We have reached the top 5 in our countdown of Outside the Huddle’s Top 50 girls basketball player countdown. This is No. 2 in our annual preseason crowning of the top 5 players in northeast Indiana that we call the ‘First Five;’ our highest individual preseason honor.
The ‘First Five’ was started in 2018, following in the 35-plus year tradition of naming the top five area basketball players, started by a now defunct prep sports department in Fort Wayne. It is our honor to pick up and carry on that tradition with the ‘First Five,’ including our third group of honorees coming this season at the top of our Top 50 countdown.
No. 2 – Hanna Knoll, Angola
In her first three seasons with Angola, Knoll has accomplished a lot of things. It is hard to find a night where she isn’t the best player on the court. In 2019-20, she led the NECC and the Hornets in scoring at 16.9 points per game and became an Indiana Junior All-Star. When we say that Knoll is often the best player on the floor, the most impressive part is that there are actually games where you may not think that. But when the time is right, when she needs to flip a switch, she can do so smoothly while becoming dominant. Knoll is known for a variety of skills but at her base, she is a knockdown shooter who can create her own shot and knock down the three under different pressures from the defense. She hit a team high 52 percent from deep at a 39 percent success rate last season.
Her commitment in April to Central Michigan will likely be a perk for her heading into the new season. There are no distractions as she hopes to lead Angola to another undefeated NECC season and another Sectional title like she led them to in 2019 while coming razor close to winning a Regional. Knoll’s high motor is very evident on defense where she has hounded opponents during her career. In the press or in the half court, Knoll pressures the ball significantly and tallied 3.7 steals per game including seven against Eastside and six steals on four other occasions. During her junior season, Knoll also averaged 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
COACH’S QUOTE ON HANNA KNOLL
“Hanna is a great all around player who can beat the opponent in many ways. She is a great shooter from the outside and is very explosive to the rim. She also averaged She has a great work ethic and we are excited to see her perform this year.” – Angola coach Nick Burlingame
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