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. 15-11
No. 10 Hailee Kline, Blackhawk Christian
Kline has led what has become a golden age for Blackhawk Christian girls basketball. Perhaps in the shadow of the success of their boys program a bit, the girls side Blackhawk Christian has been top notch and championship level too. Kline has taken an active role from the beginning of her time in the program making it a success. Her unassuming nature alters significantly when tip off happens and Kline fights for every inch. Kline is always moving, keeping defenses on their toes. While she can, and often does score against almost any defender in a one on one situation, her movement without the ball opens up the Braves’ offense significantly. That allows her to help her team every second she is on the floor which is nearly every second each game.
Kline averaged 17.5 points and and five rebounds per game last season and again, it doesn’t get the attention or respect it deserves. The Braves were 19-7 and played a little bit of everybody along the way with no conference title to chase. Kline scores at all three levels fairly well.
COACH’S QUOTE ON HAILEE KLINE
“Hailee has been a vital part of our program’s success for the last three years. She brings so much more than just her ability to score. She works extremely hard, has a high basketball IQ and is able to make those around her better. She understands this is a team sport and will do whatever it takes for the team to be successful. Haliee has the desire to be the best she can be in everything she does. She has been a phenomenal role model for the younger girls in our program and we are so proud of the way she honors God in all she does.” – Blackhawk Christian coach Steph Gongaware
No. 9 Morgan Ostrowski, Garrett
We look at Ostrowski first and foremost as a tough interior presence. It is hard for any post in the area to outdo her strength and athleticism inside. She is not just a double double threat, she was just inches away from being a certified double double on average in 2020-21 while scoring 10.7 points and pulling down 9.5 rebounds per game while also adding in 2.2 blocks per contest. It is easy to see why Ostrowski is a feared post. She did have eight double-doubles on the season, where Garrett was 6-2 in those games. She had a season high 19 points in one of those double doubles against Eastside and a season best 15 rebounds against both Prairie Heights and Leo. Her interior presence helped her lead the NECC in both rebounds and blocks last season.
The blocks bring up a bigger point about Ostrowski’s development going into her fourth season as a varsity level player: she is one of the very best defenders in the area. Ostrowski has tremendous lateral movement and it does help her guard any player of any size or speed. Her length helps her cut off dribble drives and makes anyone work harder to try and shoot over her; she is a block threat whether at the rim or defending a jump shot. She had a program record seven blocks in a game against Concordia.
COACH’S QUOTE ON MORGAN OSTROWSKI
“One of the most athletic girls to ever play here. She has defended 1-5 in big games and we’ve won championships because of it. She is a great post presence for us that can also hit the trail three, dribble drive, and take a rebound 84 feet. Her ability to block shots is key to our perimeter pressure defense.” – Garrett coach Bob Lapadot
No. 8 Johnea Donahue, Snider
Baseline defenders beware, Donahue is going to score on you. It is just a fact. Donahue, aka Nae Nae, just picked up her first division I offer heading into her sophomore season and it is far from the last. On offense, Donahue has been an absolute beast working from the corners and getting to the rim to score through contact from the baseline. It is safe to say that nobody in this area is as efficient or effective from that spot as she is. What makes her so strong is that she will attack with zero care of the contact that comes her way, she plays hard and doesn’t mind the physicality that comes with scoring at the rim as a guard. It helped her get to the free throw line 125 times last season where she hit 42 percent of her shots; Donahue also shoots 56 percent from inside the arc and averaged 13.8 points per game.
While that aspect of her game is phenomenal, Donahue is far from one dimensional. She doesn’t shoot many three pointers, but it is something social media has taught us she is working on consistently. What she can do is defend at a very high level, averaging 3.3 steals per contest. She has a knack for reading defenders and if you don’t protect the ball within a ten foot radius of Donahue, there is a high likelihood she is going to take it away.
COACH’S QUOTE ON JOHNEA DONAHUE
“Johnea brings consistent energy and effort to this team and I can not wait to see her defensive energy and intensity spread through the team with her leadership this season! She is hungry for success and brings that hunger by pressuring the ball and running the floor offensively. We are excited!” – Snider coach Akilah Sims
No. 7 Taylor Fordyce, Carroll
Fordyce went from unranked in last year’s Top 50 to an All-Area player by simply putting in work as a player who could thrive in Carroll’s constantly moving schemes. There isn’t a dull moment from Fordyce if you pinpoint and follow just her. She moves well without the ball on offense, sets hard screens that allow her to roll or pop and find her shot. Fordyce’s averages aren’t going to wow you per say but that is not the system for Carroll. Instead, she consistently hits you with jabs that eventually knock an opponent off their footing. Fordyce’s ability to just fit into the flow of the game has always been impressive. She averaged a team second best 10.5 points per game last season while also having four rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.
Carroll thrives by finding individual players and molding them into its system while not taking away their unique individual attributes and Fordyce is a great example of that. She natural at handling her composure and it has lent itself to becoming a combo guard who can do whatever is asked on both ends of the floor. Fordyce is a quality shooter and while Carroll didn’t, in the past, need her to do it all of the time, she has a knack for picking her spots. She shot 46 percent from the field last season.
COACH’S QUOTE ON TAYLOR FORDYCE
“Taylor is a solid player on the defensive and offensive end. She is a consistent shooter and very effective on driving to the basket.” – Carroll coach Mark Redding
No. 6 Jordyn Poole, Snider
The excitement about Poole has been something special from the time she was in middle school. Let’s just say she didn’t disappoint as one of the best players in the SAC as a freshman. Poole is so quick that no matter what she is doing on the floor, she is nearly impossible to deal with. Her first step can knock even the highest quality defenders out of their shoes and it makes for a much smoother offensive game as she can either leave a defender behind or create so much space that she may as well be shooting uncontested often. The first five games of her high school career were double digit scoring performances, something she did 12 times in 17 games. She scored a season high 28 points on 53 percent shooting in the monumental regular season win over Homestead.
Poole already has loads of Division I offers and is one of the most talented guards we have seen in Fort Wayne in years. She certainly falls into that “small but mighty” category and may even lead it because she plays much stronger than she may look to someone who doesn’t know about her. Yes, she is an excellent shooter, hitting five triples against Huntington North, six against Homestead and going 8-of 14 from deep against Northrop. But, she is scrappy in every aspect of the game as she can take the ball, pass the ball and is an underrated rebounder because she just flat out wants to get the ball at all costs.
COACH’S QUOTE ON JORDYN POOLE
“I am expecting great things from Jordyn this year. She has now had a full year of high school basketball under her built and has matured on and off the court! She is taking on her leadership role already and understands the importance of her voice for our team’s success this season!” – Snider coach Akilah Sims
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