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Announcing the RRR 2008-09 NWI Senior Seven
Region Roundball Review

10/27/08 05:01 am by RRR | Back




For the fifth straight  year, we mark the start of the school year and welcome the upcoming season by highlighting Northwest Indiana's top incoming seniors. In our opinion, these seven young ladies represent the best candidates in NWI for statewide post-season honors in 2009, and we ask that you keep an eye on them throughout their final season of high school basketball. They have been chosen not only for their athletic abilities and basketball skills, but also for the way they present themselves on the court and represent the NWI basketball community locally and around the state. Remember, you never know who is watching.


The NWI Senior Seven photos and stats will appear on our site masthead throughout the coming year. We expect all of these senior players to rise to the occasion during the 2008-09 season. With the loss of key players to graduation and after three years of high school ball, all seven will carry a great deal of their team's chance for success in the coming season. We believe that as these players go, so will the fate of each of their teams.


Congratulations to our 2008-09 NWI Senior Seven! They are, in alphabetical order:

Jordan Kramer

5'5 Hanover Central point guard

College plans: Undecided

Good things come in small packages and that adage is dead on when it comes to Hanover Central lead guard Jordan Kramer. The 5'5 spitfire is the heart and soul of a Wildcats team that made it to the 2008 Regionals despite a less than stellar 9-10 regular season record. After a strong 6-1 start, the Wildcats struggled through a mid-season slump, losing 9 of 12 games from December through the end of January. During that decline, Kramer suffered the loss of her grandmother, a devastating second blow after losing another grandmother that previous October. As the season progressed, she continued to push through her grief, finding solace in basketball and in her teammates. Kramer's mental toughness came full circle at tournament time. The Wildcats' post-season push was in big part the result of Kramer's ball handling, floor leadership and determination. The All-PCC and All-Area guard tallied 47 points over three sectional games, including a 21-point performance against Bishop Noll in the sectional final to give her team and head coach Doug Nelson the honor of cutting down the nets for the first time since HC's last sectional crown in 2000. If last November's opener for the Wildcats against River Forest (35 points, 8 treys) left any doubt, the two-year starter has put the NWI girls basketball world on notice that she is ready to take her place among the PCC guard greats. As the Wildcats' go-to player and with the graduation of five seniors from last year's team, Kramer will receive lots of defensive attention from opponents this season. But three years of varsity experience and returning senior guards Danielle Graham and Lindsay Martinez should help Kramer make her final prep campaign a memorable one.

Bianca McGee

5'10 Michigan City guard

College plans: Eastern Illinois


Ta'Kenya Nixon

5'9 Michigan City combo guard

College plans: Eastern Illinois

When Bianca McGee and Ta'Kenya Nixon move on to Eastern Illinois next fall to begin their college careers together, they will be remembered as the faces that changed the Wolves girls basketball program forever. After languishing in the basement of the DAC prior to their arrival (just 8 conference wins in four years, 24-60 overall), a Michigan City program with chronic basketball heart disease has been miraculously brought back to life by this talented duo. Since the appearance of McGee and Nixon in the halls of MCHS, the Wolves have become the owners of a highly-respected program, no longer the poor sisters of the DAC, but a mighty force and conference foe to be reckoned with. For the past three years, Nixon and McGee have been leading their teammates and each other to three winning seasons, two conference championships, a 56-19 overall record and the first sectional championship for MC in 11 years. Nixon, the 5'9 floor general, runs the offense for the Wolves and does it oh so well. The consummate leader, Nixon is expert at delivering dead-on passes and finding her teammates at the right time. But she is also the go-to player for the Wolves when the situation dictates that she deliver points. In last season's sectional championship win over Valparaiso, Nixon came up with 18 of her 26 points in the second half, including a baseline jumper that sent the game into overtime. Her "complete player" stat line of 19.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.7 steals per game last season earned her a rightful place on the Junior All Stars this past summer, and also statewide recognition as a member of the IBCA Underclass All-State Team.


McGee, a versatile, multi-talented wing, is the perfect complement to Nixon. She makes it difficult for opponents to fudge with junk defenses on her teammate, because McGee is just as good and can literally hurt you from anywhere on the floor. She is a tough rebounder and relishes the contact she often receives on her patented drives to the hoop. She, too, can deliver when necessary. In last season's come-from-behind OT win over Merrillville in the sectional semi-finals, Nixon was huge with 25 points -- 16 in the second half -- including a huge momentum changing trey during the extra period to put the Pirates away for good. With a stat line of 16.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game, she too was worthy of Junior All Star status, but did not get the nod. That will serve as inspiration to her during her final high school season, which is very likely to be another great one for the Wolves, although under a new coach. Gary Collins, who helped develop the complementary skills of his two backcourt stars for three seasons, resigned last spring and is now at Washington Township. Taking over for the Wolves is Terrance Allen, who will not only have the pleasure of coaching MC's talented senior duo, but also 5'11 junior forward Essence Robinson, who should be ready for a breakout season after spending much of last season coming back from an ACL injury. With a year of varsity experience under their belts, sophomores Angelique Moore (6'0 F) and Magdeline Gondeck (6'1 C) should also be ready to provide solid minutes in the post. But what has eluded Michigan City during the tenure of Nixon and McGee has been a solid tournament run. Why? Three words: South Bend Washington. The Panthers and All-American Skylar Diggins have put an end to the Wolves' tournament dreams three years in a row. This will be the last chance for Nixon and McGee to get over the SBW hump. This year may be their best chance to do that.

Tierra Turner

5'7 Merrillville guard/forward

College plans: Undecided

Merrillville's Tierra Turner was a strong contributor her sophomore season, giving the Pirates a boost in the backcourt with 9.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. But head coach Amy Govert knew Turner would be something special heading into last season, and she was right. The 5'7 swing player was the leading scorer on a senior-laden team, averaging 17.0 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the 17-5 Pirates. A handful on both sides of the ball, the speedy Turner can create her own shot in a variety of ways, whether taking it fearlessly to the hole or shaking unwitting defenders while shooting off the dribble. A healthy 46 percent field goal percentage makes her a threat from almost anywhere on the court, and a great deal of confidence and court presence makes her a natural leader on the floor. Pirate fans -- and opponents -- will remember two of Turner's most stellar performances last season. Against Chesterton, the All-DAC and All-Area performer logged 28 points and 12 rebounds in a 63-53 road win. In a hotly contested battle with conference nemesis Michigan City, Turner was on fire, scoring 25 points and pulling down 14 rebounds in a key 62-56 Merrillville win that went down to the wire. With the graduation of five backcourt players, Turner is bound to receive a great deal of individualized defensive attention from opponents this season, but she will have the help of rising junior backcourt star Bryonna Davis to offset some of the pressure. The Pirates will be lacking size again this season, but that just means that they will continue to do what they do best, with Turner leading the way... run, run, and run some more.

Tatianna Washington

5'8 Gary Roosevelt guard/forward

College plans: Undecided

Toiling away in near obscurity in the Northwestern Conference, Tatianna Washington of Gary Roosevelt could be one of the best unknown players in the state. She led NWI in scoring (19.6) and steals (5.0) last season, but an unusual schedule had the Panthers playing nearly half of their games against out-of-state opponents and against only one Indiana team outside of the northern half of Lake County. She is a virtual unknown to many around Hoosier girls basketball. A gym rat raised in between the lines since an early age, she regularly tagged  along to Gary's parks and gyms with dad Chester Washington, described as a "playground legend" by Roosevelt head coach Melonie Martin. The younger Washington crafted her game playing against the boys, who taught her how to deal with the physicalities of the game on asphalt. That toughness, together with her athleticism, leadership skills and love of the game, will translate well to the next  level for Washington. The AP All-State Honorable Mention honoree is used to intense defensive attention. She scores the majority of the Panthers' points in nearly all games. In a one-point overtime loss to East Chicago last January, Washington scored 30 of Roosevelt's 48 points to go with seven steals. A three-year starter for the Panthers, Washington will be called upon again to carry the load for the 'Velt in her final prep season. But with some experience coming back to the lineup, she just might get the opportunity to display her more-recently polished skills to a wider audience if her team can advance out of 3A Sectional 17.

