Region Roundball Review

October, 1998
 News


News thru Saturday, October 31, 1998

We have received word that senior standout Amy Muelhausen (5'8" G) of Logansport has accepted a scholarship offer to play at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) next year. Muelhausen, who has been the starting point guard for the 4A Berries since her sophomore year, will bring her outstanding defensive and ball-handling skills to the Division I Jaguars.


The Valpo camp was probably abuzz at practice this morning with news that Hoosier Basketball Magazine has ranked the Vikings fourth in their state pre-season rankings. Valpo, led by the veteran tandem of Jeanette Gray and Erin Sampsel, will need to provide leadership for an inexperienced, but talented, supporting cast. The HBM will not be available locally until later next week, but according to a Connersville News-Examiner article, the top five teams are as follows:

1. Ben Davis
2. Connersville
3. New Albany
4. Valparaiso
5. Martinsville

Interestingly, the Top 12 Poll here at the Region Roundball Review also matches four of the top five in Ben Davis, Connersville, New Albany and Martinsville. But replacing Valpo in the RRR Top 12 at No. 4 is Kokomo. In the RRR poll, Terre Haute South ranks 6th, Valpo 7th, Rushville 8th, Center Grove 9th, Evansville Memorial 10th, Northwood 11th and Jeffersonville 12th.


Michael Detcher from Oxford, Ohio, a loyal and devoted Miami University RedHawks fan, has sent us the following report about former Hoosier players now at MU:

Miami's Hoosiers Must Step Up - With only eight scholarships players on the roster, the Miami University RedHawks must get significant contributions from three former Indiana high school players. Jamie Stewart (Rushville) was Honorable Mention All-MAC last year and new coach Maria Fantanarosa needs to get even more from her this year. Fantanarosa described Stewart as being too unselfish in her point guard role and wants to see Jamie, who hit 39.6% of her 3-point tries last year, shooting the ball more this season. 1997 All-Star Jenny Martin (Center Grove) averaged 14 minutes a game last year as a freshman and will probably be the first player off the bench. Miami needs Martin's all-out hustle and sound fundamentals in the lineup. Lapel's Lindsay Winkler has gotten preciously few minutes in her first two years in Oxford but that should change this year. Fantanarosa described Winkler as "one of those players who will basically walk through walls for you". She's one of only two RedHawks 6-foot or taller.

If you'd like to follow the RedHawks this season, you can view their web site at http://www.muohio.edu/sportsreport/Basketball.html.


News thru Friday, October 30, 1998

Today, the Kokomo Tribune is carrying an article about Kokomo senior Tia Davis (5'9" G/F) and her choice to attend Toledo of Ohio. The most interesting aspect of the article dealt with the fact that because Tia excels in academics as well as athletics, she had more options open to her in the college selection process. Something for all of you players out there to keep in mind.


Speaking of the college selection process, we hope all of you will drop in at our new College Bound area at the Region Roundball Review. You will find some truly helpful information there if you or someone you know is considering pursuing college basketball scholarship opportunities. There are a lot of features there that are interesting to the non-college bound as well, including some great links to Indiana college women's programs, and a listing of all of the seniors who have made verbal commitments. If you get a chance, hop over and take a look.
University of Southern Indiana senior
Cathy Tepool ('94 North Posey) will most likely be missing her senior year of college basketball. Tepool, the Lady Eagles 6'1" starting center, is still recovering from back surgery she had this summer to correct a lingering back problem she has endured since her freshman year at USI. Although it was known early on that Tepool would not be able to play, her teammates voted her in as a team co-captain for the upcoming season. Coach Chancellor Dugan will be looking to sophomore Leah Mercer (5'11'' Evansville North) and freshman Casey Hughes (5'10" North Knox) to fill in for Tepool. USI is looking for their fourth consecutive conference championship this season in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. They are also hoping to repeat their successful season of 1996-97, when they reached the championship game of the NCAA Division II Tournament.

News thru Thursday, October 29, 1998

Several days into the practice season, Hanover Central girls varsity coach Tim O'Connor was mysteriously relieved of his coaching duties. When the JV coach quit due to being passed over for the head coaching job, the Wildcats were left without a coach for the upcoming season. Former Hebron boys coach Denny Foster heard about the opening, decided to take and shot and was hired Tuesday to pick up the girls coaching duties. Foster, who still teaches at Hebron, was the boys coach there for 12 years before being let go this past May. His record at Hebron was 161-110, and he enjoyed boys sectional title wins in 1990 and 1994. The Hanover Central girls program has enjoyed success of its own the past few years behind the efforts of long-time coach Terry Heldt, who quit before last season due to the stress of holding down a demanding outside job and trying to administer his coaching responsibilities. The Wildcats finished 14-7 last season and are expected to be strong again this year, especially with the addition of top freshman Julie Moniak (5'11" G/F) to the roster. Hanover Central lost to North Newton in the 2A Sectional semi-final to end their season last February.


There is an interesting article in the Purdue Exponent about Kelly Komara (Lake Central) and her expected contributions to the Boilermaker's bid for a Final Four appearance this year. Many comparisons are made between Kelly and Purdue senior Stephanie White-McCarty (Seeger) and how their careers have pretty much paralelled one another over the years. Worth a read.
The Valparaiso University women's program finds themselves in a novel situation in the pre-season as the top vote-getter in the Mid-Continent Conference women's poll. Valpo U began an intensive recruiting effort three years ago, and it is starting to finally pay off. That initial recruiting class included
Sarrah Stricklett (Valparaiso) and Megan Newcomer (Northwood). Also now playing for the Crusaders is 1995 Miss Basketball Lisa Winter (Huntington North) who transferred from Ball State to VU after her freshman year. The Crusaders made it to the championship game of the Mid-Continent Conference tournament last season, losing to champion Youngstown State. IUPUI, also in the Mid-Con, was ranked 7th in the pre-season poll.

