BOUNCE’S REFLECTION: What to take from the prep hoops week (Jan 28 – Feb.2)

BounceInset_2Does anyone know just how deep in a pond a frog has to go to avoid the deep freeze of negative temperatures? Or do you know how hard it is to break through the ice to make sure you get out in time for Friday night hoops?

Needless to say, last week wasn’t fun for any of us. OK, there are certainly some girls players happy heading into the now championship Monday as we get ready to crown Sectional champions. But overall, the week was a bust. Two area Sectional games on Tuesday followed by a lot of sitting around in -49 degree windchill and four more inches of snow.

That is over now. Rumor has it that spring is on the way according to some little fur ball that didn’t see his shadow. Me personally, I will wait until my Outside the Huddle cohort Blitz finds his way outside. If that big boy doesn’t see his shadow, then maybe I will actually buy into warmer conditions.

And don’t forget to take a quick glimpse back at the Sectional games we have already had: Girls Sectional hoops scoreboard and schedule

South Side’s Jaci Jones looks to get around the defense of Homestead’s Rylie Parker during Saturday, February 2’s Class 4A Sectional title game.


Nobody wants to end their season feeling just content. So if I told South Side to do that after their 16-8 season, they would probably throw things at me and Juanita Goodwell may chew me out to a degree that would make me pee my basketball shorts.

But really, the Archers should feel in ways satisfied now that their season has come to a close. Yes, satisfied is just a synonym for content.

The Archers, save for a first quarter run capped by a Jaci Jones three pointer, didn’t have much for Homestead on Saturday in their third go around with their now rival Homestead.

RELATED: Early push from Sylare Starks a catalyst in Homestead’s Sectional title win

But I, for one, would have for South Side themselves or anyone else to judge the Archers’ season based solely on their final encounter with the Spartans. Judge them by their wins over Jay County, Oak Hill or twice over Concordia. Judge them by their first halves each of the first two meetings with Homestead. Or judge them by the comfort, relaxation and effort that I saw from them, even well into Saturday night’s loss. I don’t know if I have ever seen anyone more relaxed than Alaya Chapman was during warm ups on Saturday, bobbing her head to the music playing at Homestead as she took shots and worked in the post with an assistant coach. South Side doesn’t look in the least bit high strung anymore, they look comfortable with their role and even into a third game with Homestead, they looked like they expected to win and that is half the battle.

Next season, the Archers will be back without Darriyn Hackbarth, who has spent the better part of the last season and a half becoming a valuable cog to the South Side system. They will also not have T’Laizha Morris, who has to be considered one of the breakout players of this entire season SAC and area wide. But they return every other piece. And those pieces are good, which makes the future bright.

Jones hit a major stride late in the season, leading the Archers in scoring in three of their final four games, including hitting nine threes against Bishop Dwenger and six against Muncie Central. She will return next year as one of the best players in the area. Not to mention that Chapman, Olivia Smith and Lamyia Woodson return after all being major contributors.

At the end of the day, Saturday didn’t pan out how South Side wanted it to. They end the season with no title after winning two last season. But they should be — dare I say it — content. The year was a success on multiple levels. Next year will be too and I don’t doubt that for a minute.


Dan McKeeman, Carroll

Carroll’s win at Merrillville on Saturday marked the first game of seven over 14 days. That takes a lot of confidence and prior preparation but the Chargers look like they are up for the task. Not suffering a loss since the SAC Holiday Tournament, Carroll is now 11-4 after a 1-3 start and will play Northrop on Friday where a win could realistically get them the conference title.

A big positive out of Saturday’s win was Dan McKeeman really hitting his stride. The senior has been hot and cold throughout the year offensively, but still overall effective because of his tenacious style of play. But when McKeeman’s shot heats up, others are in trouble. He hit three straight triples in the second quarter Saturday that spurred the go ahead offensive push in the 57-44 win. McKeeman ended with 21 points in the win and coupled with how David Ejah has been playing, Carroll’s one-two punch may be in full effect coming down the stretch this season.

