Region Roundball Review
January, 2004
News & Updates
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Important JANUARY Deadlines/Events:

1/1-1/31   NCAA Evaluation period continues
1/28   IHSAA Tournament roster entry deadline
1/28   Deadline for ICGSA Academic All-State nominations

Other Upcoming Deadlines/Events:

2/1   IHSAA Tournament draw (live on WJOB radio)
2/10,13, 14   IHSAA Sectionals
2/16   Deadline for ICGSA Junior All-Star nominations
2/21   IHSAA Regionals
2/28   IHSAA Semi-State




Friday, January 30


IUPUI sophomore Brooke McAfee (left) of Valparaiso made school history last weekend when she recorded a whopping 12 blocks in a 67-62 overtime win against Oral Roberts. The 6'2 McAfee established a new Mid-Continent Conference record with the defensive showing and broke her own school record of blocks in a single game (previously 9) and blocks for a season. The 12 blocks brought her season total up to 78, beating her own IUPUI season record of 75 blocks last season. The 12 blocks are also the fourth best individual game total in NCAA Division I history. Currently, McAfee ranks second in the nation in blocked shots per game at 4.3. More: 
IUPUI's McAfee sets school, Mid-Con blocked shots record - IUPUI website

As suspected, Wheeler long-distance sharpshooter Ali Roper (right) is out for the season with a torn ACL. The junior, who was averaging 12.2 points per game this season, will be missed by the Bearcats, who are 16-3 on the season and have basically clinched the LAC Blue Division title in their first year in the league. The absence of Roper, who also shot an impressive .500 from the field and .303 from 3-point (30 treys), will demand more from first year coach Tim Power's balanced arsenal if they plan to go deep into the 2A tournament. Bearcat sisters Alyse Bruszewski (10.8 ppg) and Becca Bruszewski (15.7 ppg) will be relied upon even more to pick up the slack. Senior Maggie Schultz, who came up big with 10 points against rival Boone Grove, will also need to expand her role. Wheeler is one of the most accurate shooting teams in the area with four remaining players on the roster shooting .500 or better from the field. It will be the job of 5'3 senior floor general Danielle Geer (2.4 apg) to get those players the open looks. Wheeler has yet to be tested without Roper in the lineup. Easy wins over LAC opponents Lake Station (56-15) and Whiting (56-26) were not challenging warm-ups for what could be a hotly-contested 2A sectional that includes scrappy nemesis Boone Grove.

Speaking of Becca Bruszewski (left), is there a better freshman in Northwest Indiana? Wheeler's athletic and heady 6'1 all-purpose wing has been racking up some impressive first year numbers. Averaging 15.2 points (.500) and 7.4 rebounds per game, Bruszewski can also knock it down from the perimeter, having hit 18 of 50 attempts for .360 from the arc. The frosh probably had her best outing against Whiting, when she poured in 30 points to leader her team in the 56-26 win. She will be a force to be reckoned with in the LAC for the next three seasons.

It is interesting to note that four of the top ten defensive teams in the state are in the Region, according to the statistics at Jim Harrell's Indiana Basketball. Valparaiso leads the defensive charge by limiting opponents to 30.22 points per game this season. They are followed by Merrillville at 32.89 points. Griffith logs in at No. 7 with 35.17 points per opponent and Wheeler is at No. 9 with 35.58 points. Only one team in NWI appears in the top ten for offensive output. Gary West Side ranks 10th at 64.72 points per game.

According to the Kentucky website, former Jennings County standout Jenny Pfeiffer has been sidelined for three to six weeks with mononucleosis. A second-year starter for the Wildcats, Pfeiffer has been averaging 10.5 points per game in 29.7 minutes per game of SEC play. KY head coach Mickie DeMoss could have used Pfeiffer's spark last night in a 81-72 loss to former boss Pat Summit of No. 1 Tennessee. The Lady Vols were ahead by only five points with two minutes left when Shanna Zolman (Wawasee) buried a 3-pointer that essentially kept the Wildcats at bay. Zolman (23 pts) and teammate Shyra Ely of Ben Davis (22 pts) led Tennessee in the winning effort. More:  
Zolman shines in victory over Kentucky - Knox News
Zolman's 23 leads Vols over Kentucky - SB Tribune

Murray State freshman Ashley Hayes (right) of Kokomo had her first career double-double earlier this week, a 13-point 12-rebound effort in a victory at Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee State. The 5'8 guard had the game-tying basket to send the game into overtime, then scored five of the team's 15 points in the extra period.

We've added several listings to our prospects pages. Freshmen Megan King of Ft. Wayne Canterbury and Corie West of New Castle have been added to our new 2007 Prospects listings. Sunny Johns of Michigan City Marquette has been added to our 2005 Prospects listings.

Statistical leaders for NWI through January 29, as reported by The Times, are as follows:


23.9 - Sharon Houston, Lew Wallace
22.2 - Shanee Butler, Horace Mann
16.9 - Cassie Pruzin, Crown Point
Field Goal Percentage (50+ atts)
.628 - Stephanie Boyle, Chesterton
.621 - Tara Williamson, North Newton
.578 - Julie DeMuth, Merrillville
13.6 - Marian Smith, Hammond
12.7 - Sharon Houston, Lew Wallace
12.1 - LaTysha Sanders, Gavit
6.1 - Dee Dee Jernigan, East Chicago
5.9 - Cassie Pruzin, Crown Point
5.3 - Kenya Randall, Horace Mann
5.3 - Mallory Gorski, South Central
6.5 - Belinda Drake, Gary West Side
6.2 - Karissa Walter, Boone Grove
5.3 - Satrina Canaday, Lew Wallace
5.4 - Sharon Houston, Lew Wallace
3.0 - Antoinette Scott, Horace Mann
2.6 - LaTysha Sanders, Gavit

Girls basketball notes & features:
Hanover's humble squad - Post-Tribune
Indiana drill, part 1 - The Times
Girls Basketball NWI Top 10 - The Times
'The Renegade' NW Indiana High School Girls Poll -

Athlete of the Week Katy Stephenson of Madison-Grant - Chronicle-Tribune
Saying goodbye to a special Shelbyville senior class - Shelbyville News