News thru Wednesday, October 28, 1998

In my haste to get news posted yesterday, I failed to point out that Valparaiso will not be hosting a regional this year. Northwood will be the new regional host for 4A Sectionals 3 (Portage) and 4 (S. Bend Adams), and 3A Sectionals 19 (Plymouth) and 20 (Wawasee). Also, if you would like to see the AP article that has appeared in several publications about the tournament changes, including comments from the IHSAA, we have linked the Indy Star story for you to read first hand.


For all of you players out there that have been told that you're too short or small to play college basketball, let alone Division I basketball, take heart in the career of Indiana University's Kristi Green. At 5'2", Green is the shortest player in the Big Ten, but was the Hoosier's leading 3-point leader and had the second-highest scoring average for the Hoosiers last season. At the point, the former standout from Jennings County High School sees a lot of time on the hardwood and enjoys her role as floor leader. She is truly an inspiration for the diminutive basketball player who is determined to excel. If you'd like to read more about Green, go to the Bloomington Hoosier Times article where she is featured.

News thru Tuesday, October 27, 1998

The IHSAA has released the assignment of school sites for the 1999 Girls State Basketball Tournament and has adjusted the format of the tournament at the regional level. Instead of 32 one-game regionals, there will be 16 two-game regionals, with a combination of class entries at each site. At Merrillville, the 4A sectional winners from Merrillville and Hammond Morton will play at 2:00 in the afternoon, and then the 3A sectional winners from Calumet and Benton Central will play 20 minutes after the presentation of awards from the first game. It is unclear why these games are not being played in the evening, which will certainly be a change of atmosphere for the regionals altogether. It is also ironic that at a time when the executive members of the IHSAA are vocally supporting the scheduling equity philosophy for girls games to be played on Saturday evenings instead of Saturday afternoons, they themselves have assigned some of the most important games of the season for afternoon instead of evening. (Could it be that there is a concern about conflicting with some regular season boys games that will be played that evening? This is certinaly NOT the way to correct the conflict!) Some other changes to the tournament include the location of sites, including sites of all North Semi-State games for all classes. The 4A North Semi-State has been moved from Kokomo to Warsaw, the 3A from Warsaw to Peru, the 2A from Logansport to Maconaquah, and the 1A from Huntington North to Triton. The state finals will again be at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. If you would like to see all of the listings, which includes some changes for sectional and regional sites as well, you can go directly to the IHSAA release.


If you haven't already read it on the Indiana's Game fan forum, our IIBWA network partner, Chris Cammack, is reporting that the Hoosier Basketball Magazine, bible of high school girls and boys basketball fans, will be hitting the news stands in the Indianapolis area this weekend. The far reaches of the state (including NWI) should expect to see it the following week. If you already sent in your order, you may receive your copy by mail early next week. If not, you'll have to wait to shell out your $5.00 until it's at a grocery or drug store near you.
For those of you who have not visited Chris Cammack's web site, the Southeastern Indiana Sports Journal, we suggest you take a look. Chris covers both girls and boys basketball in the southern end of the state, and does a fine job of it. Drop by and sign his guestbook while you're there. Also, I would suggest hopping over to Randy Beckett's Fifth Quarter, where he has written an extensive article about the four top candidates for 1999 Miss Basketball honor this season. It is definitely worth a read.

News thru Monday, October 26, 1998

Three AAU Terre Haute Hoosier Hotshots teammates, who are freshmen this year, are expected to make an impact for their teams in the Wabash River Conference (south of Lafayette). Candace Dark (5'9" G/F) will be making her first appearance in the high school ranks for the 2A Fountain Central Mustangs. Candace is an off-guard with great athletic ability, outstanding passing and shooting skills, and savvy court sense. Her impact for the rebuilding Mustangs should be immediate, as she is considered one of the strongest freshmen coming onto the high school scene this year. At Turkey Run, Bridget Branson (5'11" F/C) will make her presence known for the 1A Warriors. Bridget is a smooth presence in the paint and has a soft touch around the basket. She has a knack for getting her hands on the ball, whether off the long pass or a wayward bounce off the rim. At 1A North Vermillion, freshman Ashley Hughes (5'6" G) should establish herself right away as an integral part of the Falcon offense. She's deadly from outside, reads the floor well, and knows how to get the ball to the open play. Hughes teaming up with 1999 All-Star candidate senior Kristy Thomann (5'11" F), will make North Vermillion one of the favorites for the conference crown. Interesting conference matchups for North Vermillion in the upcoming season include Turkey Run on November 24, and Fountain Central on December 10 and January 7. To make this conference even more interesting, watch for 2A Seeger to challenge with junior Stacey White (5'11" G/F), talented sister of Purdue's Stephanie White-McCarty. (Thanks to North Vermillion fan Jeff Crowder for game dates.)


