• Carroll can’t be unhappy with the week they had. After avoiding Huntington North‘s slow down offense all together in a 20-point win, they pushed unbeaten, perennial power Hamilton Southeastern to overtime Friday. Some may look at this completely incorrectly: that the Chargers beat a team they should and lost to a team they should lose to.
That is pretty ridiculous in my educated opinion. The Chargers had to overcome a lot against the Vikings. So many teams this season and last can attest to how hard it is to score against Huntington North but Carroll did so seemingly at will, led by Emily Parrett‘s 19 points.
Against HSE, the Chargers again relied on balanced scoring, led by 10 each from Parrett and Taylor Fordyce. But the intrigue came into stopping the Royals when they had to. A 7-2 third quarter score is the best thing to build on. Carroll stepped up their game, forced overtime with their heavy defensive play. HSE is very, very good team but Carroll did a lot right in defeat.
• Down the stretch of Tuesday’s loss to Heritage, Wayne committed some untimely fouls and allowed the Patriots to get to the free throw line way too much for the closing moments of a close contest.
But here is food for thought: Wayne was in a close game. How do you learn how to finish close games and not make those mistakes? Well you have to be there. Wayne sits 1-3, the same place they were at the start of last season but the differences are night and day. Last season they lost to Blackford, this season they beat them. Last season they lost to Heritage by 27 points and this season they were right there until the end, only losing by five.
“When we look back on out games, realistically we should be 3-1 right now. We let two games get away from us that should have been easy wins,” Wayne coach Lacia Gorman told me. “However, looking on the bright side of things, we have been competitive in every game, except for one, which is an improvement in itself.”
I’ve given the Generals a lot of my attention early in this season for a 1-3 team, even if they should be 3-1. But they are really putting in the work and I truly believe that this program is turning around. That isn’t something that has been easy for teams that reach the pits of the SAC in the last decade. As Gorman also shared with me, this young team will have to learn and mature as they go. Close games, close wins and yes, close losses are things they need to get there.
I also noticed against Heritage that the Generals are the first, and to my knowledge only, team in the area that is playing while wearing masks.
“COVID is a serious issue that is affecting our country,” Gorman said. “We, as a team, took a vote and decided that we want to play sports but we also want to do our part helping to lessen the spread. We discussed as a team what wearing a mask will do for us and for the others teams and we decided that the pandemic is bigger than us.”
Big, bad Bellmont is 4-1 for the second time in the last three seasons after going 2-1 this week. The loss to Jay County is an unfortunate one, but the defense has really been something for the Squaws to hang their hats on.
Bellmont coach Andy Heim won his 100th career game on Saturday as the Squaws forced Heritage into 22 turnovers in a 42-27 victory. That kind of pressure is going to keep Bellmont in the NE8 conversation long after we get into a serious conference schedule as the Squaws are now 2-1 against the ACAC and 2-0 against the SAC.
Bellmont kicked off the week beating Bishop Dwenger behind 19 points form Faith Morris and 17 from Morgan Shifferly. In the win Saturday against Heritage, Bellmont held the Patriots to six or less points in three of the four quarters. When you can’t score, you can’t win. Kenzie Fuelling led the way for Bellmont on Saturday with a game high 14 points.
• Emme Boots joined the 1,000 point club for Bluffton on Friday night as part of a seven point effort in a 41-33 win over Eastbrook. The Tigers, under Boots’ so far stellar senior season, now sit at 5-0 on the season. When is the last time that Bluffton started 5-0? Well not in the 20 years of previous history that we have to draw on. Is it safe to say that Bluffton has never started 5-0? Probably.
Boots had also scored 19 points on her way to 1,000 against Mississinewa earlier in the week. While it really was Boots’ week, it was Zoe Barger‘s 19 that led the way in that Friday night win over Eastbrook.
• Is there any better chill inducing girls basketball lineup intro than Garrett‘s? I was thankful that the program had their game streaming on Tuesday night so I could experience the spotlight driven, train engine rumbling lineup announcement. Personally, I can’t wait until I get back into the gym at Garrett to feel it in full effect.
