By Will Willems/Times Sentinel sports editor
It isn’t every day that there is loud cheers when a visiting player is introduced.
That was the case Saturday, Nov. 10, when Butler took on Elon. The cheer was from a large Zionsville contingent in the stands for former ZCHS standout Jack Isenbarger, a starting guard for the Phoenix.
“It is a great atmosphere here at Hinkle (Fieldhouse),” Isenbarger said. “I was glad my family could make it to the game and see us play, seeing as most of our games are in North Carolina. I just wish it would have been a different turnout.”
The Phoenix ended up losing the game 74-59.
Isenbarger finished with four points on 2-of-9 shooting and had a team-best two assists.
“I thought there was a lot of things that I could work on personally and that we could work on as a team,” Isenbarger said. “We have to be tougher; we didn’t match their toughness. We were inconsistent at times. We have to improve in that way.”
Isenbarger was a four-year starter at ZCHS who was a three-time all-HCC selection.
Phoenix head coach Matt Matheny had high praise for the state of Indiana and Isenbarger.
“I have been coaching for 20 years and have only been a part of successfully recruiting one or two kids from Indiana,” Elon head coach Matt Matheny said. “It is hard to get really good kids out of Indiana because of the tremendous schools that are in the area. Jack Isenbarger is a wonderful kid. To recruit him at Zionsville, to be able to watch him in this environment was fun. To watch high school in Indiana is a joy as a coach to watch, not just because of the quality of play, but because of the way the fans enjoy the game. Zionsville has produced a great one. Not just as a player, but as a kid.”
Isenbarger has made his mark in just two years at Elon.
As a freshman, he averaged 10.4 points a game a was named to the all-freshmen squad in the Southern Conference. Last year, he averaged a team best 14.5 points and was named first-team all-SoCon.
He was second-team all-district and was fourth in the SoCon with 73 3-pointers and third in the league with a 87.1 free-throw percentage.
Isenbarger wants to continue to grow as a player this season.
“I think continuing to improve as a leader,” Isenbarger said when asked what he wants to improve this season. “I want to be more consistent defensively and be tougher on both ends of the court. If we improve our team play, we will be a lot better.”
Elon finished 15-16 last season, its best record since the 2005-06 season.
For more of this story, read Nov. 14's Times Sentinel