Tarrh and Haehl are closing in on career records for points - Shelbyville News

Danville has lots of reasons for winning - Indianapolis Star
Center Grove defensive ace provides spark - Indianapolis Star
Clay's Gallant Athlete of the Week - South Bend Tribune
Dwenger's Sorg sharing the lead and load - FW News Sentinel
Northrop head coach blocking out the ties - FW News Sentinel
Ft. Wayne power polls - FW News Sentinel
Ex-star Brauman makes time to help home team - Indy Star
Insight is hidden among the letters - Indy Star
Girls basketball buzz - Shelbyville News
Garrett sister trains Railroaders star - Journal Gazette
Adding a new twist for Blackford - News-Times
Area Girls' Basketball Leaders - Marion Chronicle-Tribune

Third time a charm for Frankton - Herald Bulletin
Don't look now, but it's time for sectionals - Corydon Democrat
Charlestown junior becoming complete - Courier-Journal

Articles of interest:
Sharika Webb's got answers - Purdue website

Chasidy Myers not the only athlete in the family - Central Michigan website
BSU falls behind early in loss - Ball State Daily News
Berry bounces back for Indiana Wesleyan - Chronicle-Tribune
Quincy's Jenny Wisser's season in peril after leg injury - Chronicle-Tribune
Irish stun Hurricanes on the road - South Bend Tribune
Hall of Fame honors Burton on Silver Anniversary squad - Times Mail
Ball State to face Chippewas at home - Ball State Daily News
ISU women ravaged by SMS Bears 73-47 - Tribune Star
Effort yes, but win no (v. Purdue) - Wisconsin State Journal
Bruised Purdue squad approaching bye week - Gold & Black



Tuesday, January 27

Former Pike standout Nina Stone (right) laid down the smack on No. 3 Texas Tech over the weekend, tallying 30 points and 7 assists in a triple-overtime upset win for unranked Oklahoma State. The 5'7 junior guard, who was a Kodak All-American at Wabash Valley Junior College last season, is averaging 11.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game as a starter for the Cowgirls. This win was especially gratifying for OSU, as Texas Tech punished them in a 106-43 loss just two weeks ago. (AP photo) More:
Lady Raiders fall in double OT - Yahoo! Sports

And then there were two. After previously undefeated 2A No. 2 North Knox fell to unranked Vincennes last Thursday, just Ben Davis and South Bend Washington remain undefeated in regular season play. The Giants managed two quality wins over tough competitors Avon and Center Grove last week, but 3A No. 1 Brebeuf looms at the end of the schedule on January 4. No. 7 Washington looks like the favorite to run the table with no real threat remaining on the regular season schedule.

Pairings for the 29th Annual Girls Basketball Tournament Series will be conducted in a blind draw on Sunday, February 1, at 12:00 noon (EST) at Galyanís in Castleton Square in Indianapolis.  The public is invited. The draw will be broadcast live over WIBC Radio (1070), Indianapolis, and on the following IHSAA Radio Network stations:


WAMW - Washington
WAWC - Syracuse
WBIW - Bedford
WCBK - Martinsville
WJOB - Hammond
WRSW - Warsaw

Upon completion, at 1:30 p.m., the entire draw will be placed on the IHSAA website under Girls Basketball. The tournament roster deadline is tomorrow.

The much anticipated game tonight between nationally-ranked Candace Parker's Naperville Central team and South Bend St. Joseph's has been postponed due to the weather. The game has been rescheduled for February 2 at St. Joe's, the time of which is yet to be announced.

The 1A No. 5 Tri-Central girls basketball team has won it's second straight Hoosier Hills Conference championship. That might not seem like a big accomplishment for last season's 1A state champions, but before last season, the Trojans had never won a championship in 32 years with the Hoosier Hills. Head coach Kathie Layden is in the midst of her fifth year with the TC program, and has it heading in the absolute right direction. With a growing interest at the feeder level, good things seem to be in store for Tri-Central in the future. The Lady Trojans clinched the conference top spot with a 64-37 win over Carroll (Flora) on Saturday. Sophomore point guard Meranda Burnett (left) had 27 points (7 treys) and 9 assists and senior center Kristen Miller had 20 points and 9 rebounds in the deciding victory. (Photo courtesy of

Clarksville senior and Butler recruit Candace Bain reached 1,400 career points and set a Clarksville career scoring record last Thursday night in a win over New Washington. Bain had 14 points in the 60-36 win to take her over the previous career mark of 1,395 points held by Tammy Logsdon. More:
Bain eclipses record as Clarksville rolls - New Albany Evening News

Coaches and players, mark your schedules. At its monthly meeting in January, the IHSAA Executive Committee approved the organizationís involvement as a co-sponsor of the IHSAA/IBCA/ICGSA Basketball Showcases, as well as the Hoosier Basketball Magazineís Top 40 Workout, conducted in conjunction with the IHSAA and IBCA. The IHSAA/IBCA/ICGSA Basketball Showcase for girls is slated for Saturday, July 24, 2004, at Ben Davis High School. The Top 40 Workout for Senior girls will take place on Sunday, March 14, 2004 at Ben Davis High School. The Showcases will feature the top 100 underclass girls from member schools as selected by members of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association and the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association. The Top 40 Workouts will display the top 50 senior girls as selected by Hoosier Basketball Magazine, with consultation from IBCA representatives.

Three Indiana players have been nominated for consideration for the WBCA All-Star Game later this year at Tulane University in New Orleans. Seniors Janese Banks (left) of Ben Davis, Christina Cunningham of Perry Meridian and Adrienne Squire of Indian Creek were all nominees. You can view the complete list of nominees from all over the nation at the WBCA website. (Photo from Flyer Group)

We have added Carroll (Ft. Wayne) forward Kelley Meiklejohn to our 2005 Prospects listings. Also, since we are mid-way through the season, we have added listings for 2007 Prospects. If you have a player you would like listed, please send her information to us at

According to the Indianapolis Star, the high school basketball career of Lawrence North standout Robyn Stone has ended due to academic ineligibility.  Stone, who missed critical classroom time due to a school suspension for a criminal charge that was subsequently dismissed, played in eight games since late December before she became ineligible. It is expected that Stone will continue her basketball career at a prep school or junior college.