According to Fast Break, Louisiana Tech senior Monica Maxwell (5'9" East Chicago) was named to the Naismith Award pre-season candidate list. Maxwell, who was a part of the outstanding East Chicago Cardinal team ranked nationally in 1994 by USA Today, averaged 11.9 ppg and 6.4 rpg for the 1997-98 season. Louisiana Tech made it to the 1998 NCAA Final Four, but fell to unbeatable Tennessee in the national championship game. You can see Monica and the Lady Techsters on national TV this year on November 30 (ESPN2) when they take on Tennessee for a rematch of that championship game. You can see Monica locally when she and her Louisiana Tech team play at Market Square Arena against Purdue on December 19 in the State Farm Classic. And if you'd like to follow Monica and the Lady Techsters' this upcoming season, bookmark the Louisiana Tech women's basketball home page.
Over the weekend, an article in the Post-Tribune appeared locally about Purdue freshman Kelly Komara (Lake Central) and her views on the Purdue women's basketball season. According to many observers, Kelly made quite an impression with the fans at the Purdue Midnight Madness a weekend ago with her outstanding ball handling and outside shooting skills. Purdue is the odds-on favorite to win the Big Ten this season. Watch for Kelly to contribute off the bench for guards Stephanie White-McCarty and Ukari Figgs, who were both recently named to the pre-season Big Ten First Team.

News thru Thursday, October 22, 1998

According to a knowledgeable source, senior guard Tia Davis (5'9") of Kokomo has verbally committed to the University of Toledo. Tia had shortened her list to Rhode Island, James Madison and Toledo, and although she was heavily recruited by James Madison, the Toledo Rockets got the nod. Tia will join Toledo freshmen Kristin Wischmeier (Brownstown Central) and Courtney Risinger (Terre Haute South) on the court at Toledo next year. Last year, the Rockets posted a 24-7 record, won the Mid-American Conference West Divison Championship and earned a berth in the NIT. The Toledo women's program has been in nine post season national tournaments within the past 10 years. Interestingly, Tia will be playing against her Kokomo teammate Heather Cusick (5'8" G) next year at Toledo. Cusick just recently committed to Miami University of Ohio, which is on the Toledo conference schedule.


The Bloomington Hoosier Times is reporting that Bloomington North standout Nok Duany (6'0" F) has chosen to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., on a basketball scholarship. Duany is the fourth member of her family to receive a Division I basketball scholarship. She has siblings currently playing at Wisconsin, Bradley and Syracuse. Nok will look to give the Hoyas some help in the post, as Georgetown was 9-19 for the 1997-98 season.

News thru Wednesday, October 21, 1998

3A Indianapolis Cathedral sophomore Jill Corbett (5'10" G) has been named to the Indianapolis All-City Soccer team for the second year in a row. Last year as a freshman, Jill was named City Soccer Player of the Year. Although Cathedral was ranked 8th in this year's final Indiana coaches' soccer poll, they were recently eliminated in sectional play. That means Jill is now back on the hardwood practicing with her basketball team. This season, the Irish will be looking to reinstate their six-year sectional run of 1992-1997 with some talented individuals, including Corbett, sophomore Asjah Zinnerman (5'5" G), senior Beth Roederer (5'10" G/F), and senior Jennifer Callier (6'3" C). Zinnerman will bring some high-level experience to her high school game this season after playing with The Family AAU team that placed 5th in the nation this past summer at the 14U AAU National Tournament in Lafayette, Louisiana. Senior Roederer has verbally committed to play at the Miami University of Ohio next year and teammate Callier has verbally committed to play at Michigan State.

(Please note: If you are aware of any other notable basketball players who are receiving all-team honors in fall sports, please e-mail us with your information, and we will post it here.)


3A Northwood's Amy Zercher (5'10" G) is featured in an in-depth article found at the Goshen News. Amy verbally committed to Ball State University after considering offers from Valparaiso University and University of Toledo. Amy not only excels in basketball, but in the classroom as well, where she is tied for valedictorian honors so far this year with teammate Natalie Will (5'9" G/F) with a 4.0 GPA. The Panthers will be looking to make a fourth straight semi-state appearance in the IHSAA tournament next February.
There is a nice feature article about 2A Bluffton in the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette that is certainly worth a read. The Bluffton Tigers, who were runners-up in the 2A state finals last season, are starting out 1998-99 with a new coach--well, kind of new, anyway. Last year's assistant coach, Vicki Van Matre, is stepping into the head job after head coach Ron DeWitt left coaching to get some rest from his double duties as coach and Bluffton athletic director. Although the Tigers return some key players in Jill Shanklin (6'0" C) and Natalie Ballinger (5'11" F), it is questionable if Bluffton will be able to repeat last year's exciting tournament run without standout graduate Abby Salscheider (5'11" F), who now in practice for her first college basketball season at Division I Michigan State University.
Columbus Multimedia has released its pre-season poll for 1998-99 Division III women's basketball. Logging in at 7th place are the DePauw University Tigers of Greencastle. De Pauw was the Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament champ last year and qualified for Division III NCAA tournament play. However, they were elimiated in the sectional final by this year's 4th-ranked University of St. Thomas. Former Indiana high school players that played for the 1997-98 Tigers include Kristin Rhinehart (Valparaiso), Meagan Jennings (Connersville), Erin Wolfe (Plainfield), Susan Bender (Roncalli), Kelly Morrison (Huntington North), Ann Hall (Triton), Mary Hand (Zionsville), Amy Hasbrook (Indianapolis Cathedral), Dona Hasket (Brownsburg), Amie Williams (Waldron), Kelly Bailey (Carroll) and Amanda Hall (Kankakee Valley).