Lindsey Whitcomb

6'1 Washington Township forward/center

College plans: Undecided

Saying that this hard-working player has the ability to adjust to changing playing conditions is probably an understatement. Lindsey Whitcomb, the central piece of Washington Township's offense, will be playing for her fourth high school coach in four years. But this final year of high school ball may be the season when Whitcomb shines brightest, as she gains the experience, guidance and wide-ranging knowledge of former Michigan City coach Gary Collins. Collins, who led 4A Michigan City to a 42-8 record during the past two years, could get the Senators into the winning column after two frustrating losing seasons (19-23). Any type of a turnaround, however, will rely on the senior leadership and on-court skills of Whitcomb. A physical post player with good hands and ever-improving back-to-the-basket skills, Whitcomb could lead WT to its first sectional crown in seven years. An All-PCC honoree in 2007 and 2008, Whitcomb put her name on the small school map as a sophomore when she walked away with MVP honors (26 points, 14 rebounds) in the Mid-Winter Classic championship game in 2007. Besides being the focus of  the Senators' offense, Whitcomb is a defensive force to be reckoned with in the paint, averaging 3.4 blocks per game. The 6'1 post, together with senior slashing wing Liz Leuck, will be leading a team that went through some growing pains last season with seven sophomores and freshmen on the roster. However, after a year of varsity ball under their belts and with the return of starting junior guards Abby Walters and Megan Kaczmarski, Collins will have a good group to build around Whitcomb to take a legitimate stab a 1A tournament run.

Sancheon White

5'10 Hammond guard

College plans: Undecided

This 5'10 gem of a guard has been building a name for herself on the 3A circuit with three straight trips to the Regionals during her high school career. Sancheon White of Hammond is the do-everything engine that makes the Wildcats go. Averaging over five assists per game -- doubling her assist output from the previous year -- nearly every play of the Hammond offense runs through the capable hands of White. Under the tutelage of first-year head coach Lawrence Chase, White grew from a singularly good scorer to a multi-faceted floor leader who makes players around her better. A naturally-gifted athlete, White understands the game and is a few steps ahead of her opponents when it comes down to the finer points of the X's and O's. But, when her team needs her to, she can also pour it on in bunches. In the Bearcat Holiday Tournament last December against Hobart, White put together a stat line that would turn the head of any college coach. With 18 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists, the dynamic guard single-handedly kept her team in a close game, helping them advance to the tournament finals. Last season, the Wildcats came oh so close to a regional final, losing to eventual 3A State Champion Plymouth in overtime. White was stellar with 17 points against the vaunted Pilgrims' defense, but it was not enough to get her team to the next level. That loss has been burning in White's gut all summer and she and the Wildcats have much to prove this season. Even with the loss of four senior starters, the Wildcats have a solid returning duo in White and fellow senior Zena Nasiloski.


Other NWI seniors considered for this year's honors


Aurielle Anderson, Gary West Side; Morgan Palombzio, Chesterton; Abby Skube, Chesterton; Daniela Tarailo, Crown Point; Danielle Graham, Hanover Central; Beth Garber, Morgan Township


Past RRR Senior Seven Honorees



View complete article...

Name High School College
Christine Brichta Valparaiso chose not to play
Britney Cruse Merrillville St. Joseph's
Jessica Dowdy Boone Grove Calumet College
Gloria Hernandez Portage Robert Morris - Springfield
Becca Hoefler Valparaiso IU South Bend
Lisa Samplawski Portage Loyola
Lizzie Stapke Highland IU South Bend




View complete article...

Name High School College
Becca Bruszewski Wheeler Notre Dame
Sarah Dermody LaPorte chose not to play
Cortney Flanigan Boone Grove IU South Bend
Jaclyn Jessen Kouts chose not to play
LaTice Jones Gary Roosevelt State Fair Community College
Lauren Meneghetti Munster Southern Indiana
Emma Tucker Michigan City State Fair Community College



View complete article...

Name High School College
Mallory Gorski South Central chose not to play
Sharon Houston Merrillville IU Northwest
Erica Humes Valparaiso chose not to play
Dee Dee Jernigan East Chicago Central Xavier
Brittney Moore Merrillville Xavier
Erica Simpson Gary West Side Alabama-Birmingham
Kelly Watts East Chicago Central Valparaiso



View complete article...

Name High School College
Shaneé Butler Gary West Side not playing
Ashley Gates Gary West Side not playing
Cassie Kerns Valparaiso Connecticut
Jernita Moore East Chicago Central not playing
Cassie Pruzin Crown Point DePauw
Isabell Rhenwrick Gary West Side Indianapolis
Karissa Walter Boone Grove Oakland City



This page has been viewed 14 times.

by mendoza | 04 Mar 2009 03:04 am
Major congrats to jordan kramer. She is as good a person as she is a player

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