High school girls basketball notes & features:
The great debate - Post-Tribune
Highland emerges in successful run - Post-Tribune
Moore depth on the bench for East Chicago - The Times
NWI Girls Basketball Top Ten - The Times
Teams tune up for tournament - Indianapolis Star

Lancers regain respectability - Indy Star
At long last, Quakers find their way home - Indy Star
Cloverdale looks to finish about .500 - Banner Graphic
Sticking with game helped Connie Garrett achieve honor - Chronicle-Tribune
Girls basketball buzz - Shelbyville News
Junior does it all for Cathedral Irish - Indy Star
Starless Lawrence North team wins - Indy Star
Woodlan's Bradtmueller on the rebound - Ft. Wayne News Sentinel
Saluting a Valley girl (Tippy Valley) - SB Tribune
Brownstown Braves have work cut out - Courier-Journal
Wisser primes Marion for postseason - Chronicle-Tribune

Other articles of interest:
VU's Gutowski on a hot streak - Post-Tribune
VU serves half and half - The Times
Purdue Cal senior leads Lakers - The Times
Veteran player a reliable cog for Franklin - Indy Star
Former Rebel Moran at home of U of I - Reporter-Times

Third place Cards to face Toledo - Ball State Daily News
BSU's Roller wins No. 55 - Ball State Daily News
Big weekend, big games for BSU - Ball State Daily News
Reiter a double-double threat - South Bend Tribune
Cards aim to continue streak - Ball State Daily News
Terre Haute Southern connection at ISU - Tribune Star
Taylor comeback cut short against Indiana Wesleyan - Chronicle Tribune
Improvement shows for Irish - South Bend Tribune
Lindsay Secrest posting big numbers for Northern Illinois - Daily Citizen
Seymour's silver star - TribTown
Ancilla gets another conference W - Pilot News
Defiance dominates Anderson women - Herald Bulletin
Dad, sons call' em like they see 'em - Indy Star
Women's basketball needs more time on TV - Knox News



Wednesday, January 21


In a week full of surprises, Indiana girls basketball receives one more with the very early commitment of South Bend St. Joseph's sophomore Melissa Lechlitner (right) to Notre Dame. The 5'7 point guard, who has always dreamed of playing for the Division I program across the street from her high school, gave her commitment to head coach Muffet McGraw Monday evening. McGraw has had her eye on Lechlitner for several years and unlike some Hoosier players in the past, this one was not going to get away from the top level coach. "Lech", as she's called by her teammates and coaches, narrowed her choices to the Irish and Purdue, while drawing fairly serious interest from Maryland and Minnesota. Wanting to stay in Indiana, the Irish was the perfect fit for Lechlitner and her family, who plan on attending many of her games. Notre Dame's impeccable academic reputation was icing on the cake, as the sophomore is an outstanding student and looks forward to hanging a Notre Dame diploma on her wall. This commitment is especially gratifying for St. Joe's head coach Mike Megyese, who is long time Irish fan and has known Muffet McGraw for many years. More:

Lechlitner Notre Dame bound - South Bend Tribune

The Melissa Lechlitner file
Current Stats:
15.4 ppg, 6.0 apg, 4.0 spg, 4.4 rpg
.410 fgp, .860 ftp
Team leader in scoring, assists & steals
Team leader in free-throws attempted, made & percentage (.860)
2003-04 1st team All-state selection by Hoosier Basketball Magazine
2003-04 Warsaw Holiday Tournament All-Tournament Team
2002-03 State Finals All-Tournament Team - Courier Journal
2002-03 South Bend Tribune All-Metro team

4A No. 5 Bloomington North fell to unranked Mooresville last night 60-54. The Pioneers, who began the preseason ranked No. 3 in 4A, has quietly been going about compiling at 13-4 record after being dropped from the 4A poll in mid-December. With their only losses coming from North Central (52-57), Martinsville (55-59), Zionsville (50-58) and Warsaw (51-63), the Pioneers could run the remainder of their schedule undefeated, although a tough Avon squad might have other ideas. Leading the way for Mooresville, who is on top of the Mid-State Conference with a 3-0 record, are seniors Rachel Kenney (17.0 ppg, 2.1 bpg) and Sarah Harper (12.5 ppg). These two combined for 33 points and 16 rebounds in last night's upset of the BN Cougars.

According to the Rochester Sentinel, Tippecanoe Valley standout Rebekah Parker is being evaluated for a knee injury in Indianapolis today. The Evansville signee was sorely missed in last night's 63-49 loss to Rochester in the highly-anticipated Three Rivers Conference matchup, which most likely determined the TRC champion. Rochester, who could claim their seventh straight TRC championship if they run the conference table, lost to Valley earlier this season in the South Bend Riley Shootout consolation round. Rochester All-Star candidate Courtney Felke, who has also signed with Evansville, averages 21.0 points per game for the Zebras.




Tuesday, January 20


Dee Dee Jernigan (right) attracted the attention of one of the country's elite coaches when the talented sophomore had one of her best games in the Chicagoland Classic on Monday. Tennessee head coach Pat Summit was at the event to watch her top recruit, Candace Parker of Naperville, in an evening game. But arriving at the half of the East Chicago game, Summit got an eyeful of one of the most talented players to come out of the Region in some time. Jernigan, in a 26-point victory over Fremd, scored a game-high 23 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists. According to The Times, Summit had a head-to-head with EC coach Ron Edmonds after the game to discuss the abilities of his athletic and acrobatic sophomore. Photo from the Post-Tribune.

Almost everyone who has been involved with girls basketball knows of at least one player who is dealing with an eating disorder. In a brave move, Ft. Wayne Bishop Dwenger guard Abbie Kleber has shared her viewpoints about the disorder she is battling in the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette. Although she is at a healthy weight today after going through a program which uses an unorthodox approach, Kleber still struggles at times with the disease. At one point in her illness, she weighed just 68 pounds. But she knows if she doesn't deal with her disease, she can't play the sport she loves, so she focuses on how far she has come to keep her mindset positive.