News thru Tuesday, October 20, 1998

Although she had not yet completed the scheduled round of visits to the schools on her short list, 4A Valparaiso senior Jeanette Gray (5'10" F) made a verbal commitment Sunday evening to play at hometown Division I Valparaiso University next year. Even before visiting the campus this past weekend, Jeanette knew where she wanted to be next year, but wanted to wait until after the visit was over to reaffirm her choice. Late Sunday evening after the tour, which included VU's Midnight Madness celebration, she went to tell coach Keith Freeman and assistant Tracy Roller that her mind was made up. Jeanette will join several formal Valpo H. S. teammates at VU, including Sarah Stricklett, Beth Goldman and Allison Kissinger. Jeanette will be no stranger to the personnel at Valpo, as she played with VU's team at open gym over the summer. Jeanette's short list also included the University of Toledo, Purdue University (who she was supposed to visit this weekend), and the Air Force Academy. Valpo girls basketball fans, including her happy parents, will enjoy watching Jeanette play close to home for the next five seasons.


The Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette is listing their pre-season Top 5 for the Ft. Wayne area in a short girls basketball preview piece. From top to bottom:

1. Snider
2. Homestead
3. Huntington North
4. DeKalb
5. Leo

Snider made a semi-state appearance last year at Kokomo, and defeated Valparaiso in a double-overtime thriller, only to lose to Lake Central in the semi-state final.

News thru Monday, October 19, 1998

IT'S FINALLY HERE!!!

Indiana high school girls basketball is officially in-season, and it looks to be another exciting year for Indiana fans. Locally, Gary West Side held it's long-time traditional Midnight Madness practice at the Gary West Side gym late last night and early this morning. Players, parents and fans were all included with a pre-practice get-together starting at 9:00 p.m., and then at 12:01 a.m., the Cougars took the floor for the first practice of the season. West Side looks to have a great shot at getting to the semi-state this year. With only one senior lost to graduation, Coach Rod Fisher is happy to see a tournament-seasoned group returning to the hardwood after last season's appearance at the Merrillville Regional. Although they lost to eventual state championship finalist Lake Central, Gary West proved that good things are yet to come by giving Lake Central everything they could handle before the final regional buzzer. Leading the way for the Cougars this season will be senior standout and Junior All-Star Kristin Cheairs (5'7" 2G). Kristin had a great AAU season this past summer and was invited to the prestigious WBCA Summer Camp in Chicago as one of the best 85 seniors in the nation. She also played on the team representing Indiana in the Junior Nationals in Washington, D.C. She will most likely be joined by senior Tamara Somerville (5'6") at the point, junior Megan Yancey (6'0") at center, sophomore Kim Smith (6'0") at power forward, and Tahkisha Sweezer (5'7") at the wing position in the starting lineup for the Cougars.


Previewing the 4A Sectionals in NWI early in the season, Gary West Side should be the outright favorite in Sectional 1, with little to challenge them otherwise.

In Sectional 2, a big question mark best describes the favorite after last year's hands-down favorite, Lake Central, lost most of its talent to graduation and the college ranks. However, that does not mean that there is no strength in Sectional 2. The talent is strong, but now more evenly spread around, which means the favorite is likely to emerge far into the season schedule.

In Sectional 3, Hobart and Valparaiso look to be the odds-on favorites, although Chesterton, Portage and LaPorte will make a tough go of it for the eventual sectional champion. This most definitely is the toughest sectional in NWI this season, with two strong teams and several wild cards. This sectional features two Indiana All-Star candidates in Valparaiso's Jeanette Gray and Chesterton's Jackie Campbell.


Several publications are reporting that 6'5" Purdue freshman Mary Jo Noon (Jeffersonville) may be sidelined until mid-December as a result of stress fractures in her foot, an aggravated injury she has been dealing with since the Indiana All-Star games. Noon had surgery on the foot on October 2, which required the use of metal screws to help heal the injury. The loss of Noon in the early going will be unfortunate for Purdue, as they will be seeing some tough competition early on, including 1998 NCAA Champion Tennessee in their opener on November 15 at Mackey Arena.

News thru Thursday, October 15, 1998

The Purdue Exponent is reporting that former Purdue head coach, Nell Fortner, is trying to work out a deal with the Purdue athletic office that would let her return to Purdue and the collegiate coaching ranks for the 2000-01 school year. Fortner, who coached at Purdue for one season as head coach in 1996-97, left to coach the U. S. National Women's Team in the 2000 Olympics in Australia. Purdue would like to bring a quick end to the replacement search for departing head coach Carolyn Peck, because a number of high school senior recruits have passed up Purdue as a viable option as of late. Not knowing who will be coaching at Purdue next year is too big a hurdle for most recruits to overcome in the commitment process. Senior standout Kennitra Johnson (New Albany) passed up the Purdue program in favor of Connecticut for that very reason. The arrangement to return Fortner to Purdue might include letting her oversee the Purdue women's program from her USA Basketball post while an interim coach temporarily holds things together for the 1999-2000 basketball season. Interestingly, Purdue has also shown an interest in hiring Colorado State head coach Tom Collen, who at one time was a Boilermaker assistant coach. This would be a real twist of fate for Indiana high school seniors Jackie Campbell (Chesterton) and Elizabeth English (Rushville), who within the past few weeks made verbal commitments to attend Colorado State next year. This has to be unsettling for both as the early signing period quickly approaches. If you'd like to read the entire Exponent story, you can get there from here.


