Have you ever watched ‘Hoosiers’? What kind of question is that? Of course you have. Then you should be familiar with the Hoosier Gym, located in real life in Knightstown. In fictional life, it was the home of the Hickory Huskers.
Saturday, it will be home to the girls of Bellmont and Bishop Luers. If you’ve never been in the Hoosier Gym, every winter is the best time. Each Friday and Saturday, games are played in the venue that should just feel like home to Indiana high school basketball fans. This Saturday, it will be two Northeast Indiana area teams squaring off at 2 p.m.
Oh, and if you’ve never seen ‘Hoosiers,’ you should probably make a last second add-on to your Christmas list.
1. ALL THE MAKINGS OF A GRACE HUNTER SHOWCASE
Historic gym, Bellmont possibly making a historic run in Hunter’s already historic final season. This game could be a monumental showcase for Hunter on her farewell tour. Already averaging 24.5 points per game, Hunter is looking for those showcase moments and we’ve seen it multiple times already this season. Both teams have something to fight for here, but there is the feeling that all eyes will be on Hunter in this one.
2. DEPTH ON EITHER TEAM
Bellmont is not as deep as Bishop Luers, but this is a fun day to test that depth. The Knights have spent their season growing their depth either out of necessity or healing from bumps and bruises. While the Knights have a couple of players on their bench that can easily slide into the lineup, Bellmont coach Andy Heim has been a little more careful with his bench. But he may need them here.
3. SAC TOURNAMENT
While the Knights will play hard to win every game, the fact that the SAC Tournament lingers should make them want to leave something in the chamber. Bellmont will take a seven day layoff, but thanks to an unfriendly draw, Luers will have to have Concordia to contend with just five days after this, which narrows hopes to advance in the tournament.
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
1. LYDIA REIMBOLD, BISHOP LUERS
Reimbold was expected for a breakout junior season, but her 53 percent shooting from two point range indicates some struggles. That said, each of her previous two seasons, Reimbold has made major strides right around this time of the year. Is she destined to have that big game Saturday?
2. MEGHAN BUSICK, BELLMONT
On Monday, Meghan Busick scored 35 points. Adams Central, Bellmont’s opponent in that game, scored 36. And suddenly, Busick becomes a major priority and the Luers defense is stretched out a little more. Busick is critical for Bellmont’s success as when she is on, she is clearly very on. When she is off, as in her 1-for-13 night against South Side, she is very off. What Busick will Luers get?
3. DORI JAVINS, BISHOP LUERS
Javins is another Knight that is due for a big game at some point soon. She has been reliable as a rebounder and an energy girl and will likely draw duty on Busick some in this game.
4. KENZIE MCMAHON, BELLMONT
She has been through the ringers with Bellmont over the last two (and now into three) seasons, so McMahon knows what is expected. In a game full of role players, the team that has one step up biggest wins. McMahon has never shy’d away from the challenge of taking on more responsibility.
KEYS TO VICTORY — BISHOP LUERS
1. THROW ANYTHING YOU HAVE AT HUNTER
You’ve head the expression “everything but the kitchen sink”? Throw that too. Hunter is having a monster year, Indiana All-Star worthy and the Knights have to throw their best shot at her to be only the second team to beat Bellmont this year. It is very likely we see Reimbold matched up on her and Reimbold/Hunter has all the makings of a great duel. If Reimbold doesn’t get it done though, find your box and ones, your triangle and twos and anything else you need. Bishop Luers has to stop Grace Hunter.
2. CONTROL THE GLASS
Bellmont plays with fire when it comes to rebounding the ball, so Bishop Luers will have to match that intensity. If they can come out and play as hard on the glass as they did early with Homestead, they will be in good shape. The Knights actually outrebound Bellmont on average by about six and a half rebounds and nobody in their rotation averages less than three rebounds per game, led by Reimbold’s 8.5 rebounds.
KEYS TO VICTORY — BELLMONT
1. GET INTO PASSING LANES
Bellmont does steal the ball less per game (9.8) than Bishop Luers (12.4). But, they have more fire getting into passing lanes and the Knights can get too complacent at times passing the ball. With Bishop Luers’ need to get this game into the interior in spells, Bellmont will need to be able to prevent that by working the wings. Busick and McMahon are both averaging 2.8 steals per game behind Hunter’s 3.5 steals per game.
2. BE AGGRESSIVE
This one shouldn’t be too hard. Bellmont is aggressive. So don’t have lulls. While Bellmont has a decent balance in games played before and after this one, Luers will not have played in seven days, but then have one of the biggest parts of their season right around the corner. Will the Knights have lulls? Early season struggles, when they’ve had them, point to yes. But it doesn’t matter what Luers does, or shouldn’t to Bellmont. They need to hammer home the aggression and make this game their speed from the get go. It is what powered them by South Side after all.
This should be a really fun game and would be if they played it in a parking lot. Make it a matinee and throw it in the Hoosier Gym and we have all the makings of a really fun pre-holiday game.
Bounce picks Bellmont