This week alone will see Carroll play at home Tuesday opposite North Side, on the road Friday at Northrop and then Saturday they will welcome potential regional opponent Carmel, who sits at 15-1.

Garrett freshman Faith Owen (foreground) and coach Bob Lapadot (background) watch on as the Railroaders play New Haven during a February 1 Class 3A sectional game.


Garrett was too young to get by an experienced Angola team in Saturday’s sectional semifinal, but their youth was on its full positive display the night before when they dispatched New Haven for their first Sectional game win in five years. The senior class of Garrett has been their signature group and Kenzie Casselman got one more big showing Friday when she hit seven three pointers against New Haven. But as Casselman, Camden Bodey, Lexi Baver and Sydney Weaver move on from the Railroader program, coach Bob Lapadot has to feel good about the future.

Bounce, for one, feels good for the Railroaders after watching them on Friday night. And going upward from their 18th winning season in the last 19 years has to be a positive.

Garrett freshman Nataley Armstrong brings the ball up the court during February 1’s Sectional game against New Haven at Concordia Lutheran.

Garrett’s freshmen could be special for them in the coming years. Throughout the season, Faith Owen has played extremely well and actually ended up leading Garrett in scoring with 10.5 points per game. On two occasions, Owen hit five three pointers in a single game and could be a sign that Garrett has their next knockdown shooter with Casselman’s exit. But Owen too showcases a high basketball I.Q. and ball handling ability that could make her the star of the NECC by the time her career is over.

On Friday night though, it was another freshman in Morgan Ostrowski that was the catalyst in that Sectional win. She had not scored more than seven points in a game and averaged 3.1 points per game this season. But Friday, she hit 6 of her 9 shots and led the team with 16 points and added six rebounds. With added time and strength, she could be a great future option in the post.

Other freshmen Nataley Armstrong and Abby Weaver will also factor into future plans and to be 13-9 while playing four freshman is a god problem to have. Armstrong and Ostrowski played in all 22 games while Owen appeared in 21 contests. The future is bright for the Railroaders and despite Concordia and Angola’s overwhelming efforts and higher ability in this year’s Class 3A sectional, there is a reason that Bounce left his viewing at Concordia knowing that this column would need to include a note on the Garrett future.


  • In the midst of a week heavy with weather and girls basketball action, it was Eastside’s Alex Yoder making a big statement on Saturday setting the school’s single game scoring record. Yoder scored 41 points on Saturday in a route of Hamilton.
  • It has not been the most marquee year for Leo, but they have some really good performances despite what was a 3-9 record heading into Saturday. But on Saturday, they invited Adams Central in and got a nice signature win, 56-55 in double overtime. It was Andrew Tkacz tying the game at 42 with a baseline finish to send the game into the first overtime. He finished with 12 points while Blake Davison had 13 and DJ Allen scored 18 points. It was an impressive win for the young Lions, who are now 2-0 in overtime this season.
  • Teams are going to continue to fall on the girls side, as goes with the territory. But this time of the year always makes us reflect on the seniors we will never see on the high school court again. One of those that stands out heavy to Bounce after the weekend is Jay County’s Shelby Caldwell, who became one of the best scorers in the history of her school and one of the best scorers of the 2018-2019 season in Northeast Indiana. Caldwell ended with 29 and 17 points in her two Sectional games this year and Bounce, for one, will be sad to see her and a lot of other seniors go.
  • Bounce will have a lot more to say about Sectionals on the girls side on Monday with a special Bounce’s Picks where I will, in fact, pick who I think will win the remaining area Sectionals on Monday night.
  • As always, don’t forget to vote for the top single game Performances of the Week with plenty of great action from girls Sectionals and a smattering of girls games along the way as well:

FAN VOTE: Girls hoops Performance of the Week (Jan. 28 – Feb. 2), sponsored by Rico’s Barbershop

FAN VOTE: Boys hoops Performance of the Week (Jan. 28 – Feb. 2), sponsored by Ellen Vance of Ruoff Home Mortgage

These opinions represent those of Bounce and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Bounce on Twitter at Bounce_OTH

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