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 head to the Northeast 8 Conference.
*You can vote in any of these fan polls for the next 10 days, through March 28
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Maiah Shelton, Norwell
You could go a couple of ways with this pick, even in the Norwell locker room. At the end of the day, Shelton was able to change games the most. She was able to work inside and outside and her rebounding and aggression turned up for Norwell to share the conference and reach the Regional final. Shelton put up quality numbers too, among the best in the conference, but it really was her demeanor and work ethic that pushed her ahead. She was an OTH All-Area selection for a second straight season.
HONORABLE MENTION: Kaylee Fuelling of Norwell, Meghan Busick of Bellmont, Olivia Shearer of Columbia City
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Meghan Busick, Bellmont
To avoid drop-off in the ‘post Grace Hunter world’ that was mentioned about a billion times, Bellmont needed someone to step up and lead by example. They had two options for that and let’s just say that Busick edges out a teammate for this honor. Busick made sure there was little drop-off in the Bellmont program her senior season. It speaks to the potential longevity of Bellmont as a contender and a true ‘next girl up’ mentality that can keep them stable. Without Busick, they wouldn’t have had that as much this season; hence her true value.
HONORABLE MENTION: Breann Barger of Norwell, Carly Mabie of Columbia City, Kenzie McMahon of Bellmont
Who was the most valuable to their team in 2019-20?
BREAKOUT PLAYER: Taylor Double, Huntington North
Another freshman to really break onto the scene this season, Double didn’t really seem phased by the pace or change to the game that comes between 8th grade and high school varsity basketball. It helped Huntington North go from the back of the conference an graduating their top player to NE8 contender. Double averaged 7.8 points and and 2.7 assists per contest.
HONORABLE MENTION: Karly Kirkpatrick of East Noble, Carly Turner of East Noble, Morgan Shifferly of Bellmont, Maddie Hickman of DeKalb
Who is your pick for breakout player from the NE8?
MOST UNDERRATED: Olivia Shearer, Columbia City
Shearer helped lead Columbia City to a share of the NE8 title, beating co-champion Norwell along the way. She averaged 8.5 points and 3.5 rebounds, leading the way in a lot of categories for a very balanced Eagle team. That balance made it difficult to rank the players on this team sometimes, but Shearer’s hot shooting ways made her so dangerous. Shearer attacked school three point records, including being the final Eagle girl to ever hit a three pointer in Donald S. Weeks Gymnasium..
HONORABLE MENTION: Lauren Bales of Norwell, Morgan Shifferly of Bellmont, A’varcia Nard of New Haven, Reece Colclesser of Huntington North
Who is your pick for the most underrated player from the NE8?
COACH OF THE YEAR: Eric Thornton, Norwell
Thornton lead Norwell to be the only NE8 team, in a year where the conference was very strong, to win a Sectional title. After a fantastic morning Regional game, Norwell had the chance to win in the nightcap before falling short. Norwell was on too long of a drought, by Norwell standards, in not winning a title but they stopped that. Non-Conference wins over Bishop Luers (twice), NECC champ Angola and ACAC champ Woodlan were pretty nice too.
HONORABLE MENTION: Amy Shearer of Columbia City, Andy Heim of Bellmont, DeAnn Booth of East Noble, Matt Hinds of Huntington North
Who is your picks for NE8 Coach of the Year?
GAME OF THE YEAR: Bellmont versus Columbia City, January 10
Bellmont’s 40-31 win over the Eagles set a four way tie in the NE8 at the halfway point of conference season. It was chaos. Bellmont’s aggressive defensive pressure challenged Columbia City all night in Decatur. Columbia City, meanwhile, couldn’t keep out of foul trouble, sending the Squaws to the line 37 times. But the Eagles were still there. They made run after run after run, getting to the rim and playing so much stronger in the second half. Bellmont answered, but those Eagle runs made the outcome of this game always in doubt until he closing minutes.
HONORABLE MENTION: 12/13 Columbia City over Norwell 48-46; 01/18 Norwell over Bellmont 36-32; 2/8 Norwell over Bellmont 37-36; 12/13 East Noble over Bellmont 32-30
What is your pick for NE8 game of the year in 2019-20?
BOUNCE’S PICK TO BE 2021 NE8 CHAMPS: Norwell
Despite what one coaching spouse in the conference may assert, there is zero ‘Norwell bias’ here. But there is the fact that the Knights won a share of the title this past season, were a couple of defensive stops away from the semi state round and return nearly everyone next season. So of course they are at the top of Bounce’s list. Norwell has proven that they are the standard with longevity in the NE8 and until someone is as consistently good as Norwell, it will be hard to project anyone other than the Knights at the top of the NE8, especially in March.
Who is your pick to win the NE8 in 2021?
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