Indian Creek senior Adrienne Squire continues to lead the state in scoring at 29.8 points per game through January 17, according to the IHSAA website. Warsaw senior Jaclyn Leininger leads the state in total scoring so far this season at 508 points, breaking her personal season best of 491 points last season. Also, Amie Joyal of Cannelton leads the state in rebounding at 14.1 per game. Top ten leading scorers in the state are as follows:










Adrienne Squire

Indian Creek







Allison Hughes

North Vermillion







Megan King

FW Canterbury







Jaclyn Leininger








Janese Banks

Ben Davis







Whitney Frame

Randolph So.







Ashley Cazee








Kylee Wood

So. Vermillion







Tara Dice








Tara Miller

North Harrison








Statistical leaders for NWI through January 15, as reported by The Times, are as follows:


23.9 - Sharon Houston, Lew Wallace
16.9 - Karissa Walter, Boone Grove
16.4 - Leslie Rowan, Rensselaer
Field Goal Percentage (30+ atts)
.621 - Stephanie Boyle, Chesterton
.612 - Brittany Ursery, Merrillville
.606 - Karissa Walter, Boone Grove
13.6 - Marian Smith, Hammond
12.7 - Sharon Houston, Lew Wallace
12.0 - LaTysha Sanders, Gavit
6.1 - Dee Dee Jernigan, East Chicago
5.9 - Cassie Pruzin, Crown Point
5.3 - Mallory Gorski, South Central
6.5 - Belinda Drake, Gary West Side
6.1 - Karissa Walter, Boone Grove
5.3 - Satrina Canaday, Lew Wallace
5.4 - Sharon Houston, Lew Wallace
2.6 - LaTysha Sanders, Gavit
2.4 - Cena Nasiloski, Hammond


Coaches, the deadline is quickly approaching for the ICGSA Academic All-State nominations. If you have not yet submitted your players' nominations, you can get the nomination form on the ICGSA website. Deadline for submission is midnight on Wednesday, January 28.

Former North Central point guard Omega Harrington (left) has transferred from Duquesne to Cleveland State, according to the CSU website. She will be eligible to play for head coach Kate Peterson after the completion of the 2004 fall semester and have two and one-half years of eligibility remaining.

According to the Johnson County Daily Journal, Franklin head coach Walt Raines recently logged his 200th career victory. The 16-year Cubs coach when asked, deflected credit for the success of his program to anyone but himself. Raines credits a strong talent pool, experienced assistant coaches, community backing and basketball resources for the long-time success of his program. Raines' co-workers and players credit the hard-working Franklin College alum for his approach to the game and caring for young people.

Indiana Wesleyan University head coach Steve Brooks picked up his 100th win at IWU in just his fifth season. The Lady Wildcats are coming off back-to-back 29-8 seasons and this year are currently 19-3 and ranked #12 in NAIA Division II.

With a 75-52 victory against IUPUI Monday evening, Valparaiso University head coach Keith Freeman became the Mid-Continent Conference coach with the league's all-time leader in wins. Freeman picked up his 164th win as the Crusader's coach. More:
Freeman gets milestone victory - The Times

According to The Times, three former local players are being honored as members of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Women's Silver Anniversary Team. LaTaunya Pollard (East Chicago), Normela Upshaw (East Chicago) and Debbie Benak (Bishop Noll) will be recognized at a dinner on April 24 in Indianapolis. Others being recognized as part of the anniversary team are:
Susan Baas, Southport
JoAnn Brouillette, Benton Central
Tracey Sargent Burton, Bedford North Lawrence
Barbara Graves, Madison Heights
Kim Land, North Central
Debra McClurg, Wes Del
Barbara Skinner, Mt. Vernon (Fortville)
Cynthia Ocker, Blue River Valley
Jane Emkes Schlesinger, Seymour
Melinda Sparkman, Scottsburg
Karen Bauer Stenftenagel, Jasper
Susie Thrapp, East Noble
Lisha Robertson Wilson, Center Grove
Hall of Fame honoree thankful for chance - Indianapolis Star
Pollard heads women's Silver Anniversary squad - Courier-Journal
Four with ECI ties on women's silver team - Star Press
Barbara Graves named to IHSAA anniversary team - Tribune Star

Girls basketball notes & features:

Wolves wrap up second straight PCC title - The Times
Record improves as Shamrocks try ignoring it - Indianapolis Star
Experience transfers well for HSE's Beth Marshall - Indianapolis Star
Rebuilding schedule on track in Lebanon - Indianapolis Star
Brownsburg girls enjoy health, wins - Indianapolis Star
Desire a common bond shared by statistical leaders - Journal & Courier
Underclassmen play pivotal role in West Lafayette's success - Journal & Courier
Plenty of credit to go around for South Spencer - Courier & Press
Charlestown Lady Pirates overcoming adversity - Courier-Journal
With girls' sectionals rolling around, teams have to-do lists - Jeffersonville Evening News

Season or Game Previews:
New Prairie the team to be in 39th Bi-County Tournament - Herald-Argus
Battle for the NIC: Panthers vs. Riley - South Bend Tribune

This week in Plymouth area girls basketball - Pilot News

Articles of interest:
ISU defense dominates Evansville - Tribune Star
MVC honors ISU guard Melanie Boeglin - Tribune Star
Roller ties mark; Cards plow over Akron 81-62 - Ball State Daily News




Monday, January 19


Bloomington North standout point guard Kiley Jarrett (left) gave her early verbal commitment to Ball State head coach Tracy Roller on Saturday. The 5'3 junior, who is averaging 15.2 points, 4.4 assists and 3.3 steals per game this season, chose the Cardinals over other programs showing interest, including Akron, Dayton, Evansville, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Valparaiso and Indianapolis. Jarrett, who was All-Conference Indiana last season as a sophomore, has helped her team and head coach Steve Goddard to a No. 5 ranking in 4A with a 12-2 record overall and 6-0 record in Conference Indiana. Says Goddard about his sparkplug point guard, "I think this is a big load off of Kiley. She has loved Ball State and the coaching staff since her first visit. They have made it very clear they want her to be their point guard of the future so I think everyone is happy. They're getting a great player and an even better person." Jarrett becomes the fifth player from the Hoosier Class of 2005 to commit early.

