March, 2004

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Region Roundball Review
March, 2004
News & Updates

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Friday, March 26


Announcements regarding this summer's Indiana All-Star events are beginning to unfold, with the most important one of all made last Sunday in the Indianapolis Star. Warsaw senior Jaclyn Leininger, who is headed to Miami (Ohio) next fall, was announced as the winner of the highly-coveted Miss Basketball award. Leininger becomes Indiana's 29th Miss Basketball and the third player from Warsaw to receive the Hoosier State's top honor. No other school in Indiana history has produced more than one Miss Basketball winner. Previous winners from Warsaw include Judi Warren (Franklin) in 1976 and Chanda Kline (Indiana State) in 1978. Leininger is the first Miss Basketball from Warsaw during the 18-year tenure of head coach Will Wienhorst. She earned the honor with a stellar senior season that included championship wins and MVP recognition in the Hall of Fame Classic and the Warsaw Holiday Tournament. The 6'0 guard/forward averaged 25.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists, and amassed 1,608 career points as a three-year starter for the Tigers. More:
Jaclyn Leininger Named Miss Basketball - Warsaw Times-Union
Warsaw guard Leininger named Miss Basketball - Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette
Warsaw wing Leininger wins Miss Basketball - Courier-Journal
Leininger named Indiana Miss Basketball - Cincinnati Enquirer

The Indiana All-Stars will be led by Jodie Whitaker of Lawrence North in June, as announced in the Indianapolis Star. Whitaker is the first ever former Miss Basketball to take on head coaching duties for the annual summertime showdown with Kentucky. She will be joined on the sidelines by Walt Raines of Franklin and Jon Howell of Alexandria, who were tapped for assistant coaching duties for the All-Star summer squad.

Also in conjunction with the All-Stars events, the Junior All-Star Team was announced by the Indianapolis Star last weekend. For the third year in a row, two NWI players will represent the Region on the junior squad. Cassie Kerns of Valparaiso and Cassie Pruzin of Crown Point (both at right) will play in both All-Stars exhibition games as members of the Core Team, which also includes Jodi Howell of Alexandria, Kahla Roudebush of Hamilton Southeastern, Stephanie Lynch of New Albany and Tara Miller of North Harrison.
Members of the North Team include Kimberly Roberson of Cathedral, Porchia Green of Indianapolis Arlington, Kris Coner of Indian Creek, Aimee Litka of South Bend St. Joseph's, Chelsea Miller of Shenandoah and BreAnne Miller of Huntington North. Jerri Taylor of South Bend Washington was chosen as a North alternate.
South Team members include Lacey Workman of Ben Davis, Whitney Thomas and Kiley Jarrett of Bloomington North, Dana Beaven of Corydon Central, Mara Freshour of Brown County and Paige Rudolph of Evansville Memorial. Leah Phillips of Castle was selected as a South alternate.
The Junior All-Stars will be coached by Curt Benge of Plainfield, and he will be assisted by Dori Downing of Calumet and George Wooten of Turkey Run.

The Times and Post-Tribune announced their post-season awards for 2003-04. Valparaiso junior center Cassie Kerns (left) earned MVP recognition from both papers, while Valpo's Greg Kirby was named Coach of the Year by The Times, and Mike Urban of Highland was named Coach of the Year by the Post-Tribune. More:

Tower of power (Cassie Kerns) - The Times

Kerns fills void left by injury - Post-Tribune
Hard to handle (Greg Kirby) - The Times
Urban adds to Highland’s tradition - Post-Tribune


Both papers also named their all-area teams for the 2003-04 season, with first-teamers as follows:


  The Times - First Team   Post-Tribune - First Team  

Becca Bruszewski (Fr) - Wheeler
Kiki Bytnar (Sr) - Calumet
Julie DeMuth (Sr) - Merrillville
Lauren Hutton
(Sr) - Valparaiso
Dee Dee Jernigan
(So) - East Chicago
Marshay Jolly (Sr) - Merrillville
Cassie Kerns (Jr) - Valparaiso
Cassie Pruzin (Jr) - Crown Point
Isabell Rhenwrick (Jr) - Gary West Side
Jen VanderZanden (Sr) - Lake Central
Karissa Walter (Jr) - Boone Grove


Cassie Kerns (Jr) - Valparaiso
Julie DeMuth (Sr) - Merrillville
Sharon Houston (So) - Gary Wallace
Dee Dee Jernigan (So) - East Chicago
Cassie Pruzin
(Jr) - Crown Point



One can only guess, but is the new summer practice rule taking its toll on the coaching ranks? Or is it the competitive nature of the four-class system, where smaller schools are expected to compete year in and year out? Whatever the reasons, this year brings more coaching resignations than we can remember, some for high profile programs.

