Bassett's Star Shining Bright

Terre Haute South point guard Armon Bassett nabs Regional MVP honors by pouring in 17 of his 34 points and dishing out 7 assists in a 66-63 win over Bloomington South on Saturday night.<br><br> The win moves the Braves (22-5) into a semi-state matchup this Saturday with Indianapolis North, which features junior stars Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr.<br><br>

The stars shine bright when the most is on the line - and in this case in front of University of Arkansas head coach Stan Heath.

That was the case Saturday night when Terre Haute South standout senior point guard Armon Bassett poured in 17 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter and also chipped in 7 assists to lead the Braves over Bloomington South 66-63 to win its regional tournament.

That win pushed his team into a semi-state matchup Saturday at 1 p.m. with Indianapolis North and its heralded juniors Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr.

Bassett, who had 25 points and 6 assists in a Saturday afternoon in a 75-65 win over Evansville Harrison, was named the Regional MVP with Heath looking on for both games.

"He couldn't talk with me, but we made that eye contact and I knew he was there," Bassett said. "I didn't try to put on a show, it just turned out I needed to put the game on my shoulders at the end and that's what I did. We played great as a team."

Terre Haute South head coach Mike Saylor said that was just what happen with Bassett's 17-point fourth-quarter outburst just the capper on a day when the Braves (22-5) shot 63 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range and 88.4 percent from the line.

"Armon just took the game over like he is very capable of doing night in and night out," Saylor said. "It was a joy to watch. Armon is big time."

Bloomington South head coach J.R. Holmes agreed after watching Bassett, who had 11 3-pointers and hit 14 free throws in the two games combined, control the game.

"We ran out of timeouts, ran out of time," Holmes told the Bloomington Herald Times. "We couldn't keep the ball out of his (Bassett) hands...He has a lot of heart. You can't stop him."

Bassett, averaging 24 points and 7 assists this season and the MVP of the sectionals as well, has plans to visit Arkansas, Xavier (who had an assistant at the games) and Nebraska at season's end.

"That's still the main three I am looking at right now," Bassett said.

He hopes that will be another week because the winner of the Terre Haute South-Indianapolis North game advances on to the Class 4A state final at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The two met early in the season with North breaking away from a 28-28 tie entering the fourth quarter to win 52-40.

"They have a great team, but I feel like we are playing much better than we were then," Bassett said. "I respect them, but don't fear them at all. The game was closer than the score looks like. They hit some free throws at the end to stretch it out."

Saylor, who double-teamed the 7-1 Oden, is anxious for another shot. Oden had 13 points, Conley 11 and Bassett 10 in the first game.

"We had some turnovers late - by other kids than Armon - that let the score get out of hand," Saylor said. "With the way Armon and our team is playing right now, we're going to take our shot. It's like David and Goliath and maybe we'll get him."

Saylor has been impressed with Heath and Arkansas' recruitment of Bassett.

"As we talked about before, this is a kid who is going to go down to the end of the school year as far as eligibility and so," Saylor said. "But I have been very impressed with the way Coach Heath, who is very smart and such a hard worker, has put forth the effort. I hope it works out for everyone."

Obviously Bassett does as well, although he knows he will land at Hargrave Military Academy if he doesn't secure that eligibility.

"That's something that I don't think would hurt me, to get better, get stronger and become a better basketball player," Bassett said. "But that's not my first option. I want to be playing college basketball next season and I am working hard to do that."

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