The Chicagoland Classic has not been a friendly environment for Hoosier teams this season. So far Indiana representatives are 4-2 in the annual event, and two more games are scheduled for today. Heritage Christian will take on Fenwick at 2:30 p.m. and East Chicago Central will face Fremd at 5:30 p.m. Last season, Indiana came out ahead 4-2 in the series. Over the weekend Kokomo fell twice in close 2-point games to Fenwick and Niles North, while 4A No. 1 Hamilton Southeastern suffered a 22-point loss to Wilmette Loyola. Warsaw came away 1-1 with a 2-point loss to Neuqua Valley and a 7-point win over New Trier. Miss Basketball candidate Jaclyn Leininger of the Tigers put on a show in Chitown, scoring 32 points and 37 points in the Tigers' two Classic games. More:
Steady senior lifts Fenwick over Kokomo - Chicago Tribune
Loyola routs Indiana power Hamilton Southeastern - Chicago Tribune
McDonald's Classic roundup - Chicago Tribune

Whiting senior Becca Papach (right) pulled off a rare basketball stat line on Saturday, scoring 15 points, pulling down 11 rebounds, dishing out 10 assists and nabbing 10 steals for a quadruple double. This exceptional performance helped her 10-5 Oilers defeat Michigan City Marquette 57-28. Photo courtesy of

There are only three undefeated teams left in the state with less than one month left in regular season play. Ben Davis (17-0), North Knox (15-0) and South Bend Washington (14-0) have all managed to keep unblemished records up until this point, but rough waters could lie ahead for all three. Before it's all said and done, Ben Davis will have to face 3A power Brebeuf Jesuit at the beginning of February, while North Knox will take on tough Vincennes and Washington Catholic teams this week. South Bend Washington will be tested on Friday by an improving South Bend Riley team that almost pulled off a huge upset over tough Brebeuf over the weekend in a 54-56 loss. If they can stay full speed ahead, it is possible that all three teams could enter the IHSAA tournament undefeated.

The Porter County Conference Tournament gets underway this week, and NWI's highest-ranked 2A team Boone Grove will enter this hotly contested annual event as the favorite. The Wolves are currently leading the PCC pack with an unblemished conference record. No team in the PCC has come closer than 15 points (Kouts) against The Grove in conference play and their PCC record margin of victory is 26.3 points. Watch out for an improved Hebron team, though, that took Boone Grove to the limit in a two-point thriller in the South County Tournament in December. The Wolves are led by Junior All-Star candidate Karissa Walter, who is leading the PCC in scoring (16.9), shooting percentage (.606), assists (6.1) and steals (5.0). Regional Radio Sports (at 89.9 FM and on the Internet) will be broadcasting the tournament final from host school Boone Grove beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

As tournament season approaches, it is interesting to view the Sagarin Ratings by Sectional to see who the favorites are in each sectional grouping. In Northwest Indiana, favorites in each sectional at this point in time, according to Sagarin, are:
Sectional 1 - East Chicago Central
Sectional 2 - Valparaiso
Sectional 17 - Calumet
Sectional 18 - Gary Wallace
Sectional 33 - Wheeler
Sectional 49 - Hebron

There is a new Mini-Poll on our home page relative to the Miss Basketball race. Results from our previous Mini-Poll have been added to our archives.

We have added New Albany guard Trisha Bennett to our 2005 Prospects listings. If you have a player you would like listed, please send her information to us at

Photographer Rick Welton has amassed a number of photo galleries from college and high school basketball. You can view his work at

Girls basketball notes & features:

Indiana Miller's college choice - Courier-Journal
Adams Central Natalie Young playing on the big floor - FW News Sentinel
Learning to lead (FW South Side's Jana Reese) - FW News Sentinel

Articles of interest:
Rutgers' Shalicia Hurns plays for redemption - Courier News
Crusaders women make big plays late - The Times
Honegger stands tall among MAC rebounders - Journal & Courier
Irish can't dwell in post-upset glow - South Bend Tribune
This can't be the same ND team - South Bend Tribune
Vincennes Lady Blazers finally get by Kennedy-King - Sun Commercial
BSU women respond to Akron run - Star Press



Saturday, January 17

I apologize for the lack of news updates this week. I was seated to the jury of a one-week murder trial on Monday, which prevented me from keeping up with coverage. RRR coverage should resume to normal this coming week.


North Harrison junior standout Tara Miller (right) has given an early commitment to Indiana head coach Kathi Bennett. Miller, who was averaging 20.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 3.2 steals per game nine games into this season, was also receiving interest from Penn State, Minnesota, Ball State, Butler, Indiana State, Florida and other Division I schools. The 5'10 guard is a two-year All-Sectional and All-Mid-Southern Conference selection, and recently scored a career-high 42 points, including eight treys, against Perry Central. Miller currently ranks in the Top 10 in scoring in the state, as reported on the IHSAA website. Miller is the fourth player from Indiana's talented Class of 2005 to give an early verbal commitment, all to Hoosier State schools. More:
Indiana Miller's college choice - Courier-Journal
Photo from the Tara Miller page courtesy of "Sports Guy"

Mooresville senior Carley Wright has signed with D-II Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. The 5'9 guard averaged 7.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game as a junior, and has helped the Pioneers and head coach Mark Hurt to a 12-4 record and a current first place ranking in the Mid-State Conference.