After 25 years as a regular on the sidelines in Northwest Indiana, Renee Turpa has turned in her resignation at Portage. According to The Times, Portage's long-time coach is stepping down to "regroup, refresh and renew [her] love for the coaching profession." Turpa, who compiled a 207-155 record while competing in the tough Duneland Conference, also served in a variety of capacities for local and statewide coaching groups, including the ICGSA. She was the object of a special feature about Title IX in the Post-Tribune, which followed Turpa and her team during the 2001-02 season. Turpa leaves a legacy of 31 players who moved on to compete at the collegiate level. It will not be a surprise if Turpa, who has been an early and constant supporter of the RRR, shows up on the sidelines of a NWI team sometime in the future. Photo from the Post-Tribune


The South Bend area has been one of the hardest hit with the recent departures of a number of girls basketball coaches. Vacancies will need to be filled at Marian, South Bend Riley, Triton, LaVille, Elkhart Central and Northridge for next season. More:
Willoughby resigns as LaVille coach - South Bend Tribune

Marian coach Aldridge resigns - South Bend Tribune

According to the Johnson County Daily Journal, Indian Creek coach Dana Scott has resigned after five years as head of the Braves program. Scott, who only planned to stay five years when she first took the job at her alma mater, compiled a successful 66-41 record during her tenure. During the last three seasons, the 2A Braves were 45-10 and were state-ranked. More:
Indian Creek losing basketball coaches - Reporter-Times
   Most recently, Noblesville coach Leah Wooldridge has resigned after a five-year term for the Millers. During that time, according to the Indianapolis Star, Wooldridge led her team to a 61-46 record, including a 4A No. 9 ranking in 2002 when the Millers went 18-3. Wooldridge previously coached at Anderson, where she took her team to the state finals in 1994 at the age of 24. The Anderson Highland alum has an overall coaching record of 100-54.
Ex-coach had 2 roles in 2 trips to Finals - Indy Star
Also, according to the Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Ritter head coach Lori James has resigned after two years with the Raiders, during which she compiled a 7-35 record.
(We will be trying to get all coaching changes together sometime in the near future, as time allows.)

The Indianapolis Star announced its post-season honors for the 2003-04 season. Ben Davis senior Janese Banks (right) led the way with the top honor of Indianapolis Star Player of the Year. She is joined on the annual Indy Star Super Team by sophomores Ashley Barlow of Pike and Amber Harris of North Central, seniors Ashley Cazee of Martinsville, Cassie Freeman of Heritage Christian, Gretchen Haehl of Shelbyville, Amber Jackson of Brebeuf, Rachel Kenney of Mooresville, Adrienne Squire of Indian Creek, and freshman Ta'Shia Phillips of Brebeuf. 4A State Champion head coach Alan Vickrey of North Central was named Coach of the Year. Indianapolis region awards were announced as well, as detailed in the following articles:
Vickrey's team tops expectations
The Star's 2003-04 girls basketball Super Team
Banks elevates team, her game
Mt. Vernon's Privett sets bar in StarEast
Brebeuf Jesuit player is queen of the court - Girls basketball honor team
Giants have top player, coach
Standout guards grab the area spotlight
Relaxed atmosphere helped Braves deal with pressure to win
(Photo from the Flyer Group)

According to the Indianapolis Star, Alan Vickrey of North Central will be stepping aside as the Top 40 Workout floor director next year, a volunteer position he has held for at least the past several years. Gary Donna of Hoosier Basketball Magazine, who sponsors the event, expects Lawrence North coach Jodie Whitaker (this year's All-Star coach) and Perry Meridian coach Mike Armstrong to co-direct next year's Top 40 Workout.

