Five players to watch in the ACAC Semi Finals and Finals

Jay County’s Madison Dirksen patrols the paint during a January 2 game against Heritage.

Friday night, the final four teams will take the court in each of the ACAC semi final rounds. Eight teams remain total on the boys and girls side and there are some really interesting matchups to prepare for.

As we prepare for these games, let’s take a look at five players in the ACAC that you should probably be keeping an extra eye this weekend.

Madison Dirksen, Jay County

Jay County’s inside-out menace could be quite active over the weekend in helping the Patriots to a tournament title.

Just over a week ago, Dirksen scored 14 points against Bluffton in which she also grabbed three rebounds, three rebounds and notched a few assists. That same Tigers team is the foe for the semifinals on Friday.

Sophomore Renna Schwieterman commands a lot of attention from opponents as Jay County’s leading scorer, but the junior Dirksen is the catalyst for this team as she affects the game in so many different ways.

Macy Pries, South Adams

Could a freshman break out in a huge way this weekend and bring home an ACAC Tournament title to Berne?

While raw and still learning, Pries is averaging double digits in points and is also one of the Starfires’ leading rebounders.

Friday’s foe beat South Adams by 20 to begin 2021 on Jan. 2. What has changed in less than two weeks? We will see as the Starfires battle Adams Central.

Sage Hammond, Adams Central

Just like Dirksen, Hammond is a big problem for opponents – literally and physically. She is a true power forward/center who is not afraid to battle around the bucket and finish in contact. She leads Adams Central in rebounds at 8.7 per game.

In the tournament opener against Heritage, Hammond dropped 12 points on did not miss a shot from the field. With an all-Adams County showdown in the semis with South Adams, it could be the little things that pushes the Flying Jets into the championship game.

Hayden Nern, Bluffton

By virtue of Jay County having to bow out of the ACAC Tournament due to Covid issues, Bluffton gets the automatic berth into Saturday’s final. That could be big, as the Tigers can watch South Adams and Adams Central battle on Friday in the semifinal while Bluffton gets to relax and rest up.

A standout on the football field at quarterback, Nern has been just as good on the hardwood. He leads the Tigers in every major offensive statistical category, including points (18.4 ppg).

A forward who can finish inside and out, Nern is integral to Bluffton’s chances on Saturday.

Trey Schoch, South Adams

Another familiar name from football, Schoch is averaging a touch over 22 points per game on the season. He was at it again against Southern Wells to kick off the tournament earlier this week and has been a constant presence in the scorebook.

While the Starfires do not have an overall record that jumps out at you at 5-4, there is a lot of athleticism and proven talent on the roster. Schoch and SA may be in position to win this thing this weekend.

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