Former Noblesville and Cathedral standout, Rachel Brockman (left), has enrolled at Murray State and will play for the Lady Racers after the 2004 fall semester. According to the Murray State website, Brockman, who left the Vanderbilt women's program earlier this season, is excited about joining the team and about the MSU staff. The 6'3 McDonald's All-American Top 100 finalist will have three and one-half seasons of eligibility with the Racers. Brockman is the highest ranked player for MSU's 33-year program and for head coach Joi Williams. More:
NHS grad to sit out year after transfer - Noblesville Ledger

Crown Point head coach Tom May (right) logged his 400th career victory Friday night in a hard-fought 54-49 win over DAC opponent Lake Central. The 400th career win for the two-time Indiana All-Star head coach and two-time state champion (1983, 1984) had eluded May in losses to Portage and Chesterton last week. His charges finally delivered at home in a back-and-forth battle against coaching rival Tom Megyesi. Leading the way for the Bulldogs was Junior All-Star candidate Cassie Pruzin, who came through with game highs of 16 points, 7 assists and 6 steals. May, who has coached six Indiana all-stars (including Ball State head coach Tracy Roller), two All-Americans and an IHSAA Mental Attitude Award winner at Crown Point over the past 24 years, sits on a 400-143 (.737) career record. According to May in the Post-Tribune, "Even though the kids and parents have changed, I havenít changed in terms of my approach to the game. I think that is why we have had so much success here at Crown Point." More:
Black and white - The Times
May gets 400th victory in thriller - Post-Tribune
One for the record books - The Times
(Photo courtesy of

Tom May's former player, Tracy Roller (left), is approaching a milestone of her own. The third-year Ball State head coach will tie the all-time winningest coach in Cardinal history if her team can log a win against Akron today. That win would tie Roller with the win column of BSU former coach Robyn Markey, who compiled a 54-127 record during her tenure, according to the Ball State Daily News. Roller's record currently stands at 53-25 (.679).

Seven women were named to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Monday, including the late Bernita Atkins, who logged a 218-98 record as the successful head coach at Portage from 1963 to 1987. Also named to the induction group, who will be honored in a ceremony on April 24, are current Clinton Prairie coach Connie Garrett, 1978 Miss Basketball Chanda Kline of Warsaw, Indiana All-Stars and former Indiana State players Shelly Newell ('76 Rochester) and Dru Cox Pearcy ('77 Plainfield), Indiana All-Star Cindy Piet Cruz ('77 Scottsburg) and former Terre Haute North coach Florida Lowery (1971-1989). More:
Portage's Adkins inducted into hall - The Times
Prairie's Garret selected to Basketball Hall of Fame - Frankfort Times

Clinton Prairie's Garrett honored - Journal & Courier

According to the Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Scecina head coach Emily Steinmetz has relinquished her position for personal reasons. Varsity assistant and reserve head coach Steve Burke will step in as acting head coach for the remainder of the season.

Bloomington North junior Whitney Thomas returned to the line-up for Cougars last Saturday, scoring 17 points and pulling down 9 rebounds as North moved to 5-0 in Conference Indiana with a 54-45 win. Thomas has been away from the competitive basketball floor since she tore an ACL last July.

Joliet Junior College sophomore Kelly Pero is having another great season after being named a JC All-American as a freshman. The 5'7 guard is making a name for herself on the JC circuit, with hopes of continuing on at the next level. A tireless worker, Pero was a pleasant offensive surprise for head coach Tony Giese, who had recruited Pero for her defensive work ethic on the high school floor.
Pero having another outstanding season for the Wolves - Herald News

Girls basketball notes & features:
Wheeler sister act improves teamwork - Post-Tribune
Crown Point's Pruzin performs, meets challenge - Post-Tribune

Girls' basketball buzz - Gretchen Hael - Shelbyville News
10-game run puts Valpo in first - The Times
Indiana girls Basketball Top Ten - The Times
'The Renegade' NW Indiana Poll -
Playing with dad in mind (Vanita Gary, Hammond Noll) - The Times
Kids get schooled in Hysteria - Indy Star

South Putnam tops WCC standings - Banner Graphic.
Daleville girls team losing streak hits 89 games - Ft. Wayne News Sentinel
Goins is fine with new role Southwestern (Shelbyville) - Shelbyville News
Defense is the name of Scottsburg center's game - Courier-Journal
Goal-driven Elwood rolling along - Herald Bulletin
Leo duo is driven to succeed - FW News Sentinel

Blocking not as big with girls defenses - FW News Sentinel
Litka chooses Crusaders - The Times
Oak Hill sisters achieved rare feat by taking the court together - Chronicle-Tribune
Martinsville guards form a strong duo - Indianapolis Star
Goodbye Mr. Chips (Larry Pringle, Triton Central) - Shelbyville News
AC's Natalie Young tops Reinking for county scoring title - Daily Democrat
Luers marches closer to conference crown - FW News Sentinel
Royals are up to challenge again - Indy Star
Mississinewa's Mellor inspires Indians - Chronicle-Tribune
Wes-Del Warrior works hard on glass - Star Press
Salem senior seeking her mom's mark - Courier-Journal
'Slash' Richie doing it all for Central - Courier & Press
Subs provide the spark for Jackets - Indy Star
Leadership comes naturally to sophomore - Indy Star
Website offers audio keepsakes to Hendricks County girls - Flyer Group
Arabians look for consistency - Indy Star
Mooresville athletes of the week - Reporter-Times
Class A girls' basketball title contenders hard to find - Shelbyville News
South Bend Athletes of the Week - South Bend Tribune
Plainfield needs a victory soon - Indianapolis Star

Games rescheduled after student dies in traffic accident - Indianapolis Star.

Season or Game Previews:
No. 6 Jeff girls want to play another 'best' game against No. 4 Castle - Courier-Journal
ACAC tourney starts on Tuesday - FW News Sentinel
Area teams work hard to be on top - Indy Star
Rochester, TV ready for marquee matchup - SB Tribune