Word has it that Logansport point guard, Amy Muelhausen (5'8"), has been offered a basketball scholarship to play with the Division I Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Jaguars next year. Amy has been a staple of the Logansport Berries varsity team for some time, where she has displayed outstanding ball-handling and defensive skills. It is uncertain at this time if Amy will be accepting IUPUI's offer. (In case anyone lost any sleep over this item as it was previously posted, my apologies for listing IUPUI as a Division II school. IUPUI is going Division I as of 12:01 on October 17, as was quickly pointed out by someone who thought we should know better. What can I say? We can't all be perfect... )
Former Indiana Miss Basketball and Purdue senior Stephanie White (Seeger) was nominated this week as a candidate for the Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award. She follows in nomination votes behind Tennessee senior and 1998 Naismith winner Chamique Holdsclaw, Alabama senior Dominique Canty, and Tennessee sophomore Tamika Catchings. The voting body for the Naismith Award is composed of leading basketball coaches, journalists and administrators.
After all the news coverage the last two years from their back-to-back state championship run, the Martinsville Lady Arties are in the news again. The Indy Star ran a feature piece today on senior standout Cortney Cooper (5'10" F), who seems to have it all, including offers to model at $200 per hour. The Martinsville Reporter also ran a feature story on former Lady Artesian Kristen Bodine (5'11" PG), who will be playing for the Butler University Bulldogs during the upcoming college basketball season. And last, but certainly not least, you can watch state championship basketball team member and golf titleist Leigh Ann Hardin on ESPN on Monday, October 19 at 2:00 p.m., when she will be highlighted on ESPN's Scholastic Sports America, covering high school athletes. You might notice that we do not list Leigh Ann's height or basketball position. That is because the Martinsville junior just recently decided to forego high school basketball in order to concentrate on her promising golf career.
The Women's Basketball Coaching Association has announced its WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll for college women's basketball. In Division I, Butler University (Indianapolis) was ranked 3rd with a team GPA of 3.362. In Division II, St. Joseph's College (Rensselaer) was ranked 7th, with a team GPA of 3.412. And in the NAIA, Huntington College (Huntington) was ranked 4th with a team GPA of 3.480.

News thru Wednesday, October 14, 1998

The girls team at Lafayette Central Catholic is walking a lighter step this week, as CC has finally named a replacement just one week before the first practice of the upcoming season. Former CC girls coach Ann Hensley recently left to take an assistant position at her alma mater, the University of Indianapolis. As reported in the Lafayette Journal and Courier, Alan Schrope, who served as freshman and varsity assistant coach at Lafayette Harrison last season, will be taking on the head coaching responsibilities at CC, hopefully for the long term. Schrope will be the fourth coach in four years for the Knights. A promise of longevity was important to the CC Athletic Director, and Schrope has made a promise to stay and "build a tradition." Although Schrope has no varsity coaching experience, he is a dedicated student of the game, having watched the coaching styles and strategies of the Purdue women's program as the team's manager for two years. He also helped start the Harrison AAU girls basketball team last year.


As we head toward the first week of practice for the 1998-99 girls basketball season, many coaches and players are facing the annual guessing game of who will be there for that first Monday of practice and for the few weeks following. With many of the fall sports winding up their seasons, multi-sport players are being released on a daily basis as their fall sports teams are being eliminated in tournament play. For schools with a variety of strong girls programs, sometimes those players won't be released until long after the start of the practice schedule. Although girls golf clears its state tournament schedule before the first day of basketball practice, soccer doesn't finish until October 31, and cross-country and volleyball don't finish until November 7, which is just two days before the first official day of games. A difficult situation for coaches and teams who are waiting for key players to get the required number of practices in before they can officially suit up. Schools with strong girls basketball programs and state-ranked fall teams, among others, are Lake Central (soccer), Andrean (volleyball, soccer but already eliminated), Center Grove (volleyball, soccer, cross-country), New Albany (volleyball, cross-country), and Columbus East (volleyball).
The All Star Girls Report is listing New Albany's Kennitra Johnson 10th and Connersville's April McDivitt 13th in it's national rankings of 1998-99 top high school players. The 1999 Miss Indiana Basketball race is bound to be a very close one and will probably be decided by a single season of play for these two outstanding players.
Purdue University Calumet in Hammond recently announced its Athletic Director's Honor Roll. Sophomore Nikki Kolodziej (5'10" C/F North Newton) and senior Rita Harper (6'1" C Gary West Side) are both listed.
Indiana University is gearing up for the college season, but with a big question mark as to who will fill in for last year's departing go-to center, Quacy Barnes, who averaged 18 ppg last year for the Hoosiers and is now with the WNBA. A possible contender for the center position will be incoming freshman Jill Chapman, a 6'5" former Blackford High School star. Jill gets high pre-season remarks from IU head coach Jim Izard, who says that she is further along in her development than Barnes was her freshman year. During her high school career, Chapman was all-conference and all-sectional three times and averaged double figures in both scoring and rebounding. Adding to the chemistry of this year's team will be new assistant coach Jennifer Jacoby, a former Miss Indiana Basketball and Rossville High School and Purdue standout. With an additional two years playing experience for the Portland Power in the ABL, Jennifer will bring a tremendous amount of personal playing experience to the coaching table. She will be working with the Hoosier backcourt for Coach Izard. IU finished tied for third in the Big Ten with Purdue and Michigan last season, and finished the season with an overall record of 19-10. IU will open the 1998-99 season at home while hosting Cincinnati in the first round of the 1998 Pre-Season WNIT Tournament on November 13 at 7:30 p.m.

News thru Sunday, October 11, 1998

According to e-mail we received today from someone in the know, Kokomo senior Heather Cusik (5'8" G) has made a verbal commitment to attend Miami of Ohio in Oxford next year. She will be playing for first-year Miami head coach Maria Fantanarosa, formerly of Western Carolina. Heather was also being recruited by Butler, Central Michigan, Central Florida and Middle Tennessee State.


