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McClelland, Yellow Jackets continue winning ways

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Morristown head coach Scott McClelland recently earned career win No. 200.
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Morristown senior guard Logan Laster rises for a jump shot in a game earlier this season.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

MORRISTOWN — With a win over Edinburgh on Jan. 25, Morristown boys’ basketball coach Scott McClelland hit a career milestone — 200 wins. But that is not what the longtime head coach wanted to discuss after the game.

McClelland, in his 11th season with the program, was more concerned with Morristown winning its first Mid-Hoosier Conference title in 21 years.

Now the all-time wins leader (146-104) at the school, McClelland is a selfless leader. Rather than make the night about himself, he wanted it to be about the kids. He knows he hasn’t made a jump shot in a varsity game in years. The kids, he said, deserve the credit.

McClelland, in 16 years overall, is 202-155 as a head coach. But the MHC title was his first as the Yellow Jackets finished 6-0 in conference play.

“I have so much respect for our conference, it is so hard to win that,” McClelland said. “I appreciate the 200 wins, but the conference title was really nice. It was really important. Sometimes the conference gets lost in the shuffle, so to speak, with the hype around the county tournament and the sectional. It had been so long since we have won that, I am so excited for our guys and our program."

McClelland, who made stops at Brebeuf Jesuit and Western Boone in between stints with the Yellow Jackets, said he needed to get away and learn. The experiences made him a better coach. McClelland proved it by winning the 2018 IHSAA Class A State Championship.

McClelland coached at Brebeuf for two seasons starting in 2011. He then accepted the Western Boone job and coached in the Sagamore Conference for three seasons before returning to Morristown in 2016.

“I needed to get away and learn,” McClelland said. “You try and grow and improve each year as a coach. Leaving was good for me, because I needed to change as a coach. But basketball in Shelby County is different. It is special here.”

This season’s Morristown team, ranked No. 8 in Class A, might be slightly overshadowed. The team is 16-3 overall and has won eight straight games since dropping two contests in the Forest Park Tournament at the end of the December.

Due to the success of last season’s team, though, the noise around the new squad has been minimal. But the talent is still there.

Senior point guard Logan Laster has taken his game to another level and is scoring 21 points per game. Junior forward Trevon Carlton, who is shooting 69 percent from the field, is averaging 11 ppg, while sophomore guard Kyle Crim, after coming off the bench last season, is scoring 15 ppg. Senior Logan Theobald, who also started last season with Laster and Carlton, is doing a little bit over everything for the team and is averaging 8 ppg.

Players like junior Matty Livezey, senior Kameron Crim and sophomores Sawyer Jones and Drake Moore have also stepped into larger roles in a new campaign and have performed when needed.

“Those guys are coming up big in that fifth starting role,” McClelland said. “We are getting as much as we can out of that fifth spot.”

And although the Yellow Jackets aren’t scoring as many points as the state team, they are holding opposing teams to 49 ppg — three points below last season’s average.

“We just have some younger kids this season,” McClelland said. “Some new guys are having to contribute at the varsity level. This group wants its own identity and it deserves to have that right.

“One thing that is similar to last year’s team is this group is really about one another. They are about the success of the team.”

McClelland’s current players, and the ones before, are what makes his job so enjoyable, he said. Without them and the dedicated coaching staff at the school, especially his varsity assistant Kevin Crim, a longtime youth coach at Morristown, winning over 140 games with the program would not have been possible.

“We have had some great kids and coaches at Morristown,” McClelland said. “Some of us spent so much time together. You want to hire people who make you better. The foundation of your program and your team is your assistant coaches.

“Kevin, specifically, has been through every big game and championship at Morristown with me. Even the guys before him and now, all those guys made me better. They challenged me.”

The Yellow Jackets play again Friday at Eastern Hancock before a Jan. 16 trip to Shelbyville.

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.