Articles of interest:
Yudt's collegiate career ends with injury - The Times
IUPUI's McAfee returns to lineup, ARC - The Times
Rose-Hulman splits with DePauw - Tribune Star
Crusaders team up on Jags - The Times
Jessy Verhoff decides not to return to ISU team - Tribune Star
Indiana State freshman Stephanie Lisch honored by MVC - Tribune Star
Greyhounds' stretch run enough to end USI Eagles' winning streak at 5 - Courier & Press
New sport facilities lack flair or history - Shelbyville News
Franklin College women earn first HCAC victory - JC Daily Journal
Endress has stepped up scoring output for Ball State - Indy Star
Heckman tallies 17 for Manchester - Daily Democrat
ISU women buried early in loss at Creighton - Tribune Star
Merrill leads Miami to win with career-high 28 - Noblesville Ledger
Martin powers Goshen College - Elkhart Truth
Toledo women whip BSU - Star Press
Cards fall to Toledo in weekend game - BSU Daily News
Valpo falls to UMKC - The Times
Road woes for ISU - Tribune Star
BSU bounces back, beats Bobcats - BS Daily News
NCAA delays decision on 3-point arc and free throw lane - News Sentinel
For a moment, a return to glory for ND - South Bend Tribune
UConn Jacqued! - South Bend Tribune
Sycamores glad to be home again - Tribune Star
Love of the game drives Ely siblings - Indianapolis Star
Ely eases into college role - Indianapolis Star
Tournaments thrive in Shelby County - Indianapolis Star



Tuesday, January 6


South Bend St. Joseph's junior standout Aimee Litka (left) has made an early verbal commitment to Coach Keith Freeman of Valparaiso University. The 5'10 guard is currently averaging 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.2 steals for a team that has four players averaging double figures. In her last outing, Litka scorched the nets with 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds while dishing out four assists in a triple-overtime thriller against Lawrence North. A 2nd Team All-State selection by Hoosier Basketball Magazine, the athletic guard narrowed her choices to Butler, Indiana State and Valparaiso before deciding on the Crusaders. Proximity to her home town, scholastic program, exceptional coaching staff and program level all played into her decision. Litka, who has been a starter for SBSJ coach Mike Megyese since her freshman year, will draw high consideration for the Junior All-Star squad this summer. She is currently sitting at 1,077 career points, which ties her with Bridget Pluta (2000) as the all time St. Joe scoring leader. Litka becomes the third player from the Class of 2005 to commit early to a Division I basketball program. Jodi Howell of Alexandria (Purdue) and Leah Phillips of Castle (Indiana State) are the other two who have gotten this all-important decision behind them.

Region fans will be sad to know that 2000 Portage grad and Indiana All-Star Natalie Yudt (right) most likely tore her ACL during the first half of a Horizon League opening win over Butler on Saturday. The 6'1 senior guard, who had never sustained a disabling injury throughout her entire high school or college career, went down 16 minutes into a physical game at Hinkle Fieldhouse after scoring eight points (2-2 from long range) and pulling down three rebounds. Yudt was averaging 10.9 points and 3.1 rebounds nine games into the season before the injury. Unfortunately, this will likely be the end of Yudt's basketball career, as it is too far into the season to make an appeal to the NCAA for a medical redshirt year. She will have her knee evaluated this week to see if she could possibly return to the court somehow this season. Yudt was leading the nation in Division I 3-point shooting percentage (.654) as of December 15, and will be greatly missed by an already depleted roster at UWGB. Yudt is the fifth player and second senior to be lost for the season to the Phoenix and Head Coach Kevin Borseth, who is now down to an eight-player roster.

The Chicagoland Classic, which annually features some of Indiana's best teams against top Illinois opponents, will feature five Hoosier teams this season. This is always a great tournament with lots of national exposure, as top teams and players from all over the country participate, which in turn draws college coaches from top D-I programs into the stands.

Jan. 16   Kokomo vs. Fenwick (Ill.), 8:00 pm
Jan. 16   Warsaw vs. Neuqua Valley (Ill.), 9:30 pm
Jan. 17   Niles North (Ill.) vs. Kokomo, 10:30 am
Jan. 17   New Trier (Ill.) vs. Warsaw, 12:00 pm
Jan. 17   Hamilton Southeastern vs. Wilmette Loyola (Ill.), 4:30 pm
Jan. 17   Heritage Christian vs. Chicago St. Ignatius (Ill.), 6:00 pm
Jan. 19   Fenwick (Ill.) vs. Heritage Christian, 2:30 pm
Jan. 19   East Chicago Central vs. Fremd (Ill.), 5:30 pm

Schedule courtesy of

Is there a hotter team in Indiana right now than the 4A Warsaw Tigers? They are led by long-time coach Will Wienhorst, who notched his 400th win against Columbia City last month and now stands at a career mark of 408-132 (.756) over 25 years. The Tigers have been on a 14-game tear after a 45-54 opening-season loss to 3A power Tippecanoe Valley. Led by the stellar play of Miss Basketball candidate #32 Jaclyn Leininger (25.9 ppg) and #15 super soph point guard Julie Seiss, the Tigers were unstoppable over the holiday tournament season. After dispensing with talented South Bend St. Joseph's (80-69) and always tough Perry Meridian (66-54) to win their own holiday tournament (above), Warsaw garnered Hall of Fame Classic honors three days later with wins over top ten Jeffersonville (64-46) and Mooresville (63-51). As if that wasn't enough, the Tigers came back to Northern Indiana the next day to dominate the competition in the opener of the Northern Lakes Conference Tournament, logging a lopsided win over Wawasee (73-25) and picking up subsequent wins over Concord (65-45) and tough Plymouth (56-43) to take the NLC championship. The Tigers should be state tournament ready with tough games against undefeated Carroll (Allen) and Illinois powers Neuqua Valley and New Trier later this month. Barring injury, the Tigers have set their sights on Conseco Fieldhouse in March.

In case you missed it on our home page, there is a raging voting race for who would best represent NWI on the Junior All-Stars this summer. Hopefully, NWI, which has some great 2005 talent, will have more than one representative on the team. Leading the poll voting at present are Valparaiso center/forward Cassie Kerns (34%), Boone Grove point guard Karissa Walter (21%), Crown Point point guard Cassie Pruzin (17%) and Gary West Side forward Ashley Gates (11%). Pruzin (right) made a strong case for herself on Saturday, logging a near triple-double with 27 points, 10 steals and nine assists in a 84-53 win over 2A Hanover Central. (Photo courtesy of

Who is this Erica Simpson from Gary West Side? That's probably what Homestead, Lafayette Jeff and Chesterton were asking in the Big 8 Shootout last weekend. The previously quiet 5'11 sophomore forward/center exploded for 58 points and 23 rebounds in three victories to capture the championship trophy and All-Tournament honors for the Cougars. Simpson received help from teammates Ashley Gates (34 points) and Belinda Drake, who also made the All-Tournament Team. Cougar junior Isabell Rhenwick also made a good showing, logging 31 points for the tourney and dishing out eight assists and nabbing seven steals in the 48-32 championship win over Chesterton.