The Tippecanoe School Corporation has officially announced that McCutcheon girls varsity coach, Don Burton, will continue his coaching duties for the upcoming season, although he has received a letter of reprimand laying out 13 directives for improved performance during the school year. A five-month investigation costing over $9,000 determined that Burton was found to have violated two school policies, including using students to do personal errands and requiring a basketball manager to run laps without a physical consent form. However, the investigation did not uphold the claims of physical and mental abuse brought by a group of player parents. Burton will meet with McCutcheon's principal and athletic director to review whether or not the board's directives are being adhered to by Burton. He will also undergo the school's regular performance evaluation at the conclusion of the basketball season. Fortunately for the players at McCutcheon, this issue has been laid to rest before the basketball season officialy begins one week from tomorrow. Burton will begin his 10th season as girls varsity basketball coach at McCutcheon on that day.

News thru Friday, October 9, 1998

The Northwest Indiana Lake Athletic Conference (LAC), which has a membership of 13 schools including Highland, Andrean, Munster and Lowell, has adopted a mandate for scheduling equity for boys and girls basketball this season. Both boys and girls teams will play conference games on a prescribed number of days--four Thursday night games, five Friday night games, and three Saturday night games. Schools are allowed the flexibility to move the Thursday night games to Friday night boys/girls double-headers. According to an article in The Times, Lowell coach Patti McCormack objected to her AD when the LAC initially wanted to play all girls conference games on Thursday nights. The Lowell AD brought McCormack's concerns to the LAC membership, one thing led to another, and the resulting conference mandate has been put into place. The Duneland Athletic Conference, which has a membership of 8 schools including Crown Point, Valparaiso, Hobart, Chesterton and LaPorte, will be implementing equity scheduling for the 1999-00 season with alternating Friday and Saturday night conference games.


The Women's Basketball Journal (WBJ) yesterday announced their 1998-99 Top 25 preseason college rankings and All-American teams for the upcoming college season. Purdue fans will be pleased to see the Lady Boilermakers ranked third in the nation. They fall in behind No. 1 ranked Tennessee and No. 2 Louisiana Tech. UCLA and Connecticut round out the top five picks for the WBJ. Also ranked at No. 10 from the Hoosier state is Notre Dame. Purdue's senior standout Stephanie White (Seeger) is on the WBJ Pre-Season All-American 1st Team with some prestigious company, including Tennessee senior Chamique Holdsclaw and sophomore Tamika Catchings, Memphis senior Tamika Whitmore, and Colorado State senior Becky Hammon. Notre Dame's 6'5" sophomore Ruth Riley (North Miami) was selected 3rd Team All-American and Northwestern senior Kristina Divjak (Lake Central), was selected 4th Team. For anyone interested in reading a little more about the two 1st Team All-American teammates from Tennessee, we found this interesting article at The Hoosier Times out of Bloomington.

News thru Thursday, October 8, 1998

Word to the Region Roundball Review is that 4A Valparaiso senior standout and 17U National AAU All-American, Jeanette Gray (5'10" F), has narrowed her field of college choices from six to four after officially removing Princeton and Colorado State from her short list. Jeanette will be visiting the four remaining schools during the month of October, with trips to the University of Toledo (October 10), Valparaiso University (October 17), Purdue University (October 24) and the Air Force Academy (October 30). Purdue, who has been interested in Jeanette since her outstanding play this summer with AAU teammate and Purdue freshman Kelly Komara, may be at jeapordy in the selection process due to the coaching uncertainties there. How that situation will affect Jeanette's final choice is unclear at this point. However, Jeanette is expected to make the final decision as to where she will continue her education and basketball career during the first week in November. 


Opportunities for players to be noticed by college recruiters come in different ways. For some, its traveling miles and miles to the AAU nationals or high-profile exposure camps. For talented junior point guard Erin Sampsel (5'11") of Valparaiso, its by going to summer open gym at her own high school. That's where she was noticed by coaches from the University of Toledo and Valparaiso University, who were making visits to watch senior teammate Jeanette Gray. This opportunity is somewhat a double-edged sword for Erin, however, due to the fact that when Jeanette does make her final college choice, colleges that unsuccessfully recruited Jeanette will not be able to view her (and therefore Erin) in person as it would be a violation of NCAA rules. During that time, those colleges will have to settle for video tape of Erin only. Still a pretty tolerable situation for her in the overall scheme of things. By the way, Erin is also hearing from the very interested coaches at Cincinnati, who are keeping in touch with her on a regular basis. (Interesting Side Note: Jeanette Gray may have also benefitted from a former Valpo player who directed the University of Toledo her way. Dana Drew, former early '90s Valpo standout and sister of Bryce Drew--who made "The Shot" in the last NCAA tournament and is now a Houston Rocket--played during her  college years at the U of T.) 
Late update for today:  Loyola Academy's Olga Gvozdenovic (try saying that three times--if at all)  verbally committed to Duke University on Wednesday. The 6'2" center is the central threat for the Ramblers, who have won back-to-back state championships in the Illinois AA division the past two years. Olga's short list also included De Paul and Notre Dame, and she was also considering Purdue at one juncture. Gvozdenovic is also an accomplished tennis player,  placing third in the Illinois state high school tennis tournament last fall. She will be playing tennis for the  Blue Devils next year as well. We saw Olga at the Chicagoland Classic last January when they played Lake Central, and we thought she was a very nice player. She did not have her best game against the Indians, but you could tell the talent was definitely there. Lake Central's Indiana-style basketball seemed to take Loyola out of their game. I believe the loss to Lake Central was the only one Loyola has had for the past two years.
If you haven't already taken a look, check out our Where Are They Now? area, where we have (finally!) posted our first feature article about a great past Indiana high school girls player from the mid-1980s, Crown Point's Anne Kvachkoff. Anne was the two-time State Final Four MVP in 1984 and 1985, when Crown Point made it's fantastic back-to-back state championship run. If you know of someone who might be interested in being featured in our next piece, please e-mail us with the pertinent information. Thanks. 
The Region Roundball Review has rolled over the 5,000 visitor mark on the "hit" parade today. Thanks to all who have become regular visitors to the Review. We are looking forward to an exciting basketball season and hope to keep all of you completely updated on the girls basketball happenings in Northwest Indiana and around the state.
 

