Region Roundball Review
November, 2000
News & Updates
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Welcome to the news area of the Region Roundball Review. This page will be updated as information becomes available. If you have any news about girls basketball in the Region or around the State, please e-mail us with your information and we will include it here. Please note that not all links shown here will stay active indefinitely. Many links are to daily on-line publications that change or remove links from their sites on a daily basis. For your convenience, you can use the calendar at the right to access news for a particular day.

Important Upcoming Dates:

11/8-15 - NCAA Early Signing Period
11/10 - NCAA Evaluation Period reinstates

November, 2000
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News thru Thursday, November 30


The Lake Area Cable Region Basketball X-tra one-hour weekly, hosted by Jaime Perko and Mark Smith, debuted last Thursday on Thanksgiving evening, and it was great to see a full 60 minutes of discussion, interviews and video clips about NWI girls basketball.  Besides the two Crown Point players that were mentioned earlier, interviews were also broadcast with Highland's Jenny DeMuth, Hebron's Lauren Bechtold, and Andrean's Jamie Gutowski.  All of their coaches also had a few comments to make about their respective teams as well.  This weekly will have a new edition tonight, although it won't be a full hour of girls basketball.  Since the boys' season has gotten fully underway, 30 minutes will be devoted to the boys, and 30 will be about the girls.  Tonight's broadcast will appear as follows over the next few days:


Broadcast Times

Lake Area Channel 3 

Thursday at 8:30 and 11:05 p.m.
Friday at 4:00 p.m.

Valparaiso Channel 43

Thursday at 11:00 p.m.

Portage Channel 4

Saturday at 12:00 noon


Crown Point will have to contain the athletic scoring of Highland's Jenny DeMuth to have a chance at beating the No. 5 team in the state.  (RRR Photo)

The biggest game in the state this weekend might be the 4A Top Ten matchup between No. 5 Highland and No. 8 Crown Point on Saturday.  We believe this is the first 4A head-to-head between two Top 10 teams in the state so far this season.  Always a battle no matter the rankings, these two teams are always ready to duke it out.  Last season, this was a 3-point game that went down to the wire with Highland surviving for a 53-50 win on Crown Point's court.  Highland brings Miss Basketball candidate Jenny DeMuth (20.6 ppg), seasoned senior point Corrie Kaczmarek and a young & talented supporting cast to the table.  Crown Point counters with senior scoring ace and All Star candidate Sarah Zondor (21.0 ppg), athletic junior Alex Webster and a number of seasoned and capable veterans in senior Nikki Borys, Amanda Bernard and junior Carissa Triplett.  Although state rankings and bragging rights are at stake, both teams will be using this game as a benchmark for the work that needs to be done before the February tournament season.  It is possible that these two teams could meet in the NWI 4A Regional, although No. 7 Gary West Side might have a thing or two to say about that.  There should be a good crowd on hand in Highland for this NWI showdown, although the highly publicized Times Region Roundball Rumble (no connection to the RRR) is scheduled for the same night, featuring some of the best boys teams from around the state.  We're not sure about the number of crossover fans who will have a problem deciding which event to attend, but we've been told by several media people that they would prefer to be at Highland on Saturday night -- if only they had the choice!  One media outlet that will be in attendance is Lake Area Cable, which will be broadcasting the game on tape-delay.  Since there is a cable pay-per-view event scheduled for late Saturday evening, this game will most likely be shown Sunday morning, with a possible re-broadcast early next week.  When we get those broadcast times, we'll pass them along on our message board.

A number of hot conference matchups take place around the Region this weekend as well, with all eight Duneland Conference teams tangling up Friday night for the first DAC games of the season.  Merrillville hosts Michigan City, LaPorte is at Hobart, Chesterton is at Valpo and Portage hosts Crown Point.  In the Porter County Conference, 1A No. 5 Kouts will have to deal with 2A Hanover Central.  Both teams have lost one game so far this season, but will be looking to establish a foothold in the PCC to challenge favorite Hebron for season conference honors.

The Michigan City News-Dispatch has an interesting article about the rebirth of several Michigan City athletic programs, including girls basketball, since the consolidation of the two high schools there in 1995.  Due to the efforts of three new young coaches at the Duneland Athletic Conference school, three programs are starting to turn the corner.  Michigan City is already well-known statewide for its outstanding volleyball and girls track teams, both with a number of phenomenal athletes.  But since consolidation, the girls basketball team has suffered greatly, usually ending up in the DAC cellar year after year.  New head coach Monica Claridge, just out of college herself where she played on the St. Joe's women's basketball team, laid down the law early with her charges, but has also infused her youth and energy into the program.  The benefits are already beginning to be felt there.  Many in NWI believe that Michigan City could be a sleeping giant in girls basketball.  The athletes and the talent are both there.  It's just a matter of bringing it all together and creating a sense of pride for the program.  Claridge is determined to make her program a success and plans to stay at MC for as long as it takes.

It's old news, but the ICGSA poll came out on Monday.  One of the interesting things to evaluate about the four polls are the number of votes each team is dropping or picking up every week.  Most of us just look at the rankings, but if you take a look at the points, there are some changes in that category for teams that remain in the same spot from week to week.  To better follow the ICGSA vote changes, we will be adding a new column to each ICGSA poll starting on Monday, which shows how many points +/- a team has moved from the previous week.  Looking at the polls from this week, the teams with the biggest vote gains were:
4A No. 8 Crown Point (+27)
3A No. 2 Plymouth (+12)
2A No. 8 Triton Central (+26)
The teams with the biggest vote losses were:
4A No. 9 Valparaiso (-69)
3A No. 4 Frankfort (-15)
2A No. 7 Leo (-13)
We were unable to determine the change in votes for 1A, as no votes were itemized in the previous week's 1A poll.  

If you haven't seen this one yet, you need to take a look.  Ed Robinson of Southern Indiana's High School Basketball has put together an OUTSTANDING piece on Miss Basketball candidates Ashley Allen (Ben Davis), Jackie Batteast (SB Washington), Jenny DeMuth (Highland), Shyra Ely (Ben Davis), Kate Endress (Evansville Memorial), Kathy Hay (Madison), and Kristen Weddle (TH South).  His coverage includes photos, stats, audio and video.  A fantastic job and a tremendous resource for all of those voting in the Miss Basketball election in the spring.  We will keep this one linked to our Rankings & Statistics page for easy reference. 

Senior Laura Hartman of Evansville Memorial is the 2nd S & L Publishing Girls Basketball Athlete of the Week.  Hartman was honored for her outstanding game against Vincennes Lincoln when she scored 24 points on 9 of 15 shooting from the field and 4 of 7 free throws.  The 5'10 guard also logged 5 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 assists in a 78-71 win.  If you would like to nominate an athlete for the next S & L Publishing award, please email Steve Stremming at  You might also want to check out the front page of Hoosierland Report for webmaster Nick Ray's "Putting the Smack Down" recognitions.  So far HR has picked Wawasee's Shanna Zolman, Columbus North's Tina Bolte and Castle's Angie Rodgers for this award.

The Benton Central Lady Bison are on a tear this season, especially when you consider their recent upset of highly-regarded Lafayette Jeff last week.  But besides tearing it up on the court, this team has had time to make a difference in their community as well.  According to head coach Sandy Herre, the Bison recently raised $6,026.52 for use by their community for those in need.  The funds were raised through a bake sale, various contests and a Basketball-A-Thon, where 36 Lady Bison basketball players from grades 7-12 collected pledges for each shot made of 100 free throws by each player. An astounding $2,260.43 was collected from this fundraiser alone.  Our hats go off to the Lady Bison program and Coach Herre for taking time out of their busy and hectic schedules to give back to their community in a BIG way! 

In case you didn't see it on our message board today, we've added a new weekly "feature" there, that basically is just a message thread that will give everyone the opportunity to give details about outstanding individual or team performances during the week.  In the past, we've tried to honor outstanding weekly performers, but we found that this monster of a website just wouldn't allow us to do a very good job of it on a weekly basis.  (We can barely keep up with the features we have now!)  So, we've decided to turn it over to our visitors as a chance to give out props to those players or teams they feel have put in an overall outstanding performance sometime during the week.  Performances don't have to be linked to statistical production or leading scorer in the game.  How about recognizing those "sixth woman" players who come off the bench to make a difference, or defensive players who shut down the opposing team's top scorer?  To those of you who have a few HTML skills, feel free to link news articles, photos or whatever else you want to your posts on those threads.  We'll be looking forward to your posts each week!

The Terre Haute Tribune Star has some notes about Wabash Valley area basketball players, including freshmen that are contributing in a big way to their teams so far this season and Toledo's Courtney Risinger (TH South), who scored 36 points recently in a win over Radford.

For those of you who are interested in following this type of information, ESPN Sports recently rated the top girls basketball recruits at center, power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard positions for the Class of 2001.  Several Indiana players are among those listed.

Unfortunate news has come our way about former Hanover Central standout and 2000 PCC MVP Melanie Brumbaugh.  According to Mark Smith of the Crown Point Star, the Taylor University frosh sustained an ACL tear after five games into her rookie season and she will be red-shirted for the remainder of her freshman year.  Brumbaugh, however, will retain an additional four years of eligibility, since she had very few games into the current season..  

Miami sophomore Heather Cusick (Kokomo) was recently named the Mid-American Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Week for her accomplishments on the court and in the classroom. She had a great outing last weekend in the First Tennessee Classic Tournament at Vanderbilt and was named to the All-Tournament Team.  You can get complete details at the Miami women's website.

Another former Hoosier high school player was named as the Big Ten Player of the Week.  According to the Indiana Daily Student, Indiana's Jill Chapman (Blackford) was given the honor after averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds in four games last week.  

Cornell frosh Karen Force (Columbus East) has started all four games and leads her team in points, assists, and minutes played so far this season.

News thru Monday, November 27


The big news in the Region over the weekend was the 1-point loss Valparaiso suffered on the home court of 3A No. 2 Plymouth on Saturday.  The Vikes, who are as good as ever on defense, have been struggling to find their offensive rhythm the past few games and are experiencing an inordinate number of turnovers (at least by Valpo standards, that is).  The good news is that it is early in the season, and there is plenty of time for Coach Greg Kirby to fix what ails the Vikes.  And it will happen.  With four returning starters and an able supporting cast, it will not be long until Valparaiso is humming again.  And let's not forget.  A loss to Plymouth is not unexpected.  They are ranked No. 2 in their class and are a team to be reckoned with.  Right now, they are considered the favorite over Warsaw, Wawasee and NorthWood for the Northern Lakes Conference title this season.  What everyone seems to forget about Valparaiso is that they are a team making major adjustments from last season.  They lost their floor leader to graduation and have increased the strength of their schedule.  Plymouth was a replacement for 2A Boone Grove.  And gone is Tippecanoe Valley, who was in the early part of Valparaiso's schedule last season.  The Vikes had these two games to improve their play and build their confidence before hitting the meat of their schedule last year.  We think, like Arnold, they'll "be baack".  As for Plymouth, the big question right now is the status of 6'1 interior threat Brandy Swihart, who went down with a knee injury in the last 15 seconds of the Valpo game.  If she does not return soon, Plymouth will have to make some major adjustments to their inside-outside game plan with no other player taller than 5'10 Lindsay Houin on their roster.  

The ICGSA Poll is due out today, and with the Pilgrims' win over the Vikes, expect to see some changes in 4A.  Also, losses by No. 8 Lewis Cass and No. 9 Eastern Hancock in 2A will most likely account for some adjustments in that Top 10 as well.  No. 4 Kouts in 1A lost a tight contest to 2A North Judson that took a turn in the second half when 6'5 Bluejay junior Kelly Boyd exploded for 14 of her 16 points to seal the 9-point upset.  If the 1A voters are ready to make their results official this week, expect to see the Fillies drop a couple of notches as well.

We only have two voters for the RRR Top 12, and we live in the same house, so it's not too hard to gather the results for our rankings.  We have a new top team in NWI this week after Valpo's loss to Plymouth.  Highland takes the top spot with continued success over their competition.  Even though the Trojans must contend with the handicap of a weak Lake Athletic Conference schedule, they have proven themselves with wins over talented South Bend Riley and NWI power Portage.  The real test for our No. 1 team will be our No. 2 Crown Point on Saturday.  The Bulldogs will be coming off of another tough test the night before against DAC power Portage for a 1-2 punch on the weekend.  On Friday, Highland will warm up with rebuilding LAC opponent Griffith before their game with Crown Point.  These are just a few of the great games to catch in NWI this weekend.

Girls basketball fans around the state will join NWI fans with a great menu of games to feast on after the Thanksgiving holiday.  Look for our updated previews of Top Games & Upcoming Events early tomorrow.

Gary West Side's Kim Smith lays it in after the Cougar press produced another Chesterton turnover over the weekend.  The Cougars cruised to a 40-point win over the Trojans.  (RRR Photo)

The RRR caught West Side at Chesterton on Saturday evening in a convincing 40-point win over the rebuilding Trojans.  Their warm-up shirts say it all -- SPEED KILLS.  The Cougars rely mainly on a high-speed, full-court trapping press that is deadly against average ball-handling teams.  The Cougars are quick and unselfish, and converted on just about every steal they made against the Trojans on Saturday.  West Side has yet to be challenged by an equally-worthy and deep opponent, but their talent and various weapons are evident.  The Cougars do not lose much when they substitute, and Coach Rod Fisher does so freely and often.  Seniors Kim Smith and Tai Adkins are the obvious leaders on this team, and their experience will be valuable when their schedule produces a few tough opponents.  West Side's first real challenge of the season may be South Bend Riley on December 16.  The Wildcats are not as deep as the Cougars, but have a very talented 3-point attack in sophomores Crystal Norman and Suntana Granderson, and senior outside sharpshooter Christa Ragukonis.  Some might consider the outcome of this one an indicator of what is to come in Sectional 1 since Highland, the Cougars' most dangerous sectional opponent, defeated Riley during the first week of the season by just 6 points.

Additional West Side v. Chesterton game photos.  Click to enlarge.  Hover your mouse over the photo to get a description of the action.

It's off to the races as West Side's Alicia Booyer is pursued by Chesterton's Mandi Loving and  Shea Bardeson.

Chesterton senior Christy Poparad scores in the paint against the Cougars. Chesterton frosh Cat Campbell, daughter of coach Jack Campbell, manages to get the ball to her teammates despite the smothering pressure of the Cougars' #20 Michelle Jones and #12 Alicia Booyers.

The Times featured senior point guard Joann Smith of Hammond Gavit in its latest edition of The Prep Zone.  Smith, who honed her game playing ball against the "boys in the neighborhood" on the South Side of Chicago, pulled off a triple-double a week ago against Lake Station.  With 13 points, 11 assists and 14 steals, she dominated the court and is the player that makes the highly-regarded 3A Gladiators go this season.

The Times also released its Top Ten with comments about each team for the week on Friday.  There were no changes from last week's rankings as follows:

1. Valparaiso
2. Crown Point
3. Gary West Side
4. Highland
5. Portage
6. Hebron
7. Andrean
8. Kankakee Valley
9. Gavit
10. East Chicago Central

S & L Sports has released its Top 25 Ratings for the week of November 27.  As might be expected, Valpo takes a plunge after its loss to 3A Plymouth on Saturday.  Also, S & L drops Brownsburg after a 21-point loss to No. 1 Ben Davis.





Last Week

1 BEN DAVIS 2-0 @ N 30 Lawrence North 1
2 CENTER GROVE 3-0 @ N 28 Franklin, @ D1 Terre Haute North 3
3 TERRE HAUTE SOUTH 4-0 @ D2 North Central-Marion 4
4 FORT WAYNE SNIDER 2-0 N 28 Anderson Highland, D2 Harding 5
5 CATHEDRAL 2-0 @ N 29 Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 6
6 HUNTINGTON NORTH 2-1 @ D2 Warsaw 7
7 FORT WAYNE BISHOP LUERS 4-0 N 28 South Adams, D2 Fort Wayne Northside 8
8 HIGHLAND 5-0 D1 Griffith, D2 Crown Point 9
9 VALPARAISO 4-1 D1 Chesterton 2
10 CROWN POINT 4-0 N 28 Lowell, @ D1 Portage, @ D2 Highland 10
11 NEW ALBANY 2-0 @ N 30 Bedford North Lawrence, D2 Indianapolis Bishop Chatard 11
12 KOKOMO 5-0 @ N 30 Anderson 12
13 PLYMOUTH 4-0 D2 North Judson 17
14 COLUMBUS NORTH 3-1 N 28 Batesville, D1 Perry Meridian 14
15 WAWASEE 3-0 N 28 West Noble, D1 Culver Academy 15
16 SOUTH BEND RILEY 5-1 D1 Penn 16
17 PENN 2-1 @ N 28 NorthWood, @ D1 South Bend Riley, D2 Goshen 18
18 GARY WESTSIDE 3-0 @ N 28 South Bend LaSalle, D2 Hammond Gavit 19
19 BLOOMINGTON SOUTH 2-1 @ N 28 Seymour,@ D1 Southport 20
20 ROCHESTER 4-0 N 28 Culver, @ D2 Southwood --
21 BROWNSBURG 4-2 @ D1 Danville 13
22 JASPER 3-0 N 28 Culver, D2 Evansville Central 24
23 CARMEL 5-1 @ N 28 Roncalli, @ D1 Warren Central --
24 PORTAGE 3-1 D1 Crown Point 25
25 SOUTH BEND WASHINGTON 3-1 N 30 Elkhart Central 23
25 ALEXANDRIA 4-0 N 29 Lapel, @ D1 Frankton --




John Glenn walked away with the championship of the Tippecanoe Valley Thanksgiving Classic with a close 45-44 win over host Tippy Valley over the weekend.  Players named to the All-Tourney Team include Maria Marchesano (Elmhurst), Abby Rush (Central Noble), Chasity Zellers (Glenn), Betsy Hummel (Glenn), Tabitha Pratt (Tippecanoe Valley) and Billie Jo Rosenstiel (Tippecanoe Valley).

The South Bend Tribune recently named three girls basketball players as their Athletes of the Week.  Junior Hilary O'Connell of Warsaw, senior Erin Downey of South Bend Clay and sophomore Stacy Stevens of Culver Community were honored for their accomplishments the previous week.  S & L Publishing also named its first Athlete of Week last Tuesday.  Senior Cassie Kline of Huntington North was honored for her accomplishments in her team's win over Olympic Conference foe Connersville.

The Shelbyville News has a review of the first few weeks of Shelby County girls basketball, covering Waldron, Shelbyville, Morristown, Triton Central and Southwestern.

Ben Davis senior top-talent tandem continue to rake in the preseason awards.  The ESPN Network has named forward Shyra Ely as a First Team ESPN All-American and guard Ashley Allen as a Third Team ESPN All-American.  Ben Davis is also the ESPN Top 25 consensus No. 1 team in the nation.  ESPN also had coverage on Ely's recent decision to attend Tennessee.

Dana Hildebrand of Tecumseh High School, a 3-sport athlete, has signed with Oakland City College for volleyball. Hildebrand is a four-year starter on the varsity basketball team, a three-year starter on the softball team that reached the state finals in 2000, and a four-year starter on the volleyball team that won two sectionals in those four years.

While Valpo is adjusting to the loss of last season's floor general Erin Sampsel, the frosh at St. Joe's is proving herself at the college level.  Although the Pumas are 0-4 so far this season, Sampsel has emerged in the last two games as a serious scoring threat for St. Joe's.  Against Truman State last week she scored 10 points, and over the weekend led her team with 19 points against Rockhurst.  St. Joe's is in the rebuilding phase this season and has 10 underclassmen on its roster.  Two of them are also making an impact for the Pumas.  Sophomore Whitney Avery (Clinton Central) and Heather Allen (Clinton Prairie) have both put up double figures for the Pumas so far this season.

Ball State signees Jessica Aldridge (South Bend Clay) and Kate Endress (Evansville Memorial) were featured in an article on the BSU women's website.

Finally, you may have noticed that we haven't changed our fan poll for a few weeks, and the question on our current one has already been answered.  The RRR staff is dry on poll ideas.  If you have an idea for a poll topic, PLEASE drop us a note.  We're brain dead!  Your poll question should be of general interest and cannot be open-ended, but can have anywhere from 2 to 10 choices.  And we'll even give you credit for the topic question.  (That is, if you want it!)

News thru Wednesday, November 22


Some big games are on slate this holiday week in NWI.
Probably the biggest game in the Region tonight is #8 Gary West Side at Hobart.  The Brickies are ready to prove that they are a big time threat in NWI, and what better way to make their point than a win over the highly-regarded Cougars?  Both teams have not lost a game yet, although the Cougars have only had one outing so far this season.  That could be an advantage for the Brickies, especially on their home court.  But the Cougars have some advantages of their own, including Miami (Ohio) signee Kim Smith and a host of young guns eager to shoot the lights out.  If you're looking to work up an appetite for Turkey Day with some bleacher sit-ups and sit-downs, you might want to go watch this one tonight.
Another good one will be Merrillville at East Chicago Central.  These two teams look to be evenly matched, and it should be a fight to the finish.  Merrillville is much improved this season, with some help from a strong group of underclass players, led by 5'9 Marshay Jolly.  Enjoying a much-improved effort this season are Pirate senior Christina Peete, juniors Julie Seagraves, Heather Renehan, Kelly Pero and outside sharpshooter Morgan Marovich.  We predict Merrillville will sneak up on a few teams who are not expecting a new and improved version of the Pirates this season.  East Chicago could be one of them.
On Friday, 4A No. 9 Crown Point hosts Warsaw, who received a vote in the latest 4A poll and would like nothing better than knocking off a Top 10 team.  Warsaw is led by junior Hilary O'Connell, who has been lighting up the scoreboard early in the season with 20+ scoring.  She will have to be contained if the Bulldogs want to preserve their unbroken string of wins.  But Warsaw will have three scoring threats to worry about for Crown Point in senior Sarah Zondor and juniors Carissa Triplett and Alex Webster.  Zondor is currently averaging 21.5 points per game, and both Triplett and Webster have had double-double games in scoring, rebounding and/or steals so far this season.  
On Saturday, 4A No. 4 Valparaiso travels to 3A No. 2 Plymouth for what could be another one of those defensive battles with a low-scoring point total for both teams.  Valpo will try to contain the balanced scoring of the Pilgrims, while Plymouth will be trying to stop the inside game of the Vikings.  Although about a one-hour drive to get there from the eastern boundaries of NWI, this one would still be worth the trip.
 By the way, we apologize for the lack of updates on our Top Games & Upcoming Events for this week.  We are short-handed since one-half of the RRR staff is in Alaska this week.  We will resume updates on that page next week when Nanook returns from the North.

Congrats to the four Region teams that grace this weeks 4A ICGSA poll -- No. 4 Valparaiso, No. 6 Highland, No. 8 Gary West Side and No. 9 Crown Point.  The RRR cannot remember a time when four NWI teams were ranked that highly all at the same time.  The competition is great in the Region this season, especially when you consider the unheralded teams that are challenging these ranked teams each week.

We have an update on the broadcast time of the Lake Area Cable (Channel 3) Region Basketball Xtra that is debuting Thanksgiving evening.  It will be broadcast at 8:30 p.m. (instead of 7:00 p.m. as we reported earlier), repeated at 11:00 p.m. that same night and again on Friday at 4:00 p.m.  It will also be aired on the Valparaiso and Portage systems.  These are special times for this week only, and we'll pass on the regular broadcast times for the remainder of the season sometime next week.

The South Bend Tribune has a few notes about players in their area, including Emily Creachbaum of Marian, Erin Downey of Clay, and twin sisters Jill Bair and Tessa Bair of Rochester.  Also of note in the South Bend Tribune, Penn put one over Jackie Batteast's South Bend Washington Panthers 57-48 last night to start off the Northern Indiana Conference race.  Although receiving a great deal of defensive attention, Batteast managed 22 points.  This was a much better outing offensively for the Kings(wo)men, who were only able to muster 19 points against Valpo last Saturday.  The NIC should be a tight one this season, with Penn, Washington, Riley and Clay all looking for a piece of the conference championship pie.

The Kokomo Tribune has some notes on teams in and around the Kokomo area, including Tri-Central, Kokomo, Lafayette Jeff and McCutcheon.

In case you missed the first broadcast, we've been informed that the RRR's 15-minutes-of-fame interview with Lake Area Cable will be repeated on Monday, November 27, at 4:30, 6:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.  (The interview is after the first 15 minutes of regular news at those times.)

Freshman Lindsey Secrest (Bloomfield) of Northern Illinois was named the first Player of the Week for the 2000-01 Mid-American Conference season.  Secrest hit 8 of 11, including 4 treys, for 26 points in an 83-60 win.  More details appear in the Terre Haute Tribune Star.

You may have noticed on the ICGSA Poll that the 1A poll was incomplete.  We understand that one of the schools in the Top 10 has requested a manual recount because of some hanging chads on a few of the ballots.  ;-)  Truthfully, we don't know the actual reasons for the lack of voting in 1A.  Hopefully that situation will be rectified soon.  Until then, we will report the results as they come to us from ICGSA.

Hey, everyone!
Have a fantastic Thanksgiving Day!

News thru Monday, November 20


Valparaiso's defense was in full force this weekend as they smother Penn senior Keri Certisimo in the paint.  The Vikes allowed only 19 points for the Kingsmen on Saturday in a 7-point win.  Valpo continues its standing as the top 4A team in the north with a 4-0 record so far this season.  (RRR Photo)

ICGSA Poll for 11/20/00 available here.
The ICGSA poll is due out later this morning, and as soon as we receive it, we'll post the latest rankings.  We're not anticipating any major upheavals in any class, although there are some teams that may drop in altitude.
In 4A, Decatur Central claimed a victory over unranked Mooresville by 1 point and then lost to unranked Perry Meridian by 2.  Their standing may drop from the No. 8 spot to places unknown.  Other than DC, the Top 10 are expected to stay pretty much pat.  However, we expect Martinsville and Jennings County may fall off the radar after both stand at two losses so far this season.
In 3A, Evansville Memorial may see their No. 2 ranking slip after a loss to No. 9 Jasper, and Alexandria may experience the same dip after dropping a close one to 2A No. 3 Shenandoah.  Mt. Vernon may drop as well with a loss to 4A Carmel.  Lebanon may drop off the screen after a 13-point loss this weekend to 3A sleeper Benton Central.
In 2A, No. 6 Leo probably won't lose much stature, despite a 10-point loss to Luers.  Neither will No. 10 Glenn, who dropped their opener to 3A No. 4 Plymouth, but bounced back for a convincing win over Argos.  North Judson may drop off the voting list after another loss this weekend, while North Newton may impress with a 7-point win over 1A No. 8 Frontier.
Finally, in 1A, don't expect to see much movement there either, unless unreported games hold a surprise or two.  If North Vermillion had another good weekend, expect to see them creep into the Top 10.
The RRR Top 12 is now available.  Check here for additional updates later today.

The inaugural edition of the Indiana High School Basketball Guide, published by High School Sports Publications, is now available.  This 448 page book is filled with complete rosters, schedules and other information about every girls and boys basketball team in the state.  To get your copy, call HSSP at 1-800-969-0097.

The Times released its Top Ten for the week on Friday.  The Top 5, remained the same, while Hebron and Kankakee Valley improved their standings, and Andrean, Gavit and EC Central fell a notch or two.  Here they are (previous ranking in parentheses):
1. Valparaiso (1)
2. Crown Point (2)
3. Gary West Side (3)
4. Highland (4)
5. Portage (5)
6. Hebron (10)
7. Andrean (6)
8. Kankakee Valley (9)
9. Gavit (7)
10. East Chicago Central (9)

After Highland's win over Munster on Friday night, Jenny DeMuth was featured in an editorial by The Times.  Another senior on the other end of the state, Maria Rickards of New Albany, was featured in an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal.  Both of these players are leading their highly-regarded teams in scoring at this point in the season.

The S & L Top 25 Rankings are out, and a few NWI teams are in the running with Valparaiso at No. 2, Highland at No. 9, Crown Point at No. 10, Gary West Side at No. 19 and Portage at No. 25.

NWI girls fans will be ecstatic to know that Lake Area AT&T Cable will be broadcasting 7 regular games from around the area this season, as well as one each sectional, regional and semi-state game from venues TBA.  The schedule for those regular games is as follows, with air times for each game announced one week in advance:
December 2 - Crown Point at Highland
December 12 - Lake Central at Andrean
December 16 - Crown Point at Valparaiso
January 5 - Merrillville at Hobart
January 6 - Andrean at Highland
January 10 - Hebron at Hanover Central
January 20 - PCC Finals

Besides the airing of the above games, Lake Area Cable will also be debuting its one-hour prep basketball show on Thanksgiving evening, tentatively scheduled for 7:00 p.m.  Hosts Jaime Perko and Mark Smith, who is well-known in South Lake County for his sports coverage with The Star, will cover the prep basketball scene in NWI, with 30 minutes devoted to the girls game and 30 minutes to the boys.  According to Perko, the debut program will feature mostly girls basketball the first time out, since the boys season is just barely underway.  The show will also include interviews with local players and coaches, and Crown Point's Sarah Zondor, Alex Webster and Coach Tom May will be interviewed for the initial airing of this weekly show.  Rebroadcasts of the show will also be aired on Friday afternoons at 4:00 p.m. just before everyone head's out for the first night of games for the weekend, and again on Saturday mornings.

The Post-Tribune featured a series of its season previews conference by conference this past week, and the Duneland, considered the strongest in NWI, was featured first in Wednesday's edition, the Northwestern Conference on Thursday and the Porter County Conference Friday.  If this is any indication of the P-T's improved coverage this season, we are looking forward to it.  A very fine article about last season's DAC MVP Courtney Rosenbaum of Valpo indicated that she has narrowed her college choices to Louisville, Northwest Missouri State and St. Joseph's in Rensselaer, where former Valpo teammate Erin Sampsel is playing.  Thursday's edition featured Kim Smith of Gary West Side and her signing with Miami (Ohio), and Friday's edition featured Hebron's Katie Hallberg and her valuable role to the Hawks this season in the post.  Saturday's edition covered the Northland Conference and the Independents, and Sunday's edition covered the Lake Athletic Conference.  North Judson's Melinda Bunkowfst was the featured player for the Northland, while Highland's Jenny DeMuth was the featured player for the Lake Athletic.  The breakdown on the P-T honors and notes for each conference were as follows:

Duneland Athletic Conference

2000-01 DAC Projections

P-T Individual Honors

1. Valparaiso
2. Crown Point
3. Portage
4. LaPorte
5. Chesterton
6. Hobart
7. Merrillville
8. Michigan City

Predicted Conference MVP
Courtney Rosenbaum, SR Valpo
Top Newcomer
Carissa Triplett, JR Crown Point

First Team
G - Sarah Zondor, SR Crown Point
G - Alex Webster, JR Crown Point
F - Lauren Hansen, SR Portage
F - Lee Traynham, SR Valpo
C - Courtney Rosenbaum, SR Valpo
Second Team
G - Christy Poparad, SR Chesterton
G - Brooke Reed, SR LaPorte
F - Lisa Matie, JR Hobart
F - Angela Grabczak, SR Hobart
C - Amanda Autrey, SR Portage

Northwestern Conference

P-T 2000-01 NWC Projections

P-T Individual Honors

1. West Side
2. Roosevelt
3. Horace Mann
4. Wirt
5. Lew Wallace
Predicted Conference MVP
Kim Smith, SR West Side
Top Newcomer
Belinda Drake, FR West Side

First Team
F - Kim Smith, SR West Side
G - Michelle Jones, JR West Side
F - LaSharon Watson, SR Roosevelt
G - Tiffany King, SR Wirt
C - Karen Gibson, SR Horace Mann
Second Team
G - Keiona McBride, JR Lew Wallace
F - Jonique Barnes, SR Wirt
C - Ebony Westbrook, JR Roosevelt
G - Citira Abbott, SR Horace Mann
G - Arianne Robinson, SR West Side

Porter County Conference

P-T 2000-01 PCC Projections

P-T Individual Honors

1. Hebron
2. Kouts
3. Wheeler
4. Boone Grove
5. Hanover Central
6. Morgan Township
7. Washington Township
8. LaCrosse
Predicted Conference MVP
Lauren Bechtold, JR Hebron
Top Newcomers
Alyse Bruszewski, FR Wheeler
Maggie Schultz, FR Wheeler

First Team
F - Erica Martin, SR Kouts
F - Val Olis, SR Boone Grove
F - Julie Moniak, JR Portage
G - Lauren Bechtold, JR Hebron
G - Andrea Walker, SR Wheeler
Second Team
F - Monica Taylor, JR Wheeler
F - Erin Pendowski, JR Kouts
F - Katie Hallberg, SR Hebron
G - Kim Sliwa, JR Boone Grove
G - Erin Biggs, SR Hebron


Northland Conference & Independents

P-T 2000-01 Northland & Independent Record Projections

P-T Individual Honors

North Judson 15-5
Rensselaer 14-6
East Chicago Central 13-7
Kankakee Valley 13-7
North Newton 11-9
River Forest 11-9
MC Marquette 10-10
Lake Central 9-11
South Central 6-14
Westville 5-15

Player to Watch
Tracey Jackson, SR East Chicago Central
Top Newcomers

Kassie Koselke, SO North Newton

First Team
G - Brianne Harwood, JR North Newton
G - Michelle Kiger, SR Rensselaer
F - Tracey Jackson, SR East Chicago Central
F - Melinda  Bunkowfst, JR North Judson
C - Rayna Hare, JR East Chicago Central
Second Team
G - Kelly Lane, JR Renssealer
G - Courtney Krasoczka, SR River Forest
F - Hannah Herold, SR South Central
F - Maria Szcepaniak, SR MC Marquette
C - Jill Kikkert, JR Kankakee Valley


Lake Athletic Conference

P-T 2000-01 LAC Projection

P-T Individual Honors

1. Highland
2. Andrean
3. Gavit
4. Lowell
5. Munster
6. Griffith
7. Morton
8. Bishop Noll
9. Whiting
10. Calumet
11. Hammond
12. Clark
13. Lake Station

First Team
G - Jenny DeMuth, SR Highland
G - Jamie Gutowski, JR Andrean
G - Joann Smith, SR Hammond Gavit
G - Corrie Kaczmarek, SR Highland
G - Rachel Wielgos, JR Lowell

Second Team
(none listed)

Predicted Conference MVP
Jenny DeMuth, SR Highland

Top Newcomers

(none listed)


  Five more signings took place in the last few days of the early signing period.  Southport senior Meskhenet Lands has signed with Loyola (IL), Kokomo's Jennie Martin has signed with Indiana Wesleyan, Ricaye Harris of Muncie Central has signed with Wofford College, senior Christine Cox of Carroll (Flora) has signed with Butler, and senior Natasya Johnson, a 6'1 forward at Madison, has signed with Murray State.  Lands, a 5'9 G/F, averaged 11.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game last season.  Martin, a 5'6 guard, averaged 7.0 points per game in 1999-2000, while Harris, also a 5'6 guard, averaged 18.9 points and 5.0 assists per game last season. Cox, a 6'3 center, chose Butler over Wofford, Brown, Lafayette and the University of Indianapolis, according to the Logansport Pharos-Tribune.  Also, articles appeared in the Boiler Station about Ebba Gebisa's signing with Wisconsin, and in the Warrick News about the signing of Castle's Angie Rodgers with Florida Atlantic.

News about a couple of non-basketball scholarship signings have come our way as well.  Brownstown Central senior Leah Wischmeier (6'1 C) has signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Purdue, and Columbus East senior Kali Carter (6'0 F) will be attending Butler on a volleyball scholarship as well.

According to the Connersville News-Examiner, senior Miranda Eckerle of Franklin County went over the 1,000 career point total when her team handily beat North Decatur 89-43 on Tuesday.  She scored 9 points to add to her all-time lead scoring record at Franklin County. 

 Don't forget to check those Fan News Boards.  We have a new board being manned by Lowell junior Rachel Wielgos during her recovery from stress fractures on both legs, and many of the other news boards contain all kinds of great info specific to the teams listed there.  Also, the North Newton Spartans have launched a new website for their team, which can also be found in the future on our School Team Websites page.

All you players in the Lafayette area get home from practice in a hurry tonight and get that homework done so you can get over to the Purdue stadium to see the Boilermakers take on Louisiana Tech tonight in the championship finals of the NIT.  Purdue pounded Texas 79-41 yesterday to advance to the finals. This one matches the wits of Purdue head coach Kristy Curry and her former mentor, head coach Leon Barmore of LA Tech.  Should be a great one.

Region fans had a great opportunity to see highly-regarded Notre Dame (ranked No. 6 in the nation) when they played at the home of the Valparaiso University Crusaders Friday evening.  Notre Dame dominated the first half in the meeting of these two D1 programs.  ND's Alicia Ratay put on a 3-point clinic, hitting 5 of 6 treys in the first half, but some better coverage in the second half by Valpo frosh Suzie Hammel (Lebanon) limited her opportunities for the rest of the game, and Valpo actually outscored ND in the second half 29-24.  Although the ND sophomore was impressive, Valpo's own sophomore supreme, Jeanette Gray (Valparaiso), also showed her stuff against one of the top teams in the nation.  The 5'10 forward scored 14 points from a variety of areas on the floor.  After the game, the RRR chatted with ND head coach Muffet McGraw to get her impressions of the game.  She was very pleased with her team's first half effort, but was a bit disappointed in the lack of scoring from her bench.  However, one player off the bench who she felt has tremendous potential at ND was freshman Janeka Joyce, who scored 11 on the night.  McGraw was also impressed with the play of Valpo's Gray, who took it to her top program's defense in a number of ways.  The Times had a interesting article about Hammel in Saturday's edition, explaining how the freshman looks to be making a move to the point for the Crusaders after Friday's performance.

A few notes & articles from the college level:

Shameka Robinson leaves ISU - TH Tribune Star.
Ball State women see more victories in future - Muncie Star Press
USI women add height, experience to solid core - Evansville Courier Press
Butler starts busy week for IU women - Hoosier Times
Wildcats thinking N.D. upset - South Bend Tribune

News thru Tuesday, November 14


Late additions:

USA Today
has named Ben Davis the No. 1 high school team in the country in its Super 25 Rankings.  Also, Center Grove was named the No. 9 team in their Midwest rankings.
 Links to The Times preseason issue are now available.  See the additional news below regarding this item for the links.

The Times came out with it's very well done girls basketball preview edition last weekend, which included The Times Top 10 and Pre-Season All-Area Team.  As usual, The Times does an outstanding job in previewing every team in the Region, with rosters, photos of starters and coach, records and breakdowns for each and every one of the 43 teams covered.  The lead story in The Times preview issue featured the top three point guard juniors in the area -- Alex Webster of Crown Point, Lauren Bechtold of Hebron and Jamie Gutowski of Andrean (pictured at right).  Despite what was written here earlier today about the preview not being on-line, The Times has informed us that they DO have these articles on-line, including team previews (with rosters, starters, outlooks and schedules) for all 43 teams!  This will be a great resource throughout the season.  Here is the link to The Times Prep Girls Basketball 2000-2001 Guide.  We have added this as a permanent link to our Rankings & Statistics page as well.  The top teams and players as selected by The Times were as follows:

The Times Pre-Season Girls Basketball Top 10

The Times Pre-Season All-Area Team

1. Valparaiso
2. Crown Point
3. West Side
4. Highland
5. Portage
6. Andrean
7. Gavit
8. Kankakee Valley
9. East Chicago Central
10. Hebron 
Lauren Bechtold, Jr., Hebron
Jenny DeMuth, Sr., Highland
Jamie Gutowski, Jr., Andrean
Lauren Hansen, Sr., Portage
Brianne Harwood, Jr., North Newton
Tracey Jackson, Sr., E. Chicago Central
Michelle Jones, Jr., West Side
Erica Martin, Sr., Kouts
Christy Poparad, Sr., Chesterton
Courtney Rosenbaum, Sr., Valparaiso
Joann Smith, Sr., Gavit
Kimberly Smith, Sr., West Side
Lee Traynham, Sr., Valparaiso
Alex Webster, Jr., Crown Point
Sarah Zondor, Sr., Crown Point
(link to The Times All-Area player profiles)


Valparaiso guard Karen Puplava gets ready to challenge the ballhandler at the Warsaw semi-state.  Puplava left the Valparaiso team on Monday.  (RRR Photo)

Inadvertently forgot to mention this one in our last update, but it did have the Region buzzing a bit last week.  Word out of Valpo is that sixth woman Karen Puplava from last season's state championship contender Vikings left the team on Monday of last week for unknown reasons.  Puplava played a pivotal role in Valpo's game with Huntington North in the Warsaw Semi-State when she made a critical steal that allowed Valpo to score in the last seconds of regulation to tie the game, which the Vikes eventually won in overtime.  Puplava is a high honors student in Valpo's challenging Baccalaureate program and is known for her dedication to the game and excellent outside shooting.  She was named Hoosier Basketball Magazine Honorable Mention