Greetings friends and followers, I am back with my weekly column on the happenings of prep basketball in the Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana area.
For those of you who are new to this particular thing, I will chime in every Sunday with some of the biggest takeaways of the week. If you are familiar with my fall time other half Blitz, this is similar to his Saturday musings except I have a full weeks worth of games to take in, so obviously I work a lot harder than he does.
So read along every Sunday with me as I talk about things, often conference by conference.
IF YOU CAN’T STOP GLENN, YOU CAN’T STOP LUERS
Bishop Luers handled their first test by beating Central Noble on Friday night. The star of the first OTH Game of the Weekend: Kennedy Glenn. Her length was a problem at the rim all night, blocking shots and generally causing chaos. She rebounded extremely and we knew that was likely to happen with her.
But being able to step out, bury three pointers to show her expanded range as well as make timely passes to push her assist total to six makes her a big danger for opponents.
We knew Luers was going to have many weapons, but Glenn was a star on night one.
• Statement makers. That is what you can call Carroll after Saturday night. Trailing 52-35 to a seasoned Columbia City, the Chargers just went ahead and scored 39 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Eagles 74-64. This sends a very clear message to everyone this season: you never have Carroll beat. Ever.
• Homestead survived an early season test from Carmel on Saturday in their opener. Bounce can’t say he expected that to be so close, but I guess I also didn’t know about Kate Clarke, who was just a matchup problem due to her length and ability to hit shots, even when contested.
Bounce made that game his first Saturday game this week and I was actually happy to see Homestead get tested. You go play at Homestead to play tough. Homestead opens their schedule with Carmel to test themselves. Both things happened and they got the victory so I consider that a major win, even if it was only by a 47-46 tally.
The Spartans have some rust; Ayanna Patterson didn’t play most of the summer and they are adjusting to a new starting point guard and a new starting center. But that point guard looked good as Grace Sullivan is finding a true role in the Homestead system. He has picked up a lot of quickness on both sides of the ball and she found a good mix between pass first and taking the ball to the rim the way she did before she was a Spartan. Hitting the go ahead/winning free throw with under 10 seconds left will absolutely raise her stock and confidence.
• Big winning effort for Wayne on Friday night is a great thing to see. Against a heavily rebuilding Canterbury, the Generals get to start 1-0 and seek their first season with more than two wins in three years. Coach Lacia Gorman was the absolute right hire last season for the Generals and while it is going to take her some time to build, everything you see with Wayne and the program’s effort points at good things. Emilia Diaz had 18 points in the win with Shabrea O’Quinn adding 11 points.
• Jaci Jones just casually hit five triples again on Saturday for South Side, proving the point she’s a top five player in the area. If there is one thing we’d want to see in the future out of South’s loss Saturday to Indianapolis Cathedral, it is an added hunger. The Archers likely won’t have an issue with that in the SACl how hungry will they play now outside of it?
“We let this one get away to a hungry Cathedral who wanted to win,” Archer coach Juanita Goodwell said in her stat line e-mail to media Saturday. Can South match that hunger in the future?
The game also featured former Huntington North standout Lisa (Winter) Finn returning to the area. She is now 2-0 as the coach for Cathedral.
• Northrop‘s first athletic director Dave Riley was honored by the school on Saturday during the girls home opener against Leo. The late Hall of Fame coach did so much for the Bruin athletic department and now the court in their gym bares the name David E. Riley Court. And the Bruins went ahead and picked up a win to break the newly named court in.
• Kudos to Norwell for effecting to start their season with a tough schedule, opening at Oak Hill and then at Warsaw. Their opener with the defending state champion Oak Hill, the scoring was so balanced with 15, 14, 11, 9 and 7 points. That balance is a hallmark of Norwell and really impressive. The 63-46 win showed the difference between being one player oriented (Oak Hill’s Taylor Westgate had 30 of her team’s points) and having the luxury of being able to spread the ball out. Kaylee Fuelling led them on Wednesday with 15 points and Breann Barger added 14 points. And a loss to Warsaw on Saturday may be a setback, but I don’t think it changes anything about what we know about Norwell.