As you can tell from this news update, we had a lot of news to catch up on. We still have more, including a number of college commitments, but will be saving that for next week. Again, we apologize for the lack of news updates, but we've had other priorities the past few weeks.

Girls basketball notes & features:
Rager, Underwood top All-County team - Plain Dealer
Frehsour, Land lead all-area team - Columbus Republic
The News tabs county’s best - Shelbyville News
Crawford's Haverstock won't play in college - Courier-Journal
Area players are selected for recognition - Indy Star
Tri-Central will try to double up on titles - Indy Star
A look at the best of girls basketball - Indy Star
End of the season tough for 4 close seniors - Indy Star
Freeman, Richards powered Heritage - Indy Star
Rochester star pulls in honors - South Bend Tribune
Feel good story for Luers' Gerardot - Journal Gazette
Bain shares Player of the Year award with Austin - Jeffersonville Evening News
State basketball title can be lesson in unity - Indy Star
Defense pushes Mays to the top - Chronicle Tribune
All-'Chronicle-Tribune' First Team - Chronicle-Tribune
Heights' Fleenor named All-MIC in girls hoops - Noblesville Ledger
Pendleton's Lester leads All-County team - Herald Bulletin
Decker thankful for chance to coach Stars - Times-Mail
Some say private schools have unfair advantage - Courier-Journal
Bulldog girls’ hoops has successful season despite losing record - Mooresville Times
Tri-River All-Conference teams announced - Linton Daily Citizen
Campbell tops all-county hoops squad - Princeton Daily Clarion
POLE Position: Wrong Coaches Selected For Girls All-Star Team - Warsaw Times

College and other articles of interest:
Feeling the madness (Reicina Russell) - Tribune Star
Indiana high schools feed Lady Vols' success this season - Indy Star
Gearlds tough on Wildcats - Indianapolis Star
Purdue advances on 2nd-half push - Indianapolis Star
Purdue's Wright named All-American - Indianapolis Star
McGraw believes parity has arrived in women's basketball - South Bend Tribune
Batteast finds the beast inside to elevate her game - South Bend Tribune
Boilers' seniors don't want careers to end - Indianapolis Star
Valek has sacrificed stats for leadership - News-Sentinel
Changes in store for NCAA women's tournament - Ft. Wayne News Sentinel
Springboard to greater things (Sharon Versyp) - Indy Star
Indiana State bids to bring MVC tourney to Hulman Center - Tribune Star
Purdue's Valek top player under 5-8 - Indy Star
VanMetre helps EMU to NCAA tournament - Noblesville Ledger
Valparaiso wins second straight Mid-Con Tourney title - MCC website
U of I returns to NCAA Div. II tourney - Indianapolis Star
Stats don't tell whole story (Sara Strahm) - Indianapolis Star
Ex-Valpo star now a stopper for the Jags - Post-Tribune
Straight talk from Jenny DeMuth - Post-Tribune
DeMuth, Hoosiers stifle Wisconsin - The Times
PUC women ice cold, exit early - The Times
Overshadowed success (Johna Goff) - Ball State Daily News
Endress, Goff receive conference honors - Ball State Daily News
Indiana players receive MAC honors - MAC website
Miami's Cindi Merrill notches fourth MAC East Player of the Week honor - Miami website
Wright looks to worm way to MVP - News Sentinel
IPFW men, women swept at Valparaiso - News Sentinel
BSU women can't clinch home-court tourney game - Star Press
Senior Day loss extends Ball State's losing streak - Star Press
Franklin ends AU women's season - Herald Bulletin
Franklin women take conference title - JC Daily Journal
Doughty having own success at DePauw  - Mooresville Times
BSU women advance in MAC tourney - Star Press
BSU's Endress gets national honor - Star Press
Williams honored by CCCI - Banner Graphic
Sycamores start tourney play with MVC honors - Tribune Star
ISU cool in the clutch - Tribune Star
Farmer leads Rose-Hulman - Flyer Group
Guided whistle (Gary's Kia Matthews) - The Times
ACL injuries more common among women - Muncie Star Press
Little chance Indiana will ever go back to single-class - News Sentinel


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