We have reached the top 5 in our countdown of Outside the Huddle’s Top 50 girls basketball players. This is No. 1 in our annual preseason crowning of the top 5 players in northeast Indiana that we call the ‘First Five;’ our highest individual preseason honor.
The ‘First Five’ was started in 2018, following in the 35-plus year tradition of naming the top five area basketball players, started by a now defunct prep sports department in Fort Wayne. It is our honor to pick up and carry on that tradition with the ‘First Five,’ including our fourth group of honorees coming this season at the top of our Top 50 countdown.
No. 1 Ayanna Patterson, Homestead
What can you say about Ayanna Patterson that hasn’t already been said in the past three years and beyond? She is a heavy hitter and one of the best players in the Class of 2022 in the entire country. Patterson is considered the 4th best player in the class by ESPNW, where the next top player in Indiana comes in at #47. This makes Patterson, ahead of her senior year, the heavy favorite to be Homestead’s second Miss Basketball in the last decade and also a potential McDonald’s All-American. That is heavy praise but something that Patterson has earned both at Homestead and during the summer. This past summer, Patterson played with Team USA and helped win the 3×3 U18 World Cup, further extending her skillset and garnering even more attention for what she can do. It also helps that it goes viral basically anytime she is filmed dunking a basketball.
On January 28 of last season, Patterson smashed on the few records still in her way when she scored 43 points in a win over South Side. That passed former Homestead Miss Basketball Karissa McLaughlin for the program’s single game scoring record. She went on to announce her commitment to play at UConn at the end of her junior year. Patterson averaged 21.8 points per game in just under 29 minutes per contest during the 2020-21 season while leading the Spartans to a Sectional title. She also put up 11 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game along the way. You don’t have to have a full scouting report on Patterson, she just does special things and as her intensity has ramped up during the past year, she has become even more of a major threat that teams will have to throw everything but the kitchen sink at defensively.
Patterson is a three time ‘First Five’ honoree and has topped the OTH Preseason Top 50 each of the last three preseasons as the #1 ranked player in the area.
COACH’S QUOTE ON AYANNA PATTERSON
“Ayanna is one of the elite players in the state and country. Her game continues to grow in all facets and she will provide the leadership needed for our team to reach our potential. Ayanna’s presence will continue to dominate on both ends of the court. A prolific scorer who has continued to expand her game on the perimeter.” – Homestead coach Rod Parker
PREVIOUSLY IN THE COUNTDOWN