What’s left is right

Bruce Hensley has been coaching boys basketball in Johnson County long enough to notice when some of the best players are left-handers.

A southpaw himself, Hensley says this is one of those seasons.

“It is interesting how many left-handers there are in the county right now,” said Hensley, the 27th-year Greenwood coach who was a two-year starter for the Woodmen during the early 1970s.

“I always thought there was a big advantage to being left-handed,” he said. “It was very helpful around the rim and when it came to getting fouled a little bit more inside.”

It would be hard to come up with a better All-Lefty Team in Johnson County than the one (for column-sake) assembled for the 2015-16 season.

Check out this starting five:

Perhaps the best place to start is with Franklin seniors Cameron Smith, a 6-foot-2 guard, and 6-3 forward Andrew Hartkorn. Smith is the Grizzly Cubs’ leading scorer at 15.8 points a game, while Hartkorn is second in scoring (12.8) and the team’s top rebounder (5.8).

“I love being a lefty. For basketball and for baseball I feel as if I’m set apart from everyone else. There are many more right-handed players than left-handed players. Because many teams don’t have them so they’re hard to prepare for and scout,” Hartkorn said. “With the way I play the post, I feel dominant using both hands.”

“But because I’m left-handed I feel even more dominant going to my left side than I do my right side. Lefties are just weird, out-of-the ordinary athletes who often create huge problems for opposing teams.”

Starting at center is Center Grove’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, a 6-6 tower of potential who, as a freshman, leads his team in points (9.5), boards (6.1) and blocks (1.5). His career-best numbers so far are the 25 points he scored in a victory against Franklin in the Johnson County Tournament and the 10 rebounds he pulled down in a three-point loss to Martinsville.

Two of Greenwood’s players also make the starting lineup: 6-2 swingman Braydon Kincaid and 5-11 guard Max Raker, both sophomores.

Kincaid is third for the Woodmen in scoring (11.3), is their second-leading rebounder (4.7) and leads in assists (4.3) and steals (1.3). Raker has been good for 9.2 points, 3.2 boards and 2.4 assists.

Coming off the bench would be Cameron Rigley, Franklin’s 6-foot senior guard (4.0 ppg), and Center Grove’s 6-5 freshman Lucas Doyle (2.6 ppg).

Coaching duties would be shared by Hensley and second-year Center Grove coach and fellow southpaw Zach Hahn, who played in 139 games at Butler University from 2007-11.

Overall, Greenwood enjoys a decided advantage among county teams when it comes to left-handers.

Not only are Hensley, Kincaid and Raker lefties, so are the coach’s two assistants — Marshall Bratton and Jason Gorrell — and Woodmen junior reserve guard Donovan Sears.

Southpaws everywhere unite.

You may represent only 10 percent of the world’s population, but you’re a lot of what’s right about local boys basketball this winter.

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.