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. 35-31.
No. 35 Lexi Castator, Carroll
One of the best in a conference loaded with talented freshmen last season, Castator became an impact player in the heavy rotation for the conference champion Chargers. She averaged 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, which were sixth and fifth respectively on the team and numbers that lie because of the deep rotation that Carroll employs. Still, only one scorer who put up more points per game returns to the Carroll lineup this season and Castator is fully capable of making up the gap as she will push being double digit scorer, which is a big deal for Carroll.
Castator shot 40 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free throw line. Her consistency was able to be a thing from the start of her first season, even before her output matched her skill level scoring. She put up a so-far career high 18 points on December 30 in a quality win over South Bend Washington. Her real value was on showcase down the stretch of the season where she scored 18 total points on Regional Saturday, shooting 71 percent from two-point range between those two games. She also had three steals in the Regional win over Homestead, her seventh game of three or more steals in her freshman season.
COACH’S QUOTE ON LEXI CASTATOR
“Alexis is a solid player on the defensive and offensive end. She is a consistent shooter and very effective on driving to the basket. With her size, she is a difficult match-up.” – Carroll coach Mark Redding
No. 34 Bekah Marshall, Columbia City
As the Eagles have gone through a wide range of successful players, up and comers and rebuilding blocks, Marshall has been a constant over the past few seasons. She has long been a diverse player for the team that they can lean on for a variety of things. Her role really has changed every season and that has made her evolution a fun one to watch as she has been a constant all three seasons of the Outside the Huddle’s Preseason Top 50. She can rebound the ball well, handles aggression and is a quality shooter at the rim and beyond while also fighting to the free throw line.
When you talk about players that can score at all three levels, Marshall is that person and that is something that will continue to make the Columbia City faithful happy in a pretty wide open Northeast 8 Conference this season. She is an always prepared player, who you can tell really lets the game come to her and it helps her constantly be in a successful position. Last season, Marshall averaged 9.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
COACH’S QUOTE ON BEKAH MARSHALL
“Multidimensional guard with great length. Can get to the rim and score, hit the mid range or hit the three. Understands the game very well and makes others around her better.” – Columbia City coach Amy Shearer
No. 33 Macy Pries, South Adams
A huge breakout player for South Adams last season, Pries gave the Starfires a third straight breakout freshman and helped level out this team as their leading scorer at 12.7 points per game. How quickly did we find out what Macy Pries was capable of on the varsity level? Try game one…and games two through five, where she scored in double figures every time; something she did in 16 of her 22 freshman year games. Pries scored 18 points in her first ever high school game and scored a season high 22 points on 11 of 14 shooting against North Side.
Pries ended up shooting 47 percent from the field last season, with seven outings shooting 60 percent or better. A 5-foot-7 combo wing, Pries can rebound the ball well and is feisty in battling on the boards; she averaged 4 rebounds per game last season and added 2.6 steals per game including seven each in wins over Leo and Southern Wells.
No. 32 Shabrea O’Quinn, Wayne
Wayne rises because O’Quinn fights and powers her way against some of the scrappiest posts players in the SAC; and that is no easy task. She is a fighter, plain and simple and that has been a significant catalyst in Wayne’s beginnings of a resurgence after years in the SAC and area cellar for girls basketball. Her rebounding went down (6.8 per game) as a sophomore but her scoring went up (11.9 points per game) as she saw more help around her overall. That doesn’t mean that O’Quinn was any less of a double double threat, something we will expect her to be again this season.
She only had two of those double doubles last season while flirting with many others. But when you look at 20 point and 13 rebound or 17 point and 16 rebound performances like she had against Northrop and Lakewood Park, you have to worry about just how forceful that O’Quinn gets. The 6-foot-1 center will come into her junior season as one of the most feared physical players in the SAC.
No. 31 Abby Sanner, Warsaw
Let’s talk about double double threats and Sanner has to be near the top of the list after a huge junior season. The Trine committed senior could be one of the toughest players in the area and if you haven’t taken notice of Warsaw yet on the fringe of the area, then this is the time if for no other reason than Sanner. She averaged team highs in scoring (9.8) and rebounding (8.5) last season as the Tigers became one of Northeast Indiana’s top teams. She was a titan against area teams like Snider and Columbia City in Warsaw wins.
At 6-foot-2, Sanner is one of the most multi-dimensional players in the area on the interior as she makes Warsaw tick on both ends of the floor. She only scored 20 points once last season, but was so consistent and successful, it didn’t really matter much. She had two double doubles on the year, but either scored or rebounded (or both) in double digits 14 times in 24 games. She did post double digit rebounds against two of the area’s best teams in Norwell and Homestead, not to mention five blocks against Wawasee and four against Goshen.
COACH’S QUOTE ON ABBY SANNER
“Abby has the combination of size and quickness that makes her difficult to defend. She has continued to work on her game and has become a much better back to the basket player. At the same time, she has been working on being able to step out onto the perimeter from time to time. From her freshman year until now, she has continued to learn how to play harder for longer periods of time. Abby is capable of putting up a double/double every single night and we will need her presence on both ends of the floor if we are going to be as successful as we are capable of being.” – Warsaw coach Lenny Krebs
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