News thru Tuesday, October 6, 1998

When we heard from 4A South Bend Riley coach Mike Megyesi a couple of months ago about sophomore point guard transfer Christa Ragukonis (5'9"), we thought he seemed pretty enthusiastic about her. Now we understand why. Christa is the daughter of Frank Ragukonis, the newly hired Director of Education for the Mishawaka-based Hoops, Etc., which just opened one year ago. According to the South Bend Tribune, the elder Ragukonis brings with him an incredibly impressive background in the basketball consulting business. His credentials include working with Al Rhodes (state champion Warsaw H. S. coach), authoring with Rhodes the well-known instructional basketball video, "A Boy, A Ball and A Dream," and working instructionally with NBA players Grant Hill and Christian Laettner, and Purdue's Jaraan Cornell. He also names college men's coaches Gene Keady (Purdue) and Dean Smith (North Carolina) on his list of references. Coach Megyesi tells us that Christa receives lots of one-on-one instruction from her dad, and apparently it's paid off. Christa comes to the South Bend Riley program with averages of 17 ppg and 8 rpg as a freshman point guard in Wilmington, North Carolina, where Ragukonis had moved his consulting business for a time. But now they're back and Coach Megyesi is smiling. With standout senior Erin Miller, South Bend Riley should be optimistic coming into the season. 


Former West Side player, Brea Gates (5'6" G), recently transferred from University of Tennessee-Martin to Purdue University Calumet. She will be playing for the PUC Lady Lakers this season with former West Side teammate Rita Harper, who tore up the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference with Player of the Year and NAIA Division I All-American 3rd Team honors last season. Harper averaged 20.5 ppg and 7.6 rpg last season. These two will also be joined by Northwest Indiana former high school players Amanda Stutler (5'9" Hobart), Kelly Rich (5'10" Portage), Emily Schwoegler (5'8" Chesterton), Megan Smith (5'7" Wheeler), Christina Chandler (5'5" Portage), Dawn Czany (5'8" Lake Central), Renee Boryla (5'10" Lake Central), Trya Poe (6'1" Gary) and Nikki Kolodziej (5'10" North Newton). The Lady Lakers were 25-4 last year and were co-champions of the CCAC. 
Former North Central standout and 1998 Indiana All-Star,
Kyle Black (5'11" G), is a member of the 1998-99 University of Wisconsin freshman recruiting class that was ranked 10th best in the nation by the Basketball Times. Black should find her college games at Wisconsin to be exciting, as the Badgers have led the Big Ten Conference in attendance for the past three years. Last season, the attendance averaged 10,455 fans per game, which was also the third highest attendance rate nationally. 
According to word from Fast Break, Purdue is at the top of the list for 6'2" forward/center
Elisa Inman from Wadsworth High School in Columbus, Ohio. Inman has Purdue leading her short list of schools, which also includes South Carolina, Michigan, Duke, Princeton and Rice.
 

News thru Monday, October 5, 1998

Today marks exactly two weeks until the start of the official girls basketball season. We will be fine-tuning our site in preparation for the impending competitive season with some finishing touches in our game reporting area. We're hoping to make that area as self-supporting as possible so that when anyone posts a score or quick game report, everyone can see those game results without waiting for the Region Roundball Review staffers (all two of us) to get back from whatever game we may be attending to post the info. If we all pitch in with game scores and reports, none of us will have to wait for the morning papers to get all the latest results. Narratives and highlights will be welcomed, which will hopefully give us some insight that box scores may not cover in the local papers. Please stay tuned for the particulars on the activation of the game reporting area. If you think you would like to help us out with game scores this season, please e-mail us so that we can put you on our list of "field reporters" at the appropriate time. Thanks. 


Former Huntington North High School and Ball State University standout, Jenny Eckert, will be inducted into the BSU Athletics Hall of Fame on October 16. In 1986, Eckert was the first Indiana All-Star and first Division I player to come out of Huntington North. At Ball State, Eckert was BSU's first women's player ever to be named Mid-American Conference (MAC) Most Valuable Player, and even upped that honor by later being named MAC Player of the Decade. Although Eckert ended her college career in 1990, she still plays competitively in 3-on-3 tournaments and is seriously considering taking a shot at the new women's professional leagues. 
With just two weeks to go before the beginning of the girls basketball season, players at 4A McCutcheon High School are facing an uncertain start. According to an article in the Lafayette Journal and Courier, the position of successful nine-year head coach
Don Burton is being reviewed by the Tippecanoe School Corporation in response to allegations by a group of last year's player parents of verbal and psychological abuse to players and managers. An independent investigator was hired by the school corporation to carry out the investigation. Although the complaints were made immediately after the end of last season, the possibility of a coaching change at this point in the school year is quite incredibly bad timing for a program coming off of an impressive appearance in last season's Kokomo semi-state. It is uncertain at this time what the outcome will be, but it is expected that the school board may make mention of the matter at its next board meeting on October 13. This late in the school year, coaching changes, if determined necessary, will be difficult for all concerned. Hopefully for the Maverick players and basketball staff, this stressful and unfortunate situation will be resolved before the official season begins. 
During the course of the upcoming season, we will be creating a new area on our site that we hope will be helpful to players and parents who are uncertain about the college recruiting process. We at the Region Roundball Review will be learning along with everyone else by putting together a list of links with helpful information, including NCAA recruiting rules, the official recruiting calendar, recruiting resources and other information. What we hope will be the most valuable resource to players and parents is an idea offered up by one of our good Internet friends. He suggests that we follow the recruiting process of four players (senior, junior, sophomore, freshman) through an on-line recruiting diary kept for each player. The identies of these young ladies will remain anonymous, however, we hope that by following their experiences over the coming months (and possibly years), many players and their families will benefit from a more personal take on the recruiting process. We will also be setting up a message board in this area for anyone to ask recruiting questions or share their own recruiting experiences with others. If you have any further suggestions for this area, please write us with your ideas. This feature will probably not be complete until sometime after the start of the competitive season, but we'll be activating portions of it as we move along toward its completion. 
We've added a new link to our Best Basketball links web page. It is called Fast Break, and covers high school girls and women's basketball. This is a great site with high school and AAU news, including rankings of the nation's Top 70 Seniors, Top 50 Juniors, Top 50 Sophomores, and Top 10 High Schools. (Last time I checked, the last three were not yet completed but are expected to be posted soon.) This site has very thoughtful reviews and is a great resource for college recruiting news. Be sure to check out the "New Articles" area at Fast Break for the latest updates on that site.
 
Pat McKee, Chair of the Indiana Association AAU Girls Basketball Committee, has requested that the Region Roundball Review post the following AAU news:

Honorees at the 1998 Indiana Association AAU Awards Luncheon at 2 pm Sunday, October 25 at Primo's Banquet Hall at I-65 and South Keystone in Indianapolis will be: 10U - Mara Freshour (Indiana's Finest); 11U - Janese Banks (The Family, Too); 12U - Ashley Hayes (Carver Kats); 13U - Katie Gearlds (Indiana's Finest); 14U - Shanna Zolman (Fort Wayne Orthopedics); 15U - Abby Scharlow (New Albany Pointmakers); 16U - Jill Hartman (Indiana's Finest Black, AAU National All-American); 17U - Jeanette Gray (Mohr Magic, AAU National All-American), April McDivitt (Indiana's Finest Black, AAU National All-American), Amy Wright (Mohr Magic, AAU National All-American); and 18U - Vnemina Reese (Lady Legit, AAU National All-American). Outstanding Senior Award: Amy Wright (Mohr Magic) - Amy has been on teams that won Indiana AAU championships in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1998. Her 1997 team finished third. Amy's teams finished fourth, seventh, first, fifth, sencond, and fourth in Nationals. Amy was selected an AAU All-American in 1993 and 1998.

NEWS FROM AAU MEETING

* Patrick McKee of Indianapolis was re-elected Chair of the Indiana Association AAU Girls Basketball Committee. * Regional Selections: NORTH - Dan Willett of Chesterton and Kim Bilskie of Monticello; CENTRAL - Mike Armstrong of Indianapolis and Teressa Lewis of Whitestown; SOUTH - Criss Beyers of Bloomington and Walt Raines of Franklin. Five of the six board members are high school varsity head coaches -- Bilskie at Twin Lakes, Armstrong at Perry Meridian, Lewis at Brebeuf Jesuit, Beyers at Bloomington South, & Raines at Franklin.

* Entry fees for the 1999 tournaments will be $175 per tournament, up $25 from the $150 of the last several years. The added fee is to help pay for anticipated increase in officiating costs as well as the tremendous number of added games at the State Finals, since those are played all the way out to 16th place now.

* Clubs will have to pay a $200 performance bond when they enter their first team in its first tournament of the year to ensure that teams will play all their games (and not prevent opponents from losing games). In addition, this will help protect Tournament Hosts from losing admission revenues from forfeits after they have arranged for (and paid for) gym time and referees whether the games are played or not. When all a given club's teams have played all their games and remain in good standing, the bond will be returned (or held and carried over for the next year's bond). If a team does forfeit a game, it will forfeit its bond and it must re-pay another bond before any other teams from that club will be allowed to play in an Indiana AAU event.

* Prospective Tournament Hosts will be asked to pay a $120 bid fee. This fee is just an up-front on sanction fees they eventually have to pay anyway and will be a deposit on those fees. * We voted, as the National rule-makers did, to allow a fourth coach on the bench, but all persons on the bench must be a registered coach with a current AAU card. Also clarified what "being on the bench" means.

* A lengthy discussion took place regarding awards and whether we should continue, revise, or discontinue the Outstanding Participant Awards as they have been given since Pat McKee became Indiana AAU Girls Basketball Chair. The system is one girl per age group and anyone who is named All-American at a Nationals. The committee discussed: A) Continue the awards program as is; B) Continue the awards program, but modify it to use some sort of coaches' vote and possibly recognize some kind of all-tourney team as well as an Outstanding Participant; C) Discontinue the awards, effective immediately; D) Discontinue the awards, but give them for 1998 since the winners had been determined under the old system (picked by Pat McKee and Level I State Finals Tournament Director). The group voted for "A."

(Thanks to Nick Ray of Hoosierland Report for passing on this info from Pat McKee to the Region Roundball Review.) 

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