Cincinnati, Ball proved just how explosive he can be when his team needs him to take over.
Kentucky’s got a player that can take over a game, but he hasn’t been much of a factor since March began.
Monk has been slumping since Kentucky’s final regular season game against Texas A&M in which he only scored six points. The freshman shooting guard changes his team when he’s knocking down his shots.
Granted, Kentucky hasn’t lost despite the shooting woes for Monk, but that won’t cut it against UCLA. To beat a high offensive team such as the Bruins, they will need a big game from their star.
Kentucky and Monk have had their backs against the wall on many occasions this season, managing to take charge during these high pressure situations.
Chalk this meeting in Memphis up as just one more obstacle Kentucky will have to overcome on the road to Phoenix.
Photos by Phillip Steinmetz
Photos by Phillip Steinmetz
Jeffersonville and New Albany play each other in basketball at Johnson Arena on Friday night. Is that a big enough statement for you to read further? It should be.
The two prominent programs meet for what looks to be another heated battle. New Albany “supposedly” leads the all-time series 81-76 after winning the last four matchups with some pretty lopsided victories (aka the Romeo Langford effect) but we’ll talk about that later.
The Red Devils sit currently at 7-3, coming off a third place finish in the Teddy Throckmorton Tournament, while New Albany is 8-2 after playing an excruciating schedule to begin with. Last time the Bulldogs played at JHS they won by 42 points (wow the Red Devils were bad then.) Don’t expect that type of outcome to play out this year.
Okay, I said I’d talk about “him” later and later is now (what a wait you had to experience).
This is the fourth time Langford will be facing the Red Devils — in the last matchup he had 24 points to go with 13 rebounds in the sectional championship. Oh yeah, he’s only a junior now and shot up all the way to second in ESPN’s Top 60 recruiting rankings.
How do you stop a player of his caliber from tearing your team to shreds? It’s simple, you don’t. There’s no way to hold him from scoring 25 or more points against a defense of Jeffersonville’s caliber. That means there are only a few ways the Red Devils can make this a respectable game throughout.
That’s easier said than done considering the Bulldogs have two other outstanding scorers in Isaac Hibbard and Sean East who each provide matchup problems. Hibbard is the senior guard that can shoot lights out but can be a liability on defense at times but seems to never be rattled by the big moment. East is the starting point guard who can hit open three’s and might be the fastest player on the court. Jeffersonville will have their hands full with Langford but can’t forget to get a hand in the face of both of these players if they want success.
The junior guard leads the Red Devils in scoring and is a prime candidate to score 20 or more points against the rival Bulldogs. Last season, in their regular season matchup he did score 25 points as a sophomore despite the ugly loss. Falkenstein is one of the strongest guards you’ll see step on the court and his play shows it. He’s at his best driving to the basket absorbing contact as he finishes the double clutch layup. Falkenstein is also known to drain a couple three’s a game to compliment. He will be leaned on even more Friday night to try to make Langford’s scoring total not look completely insane by scoring a ton himself.
This could be said for every team but the Red Devils truly live and die by the three. In their win against CAI they went 9 for 13 from behind the arc and in their loss to Cathedral the same day, they only scored three points in the second quarter. Gerrin Moore, Joe LaGrange and Michael Minton will be looked on heavily to drain their open shots as the Bulldogs will dare Jeff to beat them from the outside. If a few shots fall early, we could have ourselves a shootout but if NA extends their defense and makes the Red Devils uncomfortable at the very beginning, the game could be over by halftime.
Two freshman play big minutes for JHS as 5’8 Jacob Jones is the pestering point guard and 6’6 Tre’ Coleman comes off the bench as the defensive specialist. Jones will be tasked of keeping up with East but he’s frustrated guards all season and will need to carry more of a load offensively. Coleman might earn his first career start against NA because of how great a defender he really is. It’s almost impossible to get a shot off against him which he proved in the last couple of games blocking shots left and right. He’ll also be used to pound the glass which is a weakness for the Bulldogs. Both of these players will be looked upon to play well above their years for Jeff to have a chance Friday.
It’s a rivalry game, anything can happen. The Red Devils need to be hitting their shots early and often while forcing New Albany to shoot extremely deep shots for most of the game. Last game, NA went 1-22 from three against the 3rd ranked Logansport (Loganberries really?) and still dominated the game. Obviously they can beat you in other ways including their defense but I believe Jeff is one of the better offensive teams in the state.
Second year head coach Joe Luce will have his young Devils ready to play against the reigning state champions. This could become a game just like last year if Langford gets in foul trouble but I don’t think it’ll be much of one come the fourth quarter. I’m a Red Devil for life but I think the scoring and pure intimidation of this team will be the downfall for Jeff. Can they make this a close game? Of course they can with their scoring ability but Romeo Langford is still one of the best players in the COUNTRY and is almost impossible to beat without someone of his caliber playing for you.
Photos by Phillip Steinmetz
Photos by Phillip Steinmetz