As your Jungle Book-inspired weekly high school football wrap up is in its final weeks, yours truly will want to catch you up with the week in high school basketball, from my unique and better than most perspective.
Bounce loves to take in high school basketball games any way that he can and nothing is better than the hoops season for the girls in full swing. The week was full of big-time performances and some record breakers. While the two games Bounce watched in person weren’t the most competitive, Bounce has taken away some critical points from those games and other events of the week.
Bounce isn’t exactly sure what he was expecting when I made the long hop to Columbia City on Friday night. What I did know was that not only would it be one of the last trips I would get to make to that soon-to-be-passed-by Eagle gym, but there were a couple of players I wanted to see in person.
Bounce had never seen Ellie Snep of Whitko before, but her rebounding exploits are well known. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was dissapointment in that regard as Columbia City owned her on the boards all night, limiting the area’s best rebounder to just one point. Her physicality wasn’t on the level that Bounce expected or wanted. The rest of her week was good though with 13- and 16-rebound games, making me think I probably saw a rare out-of-form night.
The intrigue of Columbia City came because it started 0-2 after Bounce expected the Eagles to start so much stronger. West Noble beat them Tuesday, but Bounce knew the Chargers would be good. Bounce didn’t expect Columbia City to fall to Carroll in its opener last week. Maybe a game against a downtrodden Whitko was what it needed.
Bounce was possibly most impressed by the play of guard Carly Mabie, who had nine points, four assists and no turnovers. Mabie played as a tough ball handler with plenty of aggression in the 65-22 win on Friday. Her night was part of an 18-assist game for the team, showing the excellent court vision that both she and Grace Schrader had running the point.
“We knew that being able to pass the basketball and move the basketball was something we needed to improve on. That was our achilles heal, we had too many turnovers in the West Noble game,” Columbia City coach Amy Shearer said. “We continue every day to focus on that, put all kinds of pressure defense on our kids and make them uncomfortable at practice so at game time they are used to that kind of intensity.”
Columbia City was also great on defense, with full court pressure turned into half-court trapping that forced even the Whitko interior players to shoot jumpers. If Bounce had to pick his favorite trapping tandem for the Eagles, it would be Olivia Shearer and Mabie, who certainly were not allowing Whitko to pass down to the post.
In two completely different places on Tuesday, two of the area’s top shooters dueled without even knowing it.
In Decatur, it was Concordia’s Carissa Garcia who hit seven threes and scored 36 points to lead the Cadets over Bellmont. Both totals were program records.
At Whitko, Sydney Freeman of Central Noble hit nine three pointers and scored 38 points, upping a tone that Garcia set that shouldn’t have been able to be upped. Her points in the game made her the all-time top-scoring Cougar, regardless of gender.
Bounce hasn’t been shy on Twitter: I need and require a shooting contest between these two. A pair of Always 100 trained stars, there has yet to be anyone more interesting to watch than Freeman and Garcia on this young season. And we will get to see them go head to head at no point. Can we get Ball State and Northern Kentucky to schedule a game next season? Bounce hopes so because these two are scoring at a torrid pace that has Freeman averaging 27 points a game to Garcia’s 30.5. Both teams are 3-0.
BUY INTO NORTH SIDE A LITTLE
The Legends have started 2-1 after dropping a game at Huntington North on Friday. But Nya Coleman and Sumiyha Chambers have given reason for hope for a team looking for double-digit wins for the first time since 2003-2004. They started 2-0 last season too before going 6-17. While this isn’t a team that will compete for a conference title, last year’s team didn’t play with as much offensive prowess as we’ve seen so far.
Last week, Coleman posted a triple double, even garnering credit from the Indianapolis Star in their Performance of the Week poll. Against DeKalb, she posted a 14-point, 12-rebound, 7-steal game while Chambers scored 22 points to lead all scorers.
With the rebuild going on with the North Side boys, Bounce will say this: I expect the girls down by the river to win more games than their male counterparts. And that hasn’t happened in a long time.
- Freeman’s 38 on Tuesday was excellent for Central Noble. On Saturday, she scored 27 points in 21 minutes against Prairie Heights. She now has 1,283 career points, clearly outpacing Mike Young as the school’s best scorer ever. Meleah Leatherman added 21 points on Saturday; her 1,256 points moves her into second for the school’s female scorers all-time.
- Tuesday’s win over Whitko was Central Noble’s most points scored since 2008 and was also coach Josh Treesh’s 100th win at Central Noble.
- What gets lost in Tuesday’s shooting duel and the Garcia game at Bellmont is that Grace Hunter scored 28 points. It has been a while since we’ve seen her put out such a high output, kind of makes you forget for a while what a high-profile scorer she is.
- Bounce isn’t quite sure what to make of Angola yet. It missed its first 21 shots against Bishop Luers, but still managed to beat a team that this frog is pretty high on.
- Da’leshia Davis has become the scorer we’ve been waiting for since she was a freshman. Snider went 1-1 on the week with a nice win against Huntington North and a kind of surprising loss to Bishop Dwenger. But ‘Baby D’ was fantastic in both with 20 points on Tuesday against the Vikings and again on Saturday against the Saints.
- Is Heritage a contender or pretender in the ACAC? Bree Dossen says yes with her actions. A loss Thursday to Garrett confuses Bounce. Dossen though did pour in 19 points on Saturday in a quality win over improving Lakewood Park. I guess if you want to know more about Heritage, check out Bounce’s friend Brice Vance’s coverage: word is he lives in Monroeville these days covering teams from DeKalb County.
- Are Jay County and FAN VOTE Preseason Player of the Year Shelby Caldwell for real? Four scorers in double figures in Friday’s opening win over Alexandria didn’t prove much, but they did shoot 54 percent from the field. Playing Class 2A No. 2 Oak Hill on Tuesday will be telling.
A SATURDAY MATINEE
The top Summit Athletic Conference team against the bottom SAC team isn’t going to draw a big crowd, but there is something fun about getting in a game at noon on the weekend. So Bounce had to…bounce over to Homestead Road.
I saw what I expected with the Spartans hosting Wayne.
What I didn’t come to see but was impressed with however was Grace Sullivan, the sophomore transfer from Canterbury who is earning her minutes in the Spartan lineup. As Homestead improved to 3-0 with their home opener, Sullivan shined. Neither Bounce, nor the general public will pretend Wayne is on par with previous Homestead opponents Carmel or Northridge. But you can’t fake effort no matter the skill level of your opponent.
Bounce doesn’t know what Sullivan’s final steal or assist totals ended up while putting in eight points, but if there was a category for straight hustle plays, nobody on either side of the court would touch her. She got after the ball on every play and attacked with an unmatched energy. Sullivan doesn’t have the size of most of Homestead’s rather large team, but she more than makes up for it in her effort and enthusiasm.
At one point, about six total players from both teams were on the ground after a loose ball that Homestead’s Sydney Graber started after. There was a five to eight second scrum where the ball was grabbed, swatted and stabbed at by all of the players. Then Sullivan emerged, headed into the pile like one of those cartoon dust ups and somehow emerged cleanly with the ball.
What is not to like about that? Homestead has showed balanced scoring in its three wins. It had 10 scorers in the win over Wayne, led by Sylare Starks and Graber’s 13 points each. This team will score and it will get them far. But if we learned anything from Homestead’s 2017 state title, it is you need the intangible players willing to put themselves on the line each trip up the court. In that regard, Sullivan fulfills a highly-critical role.
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