Maybe that intro is what drives Nataley Armstrong. She continues to do amazing things passing the ball, including 14 assists against North Side on Tuesday, which broke her own record for Garrett in single game assists. She then turned around to have 12 more assists against New Haven the very next night. She had a slight, for her, five assists to end the week on Friday against DeKalb. More importantly, Armstrong helped push Garrett to 5-0 for the first time since 2013.
Of those schools who report to Max Preps, which isn’t everyone in fairness, Armstrong currently has the second best assist per game average in the country with 9.6 per contest. Even if every team in the country doesn’t report, this is still a monumental accomplishment; in fact, the top four listed passers are all from Indiana.
• Fine, I will admit when I am wrong. My upset special pick of Eastside over Angola didn’t exactly go as planned. In fact, the Hornets put on a clinic defensively and shooting the ball in the big NECC win that sets up this week’s huge NECC game against the aforementioned Railroaders. But I digress.
Because this performance is worth noting as Hanna Knoll hit 20 points by scoring on four three pointers while Lauren Leach added three from deep and Riley People checked in with a triple. Knoll now has 1,083 points in her career and is 48 points away from becoming the program’s third all time leading scorer. The Hornets are 2-0 with seven of their next eight games being very tough including four straight away from home. This game showed that Angola isn’t going to just be pushed aside in the NECC and their defensive stance, to hold Eastside’s offense down so well, speaks volumes.
So my bad Angola, as your Barstool will remind me of, I got this one wrong.
• Chloe Jolloff stands alone at the top of Lakewood Park history. Is that any real surprise? She took over as a freshman to help lead the Panthers to a Sectional title and she hasn’t let her foot off the gas yet. On Thursday night, she solidified herself as the best to ever put on a Panther girls basketball uniform when she scored 38 points in a 66-54 win over Southern Wells to push the Panthers to 4-1.
That 38 points was the single best scoring game in program history. She also used those points to surpass 1,000 career points and topped off her night by also becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer for a career. When Jolloff breaks records, she doesn’t leave any left over.
For further reference, Jolloff had a triple double that night and attempted to hit that quadruple double mark. To her 38 points, she added 11 steals, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Quite a remarkable night and moments for Jolloff as Southern Wells also stopped the game to let Jolloff and Lakewood Park take in the moment. The Panthers are 4-1 for the first time since 2017.
• Warsaw has quietly crept to 4-0 wins this week over Wabash, Merrillville and South Bend Adams. Kensie Ryman‘s 16 points led a a completely balanced effort against Wabash and then the Tigers had to turn around for a one day, four team tournament on Saturday that they essentially rolled through.
Abby Sanner‘s 20 points and 16 rebounds propelled Warsaw rather easily by Merrillville in the first game of the day on Saturday. While South Bend Adams put up a bigger fight in the tournament final’s second half, the monster Warsaw first half really smothered any hopes for Adams. Warsaw led 41-21 at the half, really breaking their opponent’s will. Sanner had another double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds while seven different Tigers chipped in on scoring.
Adams Central‘s Sage Hammond pushed to the edge of a quadruple double on Wednesday, pairing her 16 points with 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals in a win over Manchester….Renna Schwieterman had her ninth ever 20-plus point performance on Saturday, which isn’t bad at all for a freshman in a low scoring conference. She put up 21 points in a Jay County win over Oak Hill, a team that scored just 20 points themselves….Blackhawk Christian has their best start in over 20 years, now at 6-1….As New Haven fought Garrett on Tuesday, freshman Kaelyn Ortiz-Vaudt hit 5-of-7 three pointers in a loss.
Be sure to vote in this week’s FAN CHOICE for Performance of the Week. Keep in mind with basketball, this isn’t a player of the week poll. We aren’t taking into consideration every single game on a player’s weekly resume. Instead, these are the best singular games of the week.
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