BOUNCE: What you need to take away from the Girls hoops week December 28 – January 2

Angola’s Hanna Knoll (left) and Lauren Leach try to take the ball away from Woodlan’s Dakotah Krohn during a January 2 game. (Photo by Steve Bowen/Bowen Arrow Photography)


• One can only imagine it was an exhausting wait for Carroll to get back on the court. They played on December 4 and then had to wait until December 29 to get back on the court. That is virtually a complete reset for a season that had been going so well.

There is bound to be rust. If you play too many games too quickly, there is bound to be a stamina issue. But just not at Carroll. The Chargers took the court on December 29 and proceeded to go 4-0 over two days to win the Northridge Tournament by what you could call total domination. Winning by an average of over 26 points per game, the Chargers made a bold statement here: they aren’t going to take any game lightly.

Saniya Jackson led the Chargers in a win over former conference foe East Noble with 12 and then Taylor Fordyce scored 21 points in a win over Snider. Emily Parrett had 20 in the win over South Bend Washington. Carroll had nine different scorers in the first two games and eight against South Bend Washington. I have to sound like a broken record, but there is just something special about a team that boast that kind of scoring depth every single game.

In the finals, the Chargers rolled over host Northridge by outscoring them 37 to 25 in the opening half. Nine different scorers put up points for Carroll and that’s so shocking, isn’t it? No. They always do that. Saniya Jackson was the second leading scorer in the title game with 14 points but her excellent effort in the tournament got her named as the MVP of the event.

• Despite losing two of their three games this week, South Side is stronger heading into Friday’s meeting with Homestead, their consistent SAC rival. Losses to Pike and Fishers were unfortunate for the Archers, but facing high level Class 4A teams is only making them stronger for a push to win the SAC.

South struggled shooting against Pike, playing without Lamyia Woodson and dug a deep hole in the second quarter. Their second half showed life, losing the 16 minute frame by just six points but the damage had been done. Later that day, they rallied back to beat tournament host Franklin Central behind 36 points from Olivia Smith. There have been times, more often than not, this season that Smith has played pretty quietly despite some top performances. She has been more of a silent assassin that braggadocios leader but there is no hiding her this week. She forced the action on Wednesday afternoon, getting sent to the free throw line 22 times, where she hit 19 of those shots.

On Saturday, Smith was at it again at a very high level. Smith scored 29 points, hitting 11 of 14 free throws this time in a loss to state ranked Fishers. A second quarter again was the big issue for South, who shot themselves out of the game by going just 3-of-23 from deep. The Archers are an ever evolving team and playing all week without Woodson again is making them test themselves on several different levels. It was a great week for Smith (minus Saturday’s three point shooting) and the Archers can grow from the tough experiences.

Leo’s Gabrielle Adams goes up for a shot against the defense of Garrett’s Morgan Ostrowski during a January 2 game. (Photo by Leverage Photography)


Norwell played a complete week with some big highs and low lows in going 2-2. The Knights went down to New Castle to test themselves on Tuesday at the Hall of Fame Classic with losses to two quality Class 4A teams. Against Mt. Vernon in the first game, the Knights just dug too deep of a hole early. There was plenty of positive in Norwell never folding and making run after run at Mt. Vernon. But every time they got close, Mt. Vernon answered with a run too.

Mt. Vernon went up 11-3 but Norwell came out of a timeout strong with a 9-0 run, capped by a Mackinzie Toliver three pointer to take a 12-11 lead. Norwell had seven straight defensive stops during that 9-0 run, but turnovers haunted the Knights with five in the first four and a half minutes of the game and eight in the first quarter. Kaylee Fuelling was almost unstoppable late, but nobody else in the lineup found much traction. Fuelling answered an 11-1 Mt. Vernon run with back to back threes but it was too late to complete a total comeback.

Ditto can be said for their loss to Fishers in the consolation game; Norwell was right there much of the five point loss but struggled to get over the hump.

Maiah Shelton and Fuelling both surpassed the 1,000 point mark for their careers on Saturday. Side by side since they were freshmen leading this program, it only makes sense that the pair mirrored each other this significantly.

Jay County’s Madison Dirksen passes out of a double team during a January 2 game against Heritage.


• Remember how one loss could be enough in the ACAC to keep you away from a title? Well now everyone has a loss except Jay County, putting the Patriots in the driver’s seat as we close in on the annual conference tournament.