• There is work to do with Woodlan, who struggled mightily to score in the final three quarters against Garrett. They airmailed a handful of three pointers, Addison Bayman favored her right elbow most of the night and they just never got in sync offensively. Is this because of how quickly they may have worn down because of their own hardcore pressure defense? Time will tell, but the Warriors certainly know they need to improve and clean up some early sloppiness.
• Bree Dossen did what was expected for Heritage in wins over DeKalb and Leo. She is a powerful scorer and rebounder. In the win over DeKalb, the better of the two games, she was aided by sophomore Caylen Schane, who scored 17 points and added to the Patriot depth.
GARRETT OPENING SOME EYES
Garrett‘s girls have to be one of the big surprises of opening week. We knew this group was going to be improved from a year ago, but the leap looks like a big one. Defensively, their consistency was a big problem for Woodlan on Thursday in the season opener, which was also the first game Bounce attended this season.
Morgan Ostrowski is real difference maker with her length. He opening basket of the game was a nice two dribble, semi runner and she was able to step out and hit a three and has a beauty of a mid range shot along the baseline. Defensively, her positioning forced a lot of Woodlan turnovers.
BUT, I left Garrett on Thursday night a huge fan of freshman Bailey Kelham. While Garrett has a trio of sophomores a lot of people like, I won’t be shy about saying that Kelham has the best player on the court that night. She can guard at least four spots and really gets after the ball no matter where it is. She was the best help side defender, gets after loose balls and then succeeded offensively as the game’s leading scorer. Her dribble drive, especially from the corner is difficult to close out on and defend. Mark her in the race for the area’s best freshman.
• West Noble opened their week with a pair of wins, beating Bethany Christian and Blackhawk Christian. Lilly Mast scored 18 in the win over Bethany on Thursday, but the win at a rising Blackhawk on Saturday was probably more impressive as the Chargers try to be a team in the NECC title conversation this season.
• Big milestone coaching victories in the NECC on Saturday. Mike Lortie tallied his first career win at Eastside and it was a quality one by beating ACAC’s Adams Central, one of the best teams in that conference. Meanwhile at Fairfield, Brodie Garber tallied his 100th win as a head coach in a 52-19 win at Jimtown; Garber is now 100-64 in his career.
• A disappointing start for Central Noble on Saturday at Bishop Luers, but not time to panic by any stretch. The Knights are going to overmatch most teams. For Central Noble, they have to be happy about the desire of Bridgette Gray, Lydia Andrews and Jocelyn Winebrenner to get to the basket and score at the rim; plus, they aren’t likely to have as many nights where the shots just aren’t falling. Bounce is a fan of the aggression offensively of Madi Vice as a freshman. She pushed the pace, handled the ball well and will, eventually, be able to add some scoring.
• Hailee Kline at Blackhawk Christian is starting to separate herself as one of the best area players not in a conference. She put up 19 in a win over Southern Wells and scored 21 against a tough defensive West Noble squad in a loss.
• How about Warsaw making waves? The Tigers knocked off visiting Norwell on Saturday just days after the Knights had beaten a defending state champion. While it likely doesn’t change what we know about who Norwell is, the Saturday win certainly changes what we now feel about Warsaw. The Tigers were going to be good, now they are a major threat. As far as opening week wins go, this one feels like the biggest. Brielle Harrison was halfway there in the assist column to a triple double and Warsaw shot over 50 percent from the field and the three point line in the win.
As always, make sure you vote in this week’s Performance of the Week FAN VOTE. Remember, this doesn’t reflect a body of work as much as the best single game performance. Voting is open through Tuesday here: FAN VOTE: Girls hoops Performance of the Week for Nov. 4-9
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