Statistical leaders for NWI through January 1, as reported by The Times, are as follows:


23.7 - Sharon Houston, Lew Wallace
17.4 - Karissa Walter, Boone Grove
17.0 - Rebekah Basinger, Kouts
Field Goal Percentage (20+ atts)
.666 - Brittany Ursery, Merrillville
.590 - Julie DeMuth, Merrillville
.590 - Cassie Kerns, Valparaiso
13.6 - Marian Smith, Hammond
13.2 - Sharon Houston, Lew Wallace
11.6 - LaTysha Sanders, Gavit
6.1 - Dee Dee Jernigan, East Chicago
5.7 - Cassie Pruzin, Crown Point
5.4 - Karissa Walter, Boone Grove
6.5 - Karissa Walter, Boone Grove
5.7 - Satrina Canaday, Lew Wallace
5.2 - Kiki Bytner, Calumet
6.1 - Sharon Houston, Lew Wallace
2.6 - LaTysha Sanders, Gavit
2.4 - Cena Nasiloski, Hammond


According to the LaPorte Herald-Argus, Michigan City has lost nearly half of its roster to suspensions and player defections. Three players were suspended for undisclosed reasons, while Tierra Mitchell, Jherika Harvell and Khadijah Ward left the team due to personal reasons.

Also in case you missed it on our home page, North Central sophomore Amber Harris became the first girl in Indiana high school history to dunk a basketball in a game. The first-time slam jiggle was the opening bucket of North Central's win over Bishop Chatard in the Panther's own holiday tournament. The 6'6 Harris finished with 10 points in the lopsided 63-36 win. If you weren't there to see the dunk, don't fret. You can see it in this video submitted by a North Central parent by clicking on the photo to the left. (Requires Windows Media Player. Slower connections should download the file to a local drive for better playback. See instructions on our Photo Galleries page.)

Senior Kim Byrdwell of Danville has been added to our 2004 Prospects page. If you have a player you would like to add to any of the RRR prospects pages, please send us your player's information.

According to the IHSAA, Kyle Elliott, who resigned last season to spend more time with his family, has assumed the girls basketball head coaching position at Culver Community, stepping in for Robert Phelps, a Marine reservist who has been called to active duty.

Coaches, be sure and check our calendar of important dates at the top of this page. A January deadline is looming for ICGSA Academic All-State honors, as well as other ICGSA honors deadlines in February.

Applications are now being evaluated for The Ten Star All-Star Summer Basketball Camp. The camp is by invitation only. Boys and girls ages 10-19 are eligible to apply. Players from 50 states and 11 foreign countries attended the 2003 camp. College basketball scholarships are possible for players selected to the All-American Team. Camps are located around the United States. The camps closest to Indiana include Greencastle, Champaign (IL) and Bluffton (OH). For a free brochure, call (704) 373-0873.

Girls basketball notes & features:
Boone girls basketball team wins second straight South County - The Times

2003-2004 Girls Basketball 'Renegade' Poll: Week 7 -
Lawrence North Wildcats have made big strides - Indianapolis Star

Success of young girls team no surprise to Franklin coach - JC Daily Journal
Roberts, Myers lead area in points scoring - Madison Courier
Full lineup gives Hamilton Heights wins, balance on court - Noblesville Ledger
Covenant Christian freshman is welcome surprise - Indy Star
Western Boone Stars take a 10-day break to prepare for stretch run - Indy Star
Undefeated SB Washington Panthers finally get a break - SB Tribune
Zionsville closes out year on spree - Indy Star
Lady Warriors first in 2A; Alices jump to fifth in 3A - Vincennes Sun-Commercial
Basketball links Drabyns together - Indy Star
Shelbyville forward overcomes her setbacks - Indy Star
When shot goes up, Danville senior is willing to scrap for rebound - Indy Star
Tecumseh girls put end to losing ways - Warrick Publishing
Brebeuf coach, Braves enjoy ride - Indy Star
Decatur coach takes some teasing over stiff schedule - Indy Star
Greyhounds find an inside game - Indy Star
South Putnam all-tournament team announced - Banner Graphic

New Albany's Lynch will play volleyball at Purdue - Courier-Journal

Season or Game Previews:
First-round games key in Randolph County Tournaments - Muncie Star Press
Delaware County tournament pairings set - Muncie Star Press
Cloverdale geared up for Eminence, Warmoth - Banner Graphic
Holiday hoops frenzy (Fountain Central) - Journal Review

Grant Four Tournament - Marian Chronicle Tribune

Stars starting anew at North Harrison - Times-Mail

Articles of interest:
ND anxious to hit meaty part of schedule - South Bend Tribune
Nord named C-USA Player of the Week - Evening News
Hanover women fall to Otterbein in title game - Madison Courier
DePauw women knock off 13th-ranked Hope, 61-53 - Banner Graphic
Wright, Jones rally Purdue past Western Michigan - Boiler Station
Franklin College women come out strong after holidays - JC Daily Journal
Purdue women emphasize R & D - FW Journal Gazette
Big Ten season tips off with Purdue-Penn State - Indy Star
Ball State women fall short against IU - Muncie Star Press
Martinsville grads making impact felt for college basketball teams - Reporter-Times
Michigan State downs IU women - Times-Mail
Gators romp to easy victory over Earlham in women's NCAC game - Pal-Item
Irish defense humiliated in blowout loss to Purdue - South Bend Tribune
Webb makes most of playing time against Irish - BoilerStation
Wabash Valley women's basketball - Story of the Year - Tribune Star
Riley World Championship, MVP top list for 2003 - Miami County Life
Manchester women top St. Mary 65-62 - Plain Dealer
Sycamore women outplay Panthers - Tribune Star
Shyra Ely named EDAmeria/Lady Vol Athlete of the Month - Tennessee



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