Carlisle High School’s boys basketball team has stepped up its play heading into the postseason.
The Indians (11-11) have won four of their last five games and will begin Division III sectional play against National Trail (14-8) at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Vandalia Butler.
“About two-thirds of the way through the season, I talked to the kids and said, ‘Hey, let’s make the last third the best third,’ ” Carlisle coach Don Ridinger said. “And we’ve been able to do that.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Southeastern 45, Cincinnati Christian 39
“We really haven’t changed much. We’ve always been a team that’s going to play man-to-man. I think the intensity is something that’s changed. They’ve got great attitudes, they’re working really hard, and they’re kind of buying in wholeheartedly.”
It’s no surprise that 6-foot-7 senior forward Justin Flor has led the charge for the Indians. He’s already in the CHS record book, and his numbers are still growing.
Flor has earned his second straight Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division Player of the Year award this season. He’s averaging 20.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2 assists and 4.6 blocks per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the field.
The owner of 1,041 career points, Flor cracked the 1,000-point mark with a stickback against Twin Valley South on Feb. 13.
“I knew I was getting close to 1,000 points,” he said. “Everybody’s been talking about it and kind of got in my head a litlte bit, but then it just kind of came along.”
Flor is eighth on Carlisle’s all-time scoring list behind Gene Fogle (1,310), Andrew Goodpaster (1,162), Rich Chamberlain (1,149), Braxston Campbell (1,136), David Langdon (1,136), Eddie Crowe (1,109) and Kyle England (1,092).
Ridinger said Flor had that “deer in the headlights” look in the first two games of his varsity career as a sophomore, notching just one basket. He erupted for 18 points in Game 3 at Monroe.
“That was his coming-out party,” Ridinger said. “That was kind of the start of Justin Flor.”
There has never been a shot blocker like Flor in the Indians’ history. He’s swatted a school-record 302 shots during his time at Carlisle. Ridinger said his size is obviously a factor, but there’s more to it than that.
“Timing is huge. And patience,” Ridinger said. “You can’t jump at the first shot fake. You have to really time it up. You have to know when they’re going to go and then go. He gets a lot of blocks not against his guy, but against someone else’s guy, so he plays really good help defense. And with 302 blocks, I can’t imagine how many other shots he’s changed. Probably double that.”
Flor is a post player who can step out and do some damage on the perimeter. He’s made 32 treys and is shooting 35.2 percent from beyond the arc this year.
College-wise, Flor said he’s made no decisions yet. He is considering schools like Wittenberg, Capital, Wilmington and Sinclair Community College.
“It’s always been a goal since I was little just to make a big impact on Carlisle basketball,” said Flor, who plans to study criminal justice in college and become a police officer. “I’m glad I finally got here.”
The Indians are seeded 12th in the D-III sectional at Butler, and their opening opponent is the No. 10 seed. The Carlisle-National Trail winner will meet No. 8 Brookville (14-8), with No. 3 Anna (18-4) almost certainly waiting in the sectional finals.
Sophomore guard Johnathan Shepherd is the Indians’ No. 2 scorer with a 10.7 average. Senior point guard Jake Moore, who will play football for Wilmington in the fall, is averaging 7 points, 7.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
“We play around Justin. I don’t think that’s a secret,” Ridinger said. “But we’ve got some shooters now too. It’s been nice complementary-style basketball with Justin in the middle and those guys around him and then Jake creating off the dribble.”
Fourth-seeded Madison (19-3) is in the Butler 2 sectional and will put its 15-game winning streak on the line against No. 12 Stivers (9-13) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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