A stellar 2022-2023 high school basketball season has come to a close and for the fifth time, it is time to name the Outside the Huddle Boys Basketball All-Area team.
These are the 16 top players, as seen by OTH, during the 2022-2023 season. They are listed alphabetically by grade.
Chase Bachelor, Prairie Heights, senior
Bachelor had a tremendous senior season as he rose to third in scoring in program history at Prairie Heights, ultimately leading the NECC in scoring at 21.6 points per game on his way to being NECC All-Conference and IBCA Senior All-State Honorable Mention. Bachelor added six rebounds and 1.7 steals per game and his scoring never dipped to single digits as he shot 54 percent. Bachelor will continue his playing career at Saint Francis.
Austin Cripe, West Noble, senior
Outside the Huddle’s Preseason top player did not disappoint as he helped the Chargers dominate the NECC on the way to a pair of titles in season that helped propel Cripe to be named IBCA Senior All-State Honorable Mention. Cripe averaged 20.1 points per game, adding 8.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and two steals per game, making him West Noble’s leader in each of those categories. Cripe will continue his playing career at Bethel.
Josh Furst, Blackhawk Christian, senior
Furst came to play his senior year and he has the numbers and moments to back it up as he helped Blackhawk Christian to a Class 2A state title and himself to an IBCA Senior Small School All-State honor. He led the stacked Braves squad at 18.4 points per game, often being an unparalleled force on the interior. Furst added 7.3 rebounds and nearly a block per game. He will continue his basketball career as a preferred walk on at Purdue.
Andrew Hedrick, Columbia City, senior
Hedrick ended up as the 4th all-time leading scorer at Columbia City while averaging 21.5 points per game as a senior. Hedrick added averages of 6.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists while producing a shooting split of 49/39/79. Hedrick was named IBCA Senior All-State Honorable Mention and will continue his playing career at Bethel.
Isaiah Malone, Prairie Heights, senior
Malone joined senior teammate Chase Bachelor in having the best of breakout seasons for a duo that was already well known. Malone averaged a double double of 19.6 points and 10.4 reobunds per contest, securing 13 actual double doubles and a triple double (30 points/16 rebounds/10 blocks) along the way. Malone’s defense was stellar as he averaged 4.6 blocks per contest on his way to IBCA Senior Small School All-State honors.
Luke McBride, Norwell, senior
Norwell’s new all-time leading scorer averaged 21.5 points per game as a senior to finish with 1,877 career points; also moving to second all-time in Wells County scoring. A standout moment for his final season was in a long-awaited win over Homestead where McBride broke the school scoring record and also hit the two-game winning free throws in the closing moments. McBride was named IBCA Senior Large School All-State and will continue his playing career at Bethel.
Luke Saylor, Heritage, senior
Becoming Heritage’s all-time leading scorer was just icing on the cake for Saylor and his stellar career with the Patriots. His 1,586 career points are a program best, as were his career three pointers made and steals (194) while he moved into the top 5 in ACAC scoring all-time as well. Saylor averaged team highs in points (18.4), rebounds (5.6) and steals (3.1) during his senior season.
Gage Sefton, Blackhawk Christian, senior
Sefton wrapped up his stellar career with his second state title as a Brave, also winning Sectional titles all four years with the program. He surpassed the 1,000 career point mark as a senior and averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting 41 percent from three-point range. He was named IBCA Senior Small School All-State. Sefton will continue his playing career at Grace.
Will Jamison, Homestead, junior
Jamison was both one of the biggest breakout and most valuable players in all of the area this season as a junior, leading to him being named IBCA Underclass All-State Honorable Mention. He took control for the Spartans, almost willing them to a Sectional title in one of the area’s most classic games this season. Jamison scored 18.3 points per game on 47 percent shooting, while also averaging 1.6 steals per contest.
Brauntae Johnson, North Side, junior
Surpassing 1,000 career points as a junior isn’t easy, but Johnson did just that as he lead the Legends to their long awaited Sectional title and being named IBCA Underclass Supreme 15 and an Indiana Junior All-Star. The two-sport star averaged 20.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.6 steals per contest. He put out one of Northeast Indiana’s best scoring games in years when he scored 47 against Northrop on January 13.
Jevon Lewis, Wayne, junior
Lewis soared as he helped lead Wayne to SAC, Sectional and Regional titles and put the Generals back on the Northeast Indiana map in a big way. As one of the top players in the SAC (and the OTH SAC Player of the Year), Lewis averaged 16.6 points, 6.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He had some of the most clutch moments in all of Northeast Indiana including a Sectional title winning buzzer beater, and he was named IBCA Underclass Large School All-State and an Indiana Junior All-Star.
Jackson McGee, Leo, junior
McGee earned IBCA Underclass All-State Honorable Mention as he led the Lions through a rebuilding season. McGee shot 41.4 percent from the field while averaging a team best 18.3 points per game to go along with 5.2 rebounds including 2.3 offensive rebounds per game. McGee was also named All-Northeast 8.
Isaac Schultz, Adams Central, junior
Schultz led the Flying Jets to their first ACAC Tournament title since 1976 while being named the tournament’s MVP in the process. He became one of the area’s best breakout players and was the OTH ACAC Player of the Year in the process as he imposed his will around the basket all season. Schultz was named IBCA Underclass Small School All-State while averaging 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest.
Ajani Washington, Concordia, junior
Ajani Washington consistently wow’d crowds as he led the Cadets as a SAC title contender throughout the season. Washington was eventually named IBCA Underclass All-State Honorable Mention after averaging team highs of 15 points, 4.8 rebounds 3.7 assists 1.8 steals and 0.9 blocks per contest, leading Concordia in every major statistical category.
Chase Barnes, Wayne, sophomore
As Wayne ran through collecting trophies in the SAC, Sectional and Regional, Barnes was a frontrunner as just a sophomore, enhancing his game significantly. The combo guard averaged 13.9 points and was one of the most smooth shot creators in the area. In the five games he surpassed 20 points scoring, his worst shooting percentage was 58 in the Sectional win over Homestead. He hit four or more three pointers three times where he was a combined 13-15 in those games.
Kellen Pickett, Blackhawk Christian, sophomore
A dual threat for the Class 2A state champions, Pickett was named IBCA Underclass Supreme 15, setting him up to be among the best in the Class of 2025 for a couple more seasons. Pickett averaged 13.9 points and team bests with 8 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game for Blackhawk Christian. The 6-foot-8 sophomore scored 19 points against Linton-Stockton in the state finals.