It already seems like high school girls basketball has been playing for a month even though it is a handful of weeks. We are already seeing the division from top teams and even are getting some conference match ups.
As the boys close in on their turn, Bounce has some thoughts on the week gone by.
Homestead and Concordia’s girls teams took to the court out southwest on Friday night in what was billed by many as the battle of the two top teams in the SAC. Bounce, for one, knows that South Side took immediate offense to that notion.
The crowd was really nice out at Concordia with at least 80 percent of the gym filled. Early in the year or pretty much anytime in the year, it is hard to find a gym filled anymore. Wrong or otherwise, you don’t see it enough for the ladies especially when there are still city football teams playing on a Friday night. But the community showed out for a game that Bounce wasn’t missing either.
This is what Friday night basketball in Indiana should be atmosphere wise.
“It was a great crowd tonight, I really appreciate all of the support we are getting from our community,” Homestead coach Rod Parker said. “It had to be exciting for the kids to play in. A couple of young kids, it is probably their first time playing in an environment like this, especially in front of a school that is behind them and excited to see them play.”
It was impressive how Concordia hung with the deep, deep Spartans early. As much credit goes to senior Carissa Garcia, and rightfully so, Nautica Rogers and Chastity Craig really provided a good punch inside for the Cadets. While Homestead made the biggest team impression on the night, Rogers really showed some star power with her 13 points despite foul trouble.
Bounce found that foul trouble, something experienced by both teams, as something, well, troubling. I didn’t keep count, but there were somewhere between 40 and 50 fouls called in this game. Quick whistles don’t help high school basketball, I will say it now. And tough basketball does not always equal fouling basketball.
Homestead played impressively tough basketball. After Concordia grabbed a 20-18 lead in the second quarter, the Spartans went on a 41-7 run over the next 15 or so minutes and did so in dominating fashion. Kara Gealy harassed Garcia up and down the court and even though she led the game in scoring, Homestead seemingly never allowed Garcia to get comfortable, which is quite a feat. The defensive pressure of the Spartans was next level and if there was any doubt in Bounce’s mind that they could be a state title contender, it went away. Their defense was also creating easy offensive chances as they rolled to a 72-46 win.
You name a player: Gealy, Grace Sullivan, Sylare Starks, Rylie Parker; they were all critical in playing some tough perimeter defense that Bounce isn’t sure any team can handle.
“I think we did a lot of good things defensively, but got a little reach happy and got into foul trouble,” Parker said. “Other than that our coverages I thought were very good, we just have to clean things up in that aggressiveness. But I was happy with our intensity.”
Freshman Ayanna Patterson, who had her moments of struggles, did manage a big 16 point, 11 rebound double double. She was one of three Spartans in double figures (Starks with 11 and Parker with 14) as they continue to show that pretty much everybody can score any night.
The win is nice, improved Homestead to 4-0, but it says a lot about long term potential. Even though the final was a wide margin, Bounce hopes we see this game again in the SAC Holiday Tournament.
“We put together a schedule of games to push us, but also so as we get later in the season, we play good quality teams and we can reflect back on games like this; playing a Carissa Garcia and defending teams like Carmel,” Parker said.
OK CARROLL, I’LL TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY
Prognosticators and experts, like Bounce at least claims to be, get one thing wrong more often than we get it right. When a team loses a lot of talent from one year to the next due to graduation, we tend to count them out.
What we tend to forget is the coach of that team and their ability to develop a quality pipeline. Bounce may have made that mistake, with all due respect, with Mark Redding of the Carroll girls. Redding has long been able to develop programs to be sustainable at the top, including Elmhurst and now at Carroll. The Chargers graduated virtually everyone after last season.
Then, they started their 2018-19 campaign at 4-0. Beating Columbia City and Huntington North along the way, the girls who have stepped up on the varsity level have shown out. On Friday, they beat Northrop, which isn’t a huge win but still a conference contest that saw sophomore Emily Parrett score a career best 21 points. In their win over Huntington North on Tuesday, Parrett led the way with 16 while Olivia Hoeppner added 12 points.
They aren’t “THERE” yet, but a heck of a lot closer than I expected.
THE BOYS HAVE BEGUN
The week brought about scrimmages for high school boys basketball heading into next week’s opener. Snider showed good promise visiting coach Jeremy Rauch’s old stomping grounds at Bellmont. Homestead and Wayne tested what they have early against each other. New look North Side and new look Heritage toyed with their offenses. Canterbury, under exciting new coach Chase Sanders, had a solid performance against Leo.
By the way, Bounce isn’t sold on these new Leo uniforms. Black with purple lettering?! Don’t you see the sports performance goggles? Bounce is blind!
Local teams on the boys side start playing as early as Tuesday, but Bounce will wait. The night before Thanksgiving has long been “opening night” in Bounce’s eyes. So where will I be on November 21? Stay tuned to find out.
A NEW LEADER
Bounce vividly remembers when Grace Hunter burst onto the scene as a freshman. A lot of people were aware of he abilities, few could have been certain that she would make Bellmont a legit contender for years and years, revitalizing that program.
Tuesday, in a home game in Decatur against Bishop Dwenger, Hunter became the leading scorer in the history of the program. Hunter scored 24 points in the game and ended the night with 1,240 points. That number will keep growing, but passing Krista Reinking‘s record from 1994 is a moment for Bellmont to remember for a long time.
Hunter added 26 points on Friday in an impressive win over ACAC favorite Jay County and scored 12 Saturday in a win over Heritage.
- Oh South Side. Just when I think maybe you need some time to grow, Bounce is probably wrong. In Monday’s win over Bishop Luers, they had four different girls in double figures scoring: Olivia Smith with 15, Lamyia Woodson with 13, Alaya Chapman with 12 and Jas Combs with 12. Saturday’s win over South Bend Washington saw two completely different girls — Jaci Jones with 14 and Cassidy Connelley with 10 — in double figures. For all the credit we all give Homestead’s girls for their scoring depth, maybe we start to shout out South. Looks like we know now who the conference’s true #2 is.
- Paint Bounce’s face red. I should have known better when it came to Norwell. Bounce picked NorthWood to top the surging Knights on Saturday and I was wrong. Maybe Norwell is more well adjusted to the rigors of the season than even I expected. Maiah Shelton‘s 14 points show early shades of her sister Quinn, who too put up unassuming numbers a couple of years ago for Norwell. Also to Norwell’s benefit is the return of Breann Barger, who is one of the top returners from a year ago. Barger originally was not going to play this season, but has rejoined the team and will be eligible to play Tuesday.
- Lakeland’s Bailey Hartsough had two of the best games of her career this week, scoring 21 with seven rebounds and four steals Tuesday before pouring in 31 on Friday. Both of those games were wins for the Lakers, deepening the pool of talent in the NECC.
- Speaking of the NECC, Sydney Freeman of Central Noble is now just nine points away from being Noble County’s fourth best scorer ever. Her 41 point week (in two games) puts her a stone’s throw from Ben Van Ryan, who holds that spot.
- Huntington North‘s girls had a rough week. They do have a lot to replace and there are going to be lumps to take. But Madalyn Robrock may be the NE8’s most improved scorer. Last week she scored a career best 32 points against North Side and turned around to score 27 in the loss to Carroll this past Tuesday.
- Names like Kenzie Casselmen or Camden Bodey aren’t fresh and new for Garrett followers. Nor probably is Faith Owen, but to the outside followers of the local scene, Owen’s week was a big introduction to her talents. She led the Railroaders in wins over North Side and DeKalb with 16 and 12 points respectively.
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