With some unrivaled free time to look back at the prep hoops season gone by, Bounce decided that he wasn’t done with the girls side of things just yet.
Yet, before Bounce goes into self isolation, how about some season-ending awards for the female teams of the area? All this week, Bounce will be giving out some awards for each conference in Northeast Indiana, let you get some voting in, and what about one more prediction?
Today we begin with the NECC.
*You can vote in any of these fan polls for the next 10 days, through March 26
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Hanna Knoll, Angola
I guess one could argue this, but the area’s only Indiana Junior All-Star was captivating with her play again this season. It led the Hornets and their group to a perfect record against the conference, in mostly dominating fashion, and also earned her a spot on our OTH All-Area team.
HONORABLE MENTION: Bailey Kelham of Garrett, Bridgette Gray of Central Noble, Bailey Hartsough of Lakeland
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Bailey Hartsough, Lakeland
In a really crowded conference behind Angola, it was Lakeland that charged to second place. There was a really solid batch of seniors and freshmen that helped them there, but there is no doubt that Hartsough proved her value in leading the way. MVP, as we see it, is always truly the ‘most valuable.’ And Hartsough’s value for Lakeland, among her 15.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, isn’t really questionable. She was a confident and comfortable stabilizing force all season. That is why we register her as the most valuable piece to her team in the entire NECC; where would Lakeland be without her?
HONORABLE MENTION: Alexis German of Prairie Heights, Gloria Miller of Westview, Jada Rhonehouse of Fremont, Bridgette Gray of Central Noble, Mariah Hosted of Churubusco
Who was the most valuable to their team in 2019-20?
BREAKOUT PLAYER: Bailey Kelham, Garrett
This is easy. When a freshman can come in and make the impact that Kelham did, there is no better break out. She became arguably the second best player in the conference right out of the gate and did so confidently. She is a walking bucket and instantly made a very good Garrett team a top contender for years to come.
HONORABLE MENTION: Sullivan Kessler of Eastside, Morgan Ostrowski of Garrett, Brea Garber of Fairfield, Kennedy Kugler of Prairie Heights
Who is your pick for breakout player from the NECC?
MOST UNDERRATED: Jada Rhonehouse, Fremont
This is a tough one because I don’t think many of these girls were given enough acknowledgment. But, it is Rhonehouse that stands out because Fremont is that team right on the outside of the top teams. As just a sophomore, Rhonehouse is one of the top teams in the NECC and shoots the ball at a 39 percent success rate. With the amount of players on those top 6 teams sharing the spotlight, Rhonehouse didn’t get it on a wide enough spectrum.
HONORABLE MENTION: Kayla Fenstermaker of Angola, Kara Kitson of Fairfield, Beth Stroop of Lakeland, Jazmyn Smith of West Noble
Who is your pick for the most underrated player from the NECC?
COACH OF THE YEAR: Brandon Appleton, Angola
Appleton is the type of coach who doesn’t expect his players to do anything that he can’t demonstrate himself. That is one of the most interesting parts about watching an Angola practice. Appleton tunes himself into everything the Hornets do, including that traditional pregame warmup squat at the foul line while Angola runs through their game day motions. He wants hard and works harder.
HONORABLE MENTION: Bob Lapadot of Garrett, Josh Treesh of Central Noble, Mike Lortie of Eastside
Who is your picks for NECC Coach of the Year?
GAME OF THE YEAR: Angola vs. Fairfield, NECC Tournament Final
This one ended up in Angola’s favor by nine points and that would make you think it wasn’t that close. It really was. The young Fairfield squad held their own in what I expected to be a blowout. Fairfield led in the second quarter with some tough play creating some defensive chaos. The Falcons found holes in the Angola defense, but the Hornets always just found a way. Ally Lorntz played extremely well for Angola and the Hornets showed poise when tested to win the conference tournament title.
HONORABLE MENTION: Eastside over Garrett 36-35 in OT; Eastside over Prairie Heights 45-42; Fairfield over Eastside 43-35 in OT; Angola over Garrett 40-34; Garrett over Angola 42-38; Central Noble over Garrett 38-35; Lakeland over West Noble 65-60 in OT
What is your pick for NECC game of the year in 2019-20?
BOUNCE’S PICK TO BE 2021 NECC CHAMPS: Angola
If I just told you that Hanna Knoll and Brandon Appleton are back, that may be enough. But the supporting cast for the Hornets is going to be solid too. Angola will return Lauren Leach, Megan Nisun, Danielle Dunham and others. This is a team who will miss their seniors, but have developed players under that to step in and make it as seamless as possible. Expect the NECC to again be a really fun race next season. Challengers are going to be there and be abundant, but Angola hasn’t lost to another NECC team since January 12, 2019 and there is more than one reason for that.
Who is your pick to win the NECC in 2021?
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