Heritage and Bluffton still sit at one loss in conference, but Heritage’s loss over the weekend to Jay County will make it harder for them to get back into the regular season race. Adams Central too took a step back with a loss this week to Woodlan behind Avah Smith‘s 20 points to outduel Sage Hammond‘s 19 points for the Flying Jets. All five of those teams could be considered in the race for the conference tournament title though so that could be interesting.

Can South Adams play spoiler? After missing three games and taking a 20 day layoff, they returned to go 1-2 this past week including a loss to conference rival Adams Central on Saturday. The Starfires could be dangerous as a spoiler in the conference tournament if they get their legs under them. Their win over the week was a quality one, beating a Blackhawk Christian team that has looked very good most of this season. Kristen Wynn picked up 23 points, hitting four threes in that victory.

RELATED BOUNCE: Jay County beats Heritage to tip off 2021 and take control of the ACAC

Heritage’s Claire Bickel defends during a January 2 game at Jay County.


• And West Noble, Lakeland and Garrett keep rolling on this inevitable collision course. The trio of teams are a combined 16-0 in conference, 36-5 overall and have winning streaks of seven, two and 10 games after each going 2-0 over the last week.

In Saturday’s final game of the Lakeland Classic, West Noble put up over 70 points for the third time this season in a win over Concord. Mackensy Mabie lead the way with 26 while Lilly Mast added 22. Mabie had 23 points earlier in the day in a win over Tippecanoe Valley.

Lakeland’s 10th win in a row came in a 54-42 win over Tippecanoe Valley to cap off that same classic. Faith Riehl led them with 22 points in the win.

Garrett didn’t have as big of challenges on the week with wins over Churubusco and Leo, but it was still big to get back on the court to wrap up 2020 and start 2021 after a break of their own. On Saturday, Taylor Gerke (20 points) and Bailey Kelham (17 points) teamed up to railroad Leo. Nataley Armstrong added 10 assists to her big season distributing and Morgan Ostrowski blocked six shots in the win.

These three are on that collision course, not just for a regular season title, but also the upcoming NECC Tournament.

Angola girls overcame a slow start on Saturday to pick up a big win. The Hornets led Woodlan 21-15 at halftime behind a solid start from Megan Nisun, who had 11 points in the first half. Hanna Knoll came into the game with a wrist injury, but played through it even if she wasn’t her normal self early on.

Then the Hornets outscored Woodlan 20-1 in the third quarter behind 15 points from Knoll. I want whatever speech she gave herself or was given to her at halftime because that Knoll that Woodlan saw in the third quarter is very dangerous.

Knoll did not score in the fourth, but finished with 21 points and is now 10 points away from breaking the program scoring record. Knoll sits at 1,211 points as Angola heads for a Monday matchup with Lakeland.

Warsaw took home the win in their own Lady Tiger Tournament on Saturday after a last second change in who was even playing in the event. Rochester was forced to drop out of the event on December 31, leaving a short notice and a holiday to find another team to play. While they weren’t able to do so, the event went on as a three team tournament with Chesterton and North Judson. Warsaw’s 50-30 win over Chesterton in the semi final was the 1,000th game in the history of the school’s girls basketball program.

Kensie Ryman‘s 13 points and Abby Sanner‘s nine points and 15 rebounds paced the win over Chesterton. Against North Judson, Warsaw was led by 15 points from Sanner, 13 from Ryman and 12 points from Kacilyn Krebs. Warsaw out rebounded their two opponents 77-46 on the day including a 45 rebound outing as a team in the win over Chesterton.

Ryman, Sanner and Krebs were all named to the All-Tournament team as Warsaw improved to 11-3.


New Haven matched last season’s win total with a 49-42 win at Fremont on Wednesday. If the Bulldogs can add another win this season, it will match the most wins since 2014-15. The Bulldogs had not played since December 11….Huntington North went 2-0 in the Norwell Shootout on Saturday, beating Wawasee and Plymouth as Taylor Double averaged 13 points in the two wins. The Vikings have now won seven straight as Grace Sell hit a three at the buzzer to beat Plymouth….Central Noble outscored Bremen by 15 points in the fourth on Saturday to win by 15. The Cougars were led by Meghan Kiebel‘s 19 points.


Remember to vote in this week’s Girls Hoops Performance of the Week poll. This poll will close on Tuesday, January 5 at noon.

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