Outside the Huddle and Bounce are counting down who it feels are the top 50 individual girls basketball players in northeast Indiana heading into the 2021-22 season.
Today, we unveil five of the best in the area at positions No. 50-46.
No. 50 Aniah Hill, Wayne
As the Generals continue their upward trend, Hill was a big part of a 7-14 season in 2020-21. As one of the most experienced members of this team, still only a junior, Hill had some high quality breakout moments last season. She put up four 20 point games against some of the lower competition in the area but it clearly built up her confidence as she really broke out with a 15 points, three steal effort in a late season loss to Carroll.
Hill averaged a team second best 8.7 points but her truest contribution was on the defensive end, where she averaged 2.9 steals per game. On four different occasions, Hill registered five or more steals in a single game including eight against Marion and far more impressive seven steal effort agains South Side that went with 10 points and seven rebounds.
No. 49 Tia Phinezy, Snider
While Snider’s big three freshmen took the area by storm last season, a fourth freshman was developing significantly over the season too. Phinezy, who also shines on the volleyball court in the fall, averaged a team co-second best 4.4 rebounds per game last season. She and fellow sophomore Johnea Donahue will now be the leading returners in the rebuilding department and with Phinezy a more true post, she will be leaned on significantly to control the inside. The 6-foot-2 sophomore appeared in 21 games last season for Snider, averaged 5.9 points and a single steal per game as well.
Her breakout performance came in just her seventh varsity game where she scored 13 points and six rebounds in a lopsided loss too Carroll. Still, that performance pushed Phinezy forward, including nine points on 3-of-5 shooting against Homestead. Phinezy had five multiple block games, including three blocked shots in a Sectional round win over Northrop.
No. 48 Riley Pepple, Angola
Staying on the sophomores who broke out as freshmen campaign, we get to Pepple, who came in with a lot of hype from middle school and proved she could live up to that hype in a very tough and physical NECC. Above all else, Pepple is a lights out shooter. Pepple has a great catch and set that allows her to get her shot off quickly. If you give her any space, she is going to make you pay for it. Saying that, she is also one of the better players in the area at creating her own deep shot from deep off the dribble.
Over the summer, both with Angola and with AAU, Pepple was able to showcase just how stellar her on ball defense could be. Pepple is a flat out competitor and it will be interesting to see how she grows into her sophomore year with enhanced need for her to contribute on the team. She his very strong, but has a high ceiling that this year will tell us more about than her freshman season did where she averaged 6.5 points per game.
COACH’S QUOTE ON RILEY PEPPLE
“Riley has had a great offseason. Everyone knows she is a great shooter but she has really become a threat in a variety of ways. She spends a ton of time working on her game and is as dedicated to improving her skill set as anyone. We are really excited to see her perform this year and really watch her emerge as a big time player for us.” – Angola coach Nick Burlingame
No. 47 Addie Shank, Bishop Luers
Another freshman who really established herself to be a varsity presence in 2020-21 was Shank, who’s experience and expectations are going to soar into her sophomore season. With a couple of big players graduated from the Luers lineup, Shank is the player of the future now. As a freshman, she averaged 10 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, which is really solid as a 9th grader in the SAC. The fact is that Shank may have inserted herself into the mindset of the area before any other freshman in 2020-21 with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting in her very first varsity game. She went on to score in double digits on nine total occasions last season.
Shank’s best game came in a huge January 26 upset of Norwell, one of the area’s best teams. Although Norwell would avenge that loss shortly after, Shank was tough as nails in that game with 21 points, going 7-of-11 from the field and 6-of-8 from the free throw line. The 6-footer works strong in and around the rim, and had 17 rebounds (and 18 points) in a regular season finale win over Wayne. That 17 rebound total was one of the area’s best single games all season.
COACH’S QUOTE ON ADDIE SHANK
“She can play inside and outside. One of the best rebounders in the area and has developed post moves and improved jumper over the summer. She had a break out year as a freshman and look to help Luers again this year,” – Bishop Luers coach Mark Pixley
No. 46 Molly Stock, Homestead
Stock really got her feet wet a season ago by being thrown directly into it and expected to contribute significantly and immediately. She rose to the occasion often, finishing he season with a team third best 8.4 points per game, despite shooting just 37 percent from the field. She did however shoot 41 percent from three point range, averaging 2.1 makes per game. Her 2.3 assists per game last year was second best on the team, but with Grace Sullivan’s graduation, Stock’s experience and growing court vision make her a decent candidate to bring the ball up court for Homestead in poignant moments.
While only averaging a steal per game in 2020-21, Stock is a good grit defender and a lot of what she can succeed in is what Homestead had come to expect out of Sullivan over the years. Look for Stock to take on that role well as she cuts down on the success of the SAC’s best guards.
COACH’S QUOTE ON MOLLY STOCK
“Very good shooter and has the ability to get to the rim and create shot opportunities for her teammates. A hard nosed defender who will become one of the top guards in the area.” – Homestead coach Rod Parker
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