Around the holidays is a good time to look at the girls basketball season. We used to use the SAC Holiday Tournament as a midseason measuring stick, but with it gone we now just have to look at late December as a time to break up the season.
The girls have a lot of basketball left to play, but they have also gotten a lot of games in. The area boasts some of the top teams in every class with Homestead (4A), Garrett (3A) and Fairfield (2A) all currently considered top 5 teams in their respective classes.
But before we shift focus to 2022 and a run at the postseason, lets look at where things stand right now with Bounce’s midseason “awards” for lack of a better term.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER – MORGAN OSTROWSKI, GARRETT
If you see a Garrett game, there is no way to question Ostrowski’s value to this team. Is she the best player in the area? Well, we always dissect that at the end of the year. Here we are talking pure value to her team. Ostrowski has proven countless times this season that she can guard spots 1-5 on the floor, handle defending the post as well as locking down the opposing team’s best player on the perimeter. Ostrowski can score and rebound as well as any ‘true’ post in the area, but her defensive prowess, awareness and effectiveness has put her on another level. Garrett is good and they win no matter what, but do they win as well without her? Nah. Morgan Ostrowski is, right now, the most valuable player in the area to her team.
BEST OF 2022 – AYANNA PATTERSON, HOMESTEAD
C’mon, would you think it is anyone different? Patterson is playing the best basketball of her career right now and got to put up yet another 20-plus point game on Tuesday of this week in front of her future coach. Yes, UConn’s Geno Auriemma was in the house Monday at Homestead to see Patterson play and of course she didn’t let down. Patterson has taken her skill level and her aggression to a new level as a senior has propelled Homestead back into the state’s collective mind as one of the best. We are getting close to that in game dunk, but even if it never comes, we know that Patterson is basically unguardable in Northeast Indiana.
BEST OF 2023 – RENNA SCHWIETERMAN, JAY COUNTY
A loaded class sees Schwieterman get the nod in part due to her consistency. Jay County plows through the ACAC but have plowed through almost everyone else with her at the helm scoring the ball and often rebounding too. Her first half of the season has her averaging 17.5 points per game along with six rebounds. She has been consistent with five games of 20 or more points and double digit scoring in 9 of her first 11 games. Her 22/14 double double to start the season against South Side was a nice highlight.
BEST OF 2024 – DESTINI CRAIG, SNIDER
As teams wanted to zero in on fellow Class of 2024 players Jordyn Poole and Johnea Donahue, Craig has feasted. Her 15.8 points per game is among the best of post players in the area. How many players have we ever seen have a game against Carmel like Craig had when she posted 31 points, 8 steals and 15 rebounds? That game alone should show you just how huge that Craig’s play has been. It has helped elevate Snider to having one of the best resumes in the northern half of the state.
BEST OF 2025 – ADDISON BAXTER, COLUMBIA CITY
This was kind of hard because there are a lot of impact freshmen already making waves with a move straight from middle school to varsity basketball. But Baxter has been the leader in that clubhouse as one of the most needed pieces for Columbia City as they remain unbeaten. Baxter is a hawk defensively and she has caused problems for every single player that she has been matched up against. Her scoring is efficient and she proved in the absence of Kyndra Sheets in some games that she can absolutely carry the lead for the Eagles.
BREAKOUT PLAYERS – MOLLY BAKER AND ADDISON BAXTER, COLUMBIA CITY
This week even as Columbia City moved on to 13-0, these two shined. Normally, I’d love to just name one name here but how can you with the way that each of them has contributed in huge ways to this historic opening half for the Eagles. They have both been able to really find ways to effect the game when they aren’t scoring and make no mistake they can both score at a high rate.
Just this week in a win over Concordia, while Baker was held out of double digit scoring, she led the Eagles with nine rebounds. Baxter, in that same game, had 12 points but was possibly more effective with four assists and five steals. We knew the Eagles were going to be good with Kyndra Sheets leading the way. Well, they are better than just good and a big part of that has to do with Baxter and Baker’s breakouts.
MOST LIKELY STATE CONTENDER – FAIRFIELD
This, I’m sure, will surprise some. But if we look at the classes above this we see that 4A is a juggernaut again and in Class 3A, our really good area teams will have to cannibalize each other and deal with the power of South Bend Washington. Right now, Fairfield is ranked 3rd in Class 2A and while those ranked above them from Winchester and South Central would both be opponents on the way to state, if Fairfield can get through their Regional, they will be on a big roll. People forget that the Falcons were just a stones throw from a state time game a few years ago so coach Brodie Garber is no stranger to big games and late runs. Can the Falcons do that this year? I’m not really sure but if they win their Regional, I like their chances to get to Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
GAME OF THE HALF YEAR – HUNTINGTON NORTH AT SNIDER
Is this tops because I was there to watch it? Maybe. But it was an excellent clash of styles that saw Snider speed it up and Huntington North match. And then the Vikings slowed it down and Snider matched. It was a seesaw battle that showed both teams have the capability of playing outside of expectations from those outside their programs. Taylor Double had herself a night, still arguably her best game of her season and ended this chess match with a buzzer beater. I don’t know how games can get much better.
PLAYER TO WATCH – KENNEDY FUELLING, NORWELL
Norwell having losses, including two recent back to back, makes some forget about them. But you shouldn’t. Why? Because the Knights are still state ranked and among the top threats in the north half of the state in Class 3A. Will it mean a postseason run? Time will tell, but Kennedy Fuelling has been leading the charge. She came onto the varsity scene last year fully capable of handling herself as a freshman. She had to play behind a really great senior class though. Now, she has had zero issue breaking out on her own and leading the charge. She has shown enough proficiency to know Norwell isn’t going anywhere soon. Watch her in the second half, she will shine.
BIGGEST GAME TO LOOK FORWARD TO – HOMESTEAD VS. COLUMBIA CITY, SECTIONALS
It is not even a game that is actually scheduled. But can you imagine the postseason clash that could lay ahead? The two could and likely will clash at Wayne come Sectional time. With Homestead as the best team in the area and the Eagles right there behind (or next to) them, this one could be wild. And it is the second half game or potential game that I am looking most forward to.
Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Bounce on Twitter at Bounce_OTH
You are forgetting about Rebekah Marshall at Columbia City. She is the glue that keeps their team together. Consistent.