After just two weeks of practice, but months of waiting for players, coaches and Indiana girls basketball fans, the 2008-09 season will finally get underway this week all around this basketball-crazy state. Tipping things off will be 2A foes Monrovia and Linton-Stockton, who will be meeting for the third time where one of them will claim a lead in the 1-1 series record Monday night.
John Harrell's fantastic database website has all the information you will need in a mouse click for schedules, results, previews and standings. According to the JH Daily Schedule, Tuesday is the day when things really get underway, with over 50 games on tap. Locally, Andrean travels to Hebron, Lake Central hosts Griffith, Lake Station is at Wirt, Hanover Central hosts River Forest, and Valparaiso goes to Kankakee Valley. Photo courtesy of strempkagallery.com.
Inaugural game preview (courtesy of John Harrell):
LAST SEASON: Won 5, Lost 16.
COACH: Brad McKinney, 0-0 in 1st year at Linton-Stockton.
SECTIONAL: 45. Bloomfield.
CONFERENCE: Southwestern Indiana, Tri-River.
LAST YEAR'S SAGARIN RATING: 51.62, 282nd overall, 70th in Class 2A.
LAST SEASON: Won 5, Lost 16.
COACH: Jim Porter, 34-34 in 4th year at Monrovia.
SECTIONAL: 46. Cascade.
CONFERENCE: West Central.
LAST YEAR'S SAGARIN RATING: 52.75, 270th overall, 60th in Class 2A.
NWI PRESEASON ALL-AREA PLAYERS ANNOUNCED
Kudos to The Times of Munster for releasing an extremely comprehensive preseason insert in yesterday's paper, giving full coverage in advance of the first games of the season. Besides naming a preseason all-area team, there is a wealth of coverage about nearly every team in our area. The Pre-Season All-Area Team includes all of our NWI Senior Seven picks, excluding the Michigan City duo of Nixon and McGee (The Times doesn't include Michigan City schools in its coverage). The online NWI girls basketball guide is an excellent resource for college coaches who might be interested in picking up some talented players from our area of the state. There is team-by-team coverage, as well as exclusive on-line articles that did not appear in the print version.
HIGH POTENTIAL RANKINGS OUT FOR 2008-09 PRESEASON
High Potential Basketball Recruiting Service has released its Indiana rankings for the fall season. Northwest Indiana players on the list include Bianca McGee and Ta'Kenya Nixon of Michigan City, Morgan Palombzio and Abby Skube of Chesterton, Juaniece Jackson of Calumet, Brandee Hudspeth of Kankakee Valley, Jordan Kramer of Hanover Central, Daniela Tarailo of Crown Point, Tierra Turner of Merrillville, Aurielle Anderson of Gary West Side, Kelly Dobson of Boone Grove, Danielle Graham of Hanover Central, Christina Hooks of North Newton, Annmarie Keller of Kouts, Stephanie Lang (left) of Valparaiso, Ashley Parish of Griffith, Essence Robinson of Michigan City, Brittany Stelter of Wheeler, Emily Strilich of Boone Grove, Lisa Strohmeier of Rensselaer Central and Lindsey Whitcomb of Washington Township.
THREE HOOSIER TEAMS TABBED IN ESPN PRESEASON NATIONAL RANKINGS
As someone pointed out on our message board this week, ESPN has released its preseason national high school rankings and Indiana has landed three teams in the ESPN RISE FAB 50. Making the cut are No. 13 South Bend Washington, No. 19 Ben Davis and No. 38 Heritage Christian. SBW with uber-star Skylar Diggins topped the list of Hoosier mentions, although ESPN was taking the transfer of 6'3 forward Jasmine Watson into account for the Panthers. However, it is still unknown if Watson, who played for Elkhart Memorial the past three years, will see the court in a Panther uniform this year as the IHSAA has denied her transfer eligibility appeal. According to the South Bend Tribune, Watson plans to go to court to challenge the IHSAA's decision. Ben Davis returns all five starters from last season and have incredible depth with a bevy of young talent. Alex Bentley (Penn State) will lead the Giants this season, together with DeAirra Goss (Western Michigan) and Dee Dee Williams (Purdue). Sophs Bria Goss, Katie Kirschner and Nicole Bowman all looked good this summer and with a year of varsity experience under their belts, should be major contributors this season. Expect to see the Giants at the top of the IBCA and ICGSA polls to start the season. Heritage Christian, which is going for the first four-peat since that feat was achieved by Fort Wayne Luers from 1998-2002, also returns nearly everyone from last season. Led by UConn recruit Kelly Faris and Butler commit Claire Freeman, the Eagles are poised for legendary dynasty status if they can get back to Conseco. Faris and Freeman have lost only seven games during their high school careers, with two of those losses coming to out-of-state opponents.
More high school online coverage: