• So uh, let’s talk about Snider.
As just the second team in the SAC to beat Homestead in the regular season ever in the Spartans’ reign over the conference, we really have to focus on how good these freshmen are for the Panthers. I don’t know that I even had the words. I wasn’t underestimating the Panthers per say, at least in my mind, but I am still a bit flabbergasted. A year ago Snider – currently third place in the SAC – won just five game and lost to Homestead twice by a combined score of 174-39.
Snider has now won six straight this season. And no win, probably not all of their other eight wins combined, are as impactful as beating Homestead on Friday. The Spartans really looked like they were going to route their way through again. Snider is better that they were, but Homestead is Homestead. They had the game in hand in the first half but Snider used a 20-0 run stretching between the first and second quarters to take a 29-23 lead at the half. And then the adrenaline just pushed and pushed and pushed the Panthers.
It was a war; one of the best girls games we’ve seen this season in the entire area. Ayanna Patterson was near dominant at the rim on her way to 26 points and Molly Stock hit big three after big three. But Snider never faltered, they didn’t play like a a team that was an underdog or like they were there freshmen.
Jordyn Poole, fresh off her first Division 1 offer early in the week, played like a seasoned pro. She has multiple times this season. If you don’t know her, you aren’t paying attention. But to do it and to do it against Homestead are two completely different things. She had. a game high 28 points, fought through everything and converted tough attempts in heavy defensive coverage. Fellow freshman Johnea Donahue scored 10 points and the third of their popular trio, Destini Craig, didn’t score much by when she did late in was in a major moment.
Tia Phinezy added nine points in a career day from her and it was a stop from one of the few holdovers from last season, Nekhai Boone, who secured the biggest defensive moment of the game. Boone stepped up and into the way of Patterson in the closing moments, securing the loose ball that ultimately led the Snider’s free throws to put the 72-68 win to bed.
• Carroll‘s win over Concordia really further established them as the top team in the area because Concordia has given so many teams quality games. So this is not to take anything away from that win led by Taylor Fordyce‘s 14 point night on Wednesday. A win on Friday over Luers was good too as that furthers the likelihood of a SAC championship in their future.
But beating Carmel on Saturday, that is the focus this week.
Carroll has been to the Regional round before. As a matter of fact, the Chargers getting to Regional Saturday is about as safe of a bet in the past handful of years as Homestead getting there. But it usually stops there where the morning hasn’t been too kind to them. As we sit one week from this season’s tournament draw, Carroll’s win has to put them at the forefront of their Regional (should they get by Sectionals mind you). That isn’t something that could be said in the past but now they’ve won 13 straight and are the eighth ranked team in the Sagarin Ratings overall in the state in Class 4A. Carmel also has the number one ranked schedule in Class 4A and have wins this season over other possible Regional teams in Zionsville and Homestead.
Carroll cushioned a lead in the middle quarters on Saturday against Carmel, outscoring the Greyhounds 38-21 in the second and third quarters. Emily Parrett and Saniya Jackson each had 17 points while Fordyce added 12.
• The final possession was chaotic for sure, but after a maybe travel, a missed shot and a scrum for the loose rebound, New Haven secured a win Tuesday over Bishop Luers, 42-41.
It’s not a stretch to say that this is the biggest win for New Haven girls basketball in many, many years. The rebuilding and restrengthened Bulldogs got 12 points and 18 monster rebounds from Avarcia Nard and another double double of 12 points and 10 rebounds from Shania Freeman.
The win was New Haven’s sixth of the season as their sixth win the past eight. The Bulldogs haven’t won six games since 2013-2014. Further historical facts: by beating Wayne, North Side and now Bishop Luers, New Haven has beaten three SAC teams for the first time in one season since 2009-2010 and beat the Knights for the first time in at least the past 20 seasons.
For the fifth time in the last seven years, Jay County is again the ACAC Tournament champions. As we’ve noted so many times previously, the Patriots have a severe stranglehold on the ACAC.
That stranglehold will only tighten when you focus on the fact that Renna Schwieterman is only a sophomore. In a 52-48 win over Adams Central in Saturday night’s title game, Schwieterman scored 30 points on route to a tournament MVP award. That kind of offensive production is not something seem very often in the ACAC yet somehow it isn’t so surprising at this point coming from her. And Schwieterman has a lot more of those games to come in her career.
Madison Dirksen added 10 points in the final and Izzy Rodgers had six.
You could take one of two approaches with the tournament runner up Adams Central. They will play bridesmaid for the second straight season and that is either a positive or a negative depending on your priorities. The Flying Jets closed the gap on their first meeting with the Patriots and there were plenty of times where it looked like they could pull off the moderate upset.
So how do you look at it? Is it unfortunate that the Flying Jets were so close a second year in a row and didn’t get their title? Or doesn’t it speak volumes to the consistency they are building in Monroe? This team did lose quite a bit from their 2020 squad yet they were right back there in the fight for an ACAC Tournament title this year. Winning is contagious and it certainly is happening for the Flying Jets, who have to be considered perennial contenders in the conference now.
This was the 47th girls ACAC Tournament.
Lauren Leach stepped up big when the time called. At this point, the junior is incredibly seasoned. She’s seen a Regional title game, she’s won a NECC Tournament and on Saturday, she was a major part, if the not the biggest part in Angola winning their third NECC Tournament title in four seasons. She scored 15 first half points to open the game up and finished with a career high 25 points.
Hanna Knoll, the usual suspect in scoring, had 17 of her own in the final game.
But getting there was a big journey too.
Angola beating Garrett was no small task. I had a feeling that it would be a different ballgame for their second meeting but after Garrett ran through Fremont to start the week on Tuesday behind Bailey Kelham‘s 23 points, it looked like the NECC leader had this thing ripe for the taking. But Angola took it to them with one of their best top. heavy scoring sessions of the season with Knoll’s 17, Leach’s 10 and 14 major important points from Riley Pepple in Wednesday’s win.
Angola could have been content with playing in their fourth straight final on Saturday, but came out with more aggression than Lakeland, who was in the first title game since 2008. The Lakers had what may have been an easier path to the final but they powered through it with three wins of their own, two of them featuring 26 points from Bailey Hartsough against Central Noble and Westview. Hartsough was held scoreless in the first half of the title game opposite Angola.
Homestead junior Ayanna Patterson hit the 1,000 career point mark on Tuesday in a win over Mishawaka Marian….Lakewood Park‘s Chloe Jolloff have moved into the top 40 all-time scoring leaders in DeKalb County history with her 26 points Tuesday in a loss to Northrop….Lakeland‘s Bailey Hartsough surpassed Jon Workman on Wednesday to become the 3rd leading. score in school history.
Remember to vote in this week’s polls. Not only can you vote for the best single game performance of the week, there are two separate polls for the NECC and ACAC Tournaments as well. That is three different boys hoops FAN CHOICE votes this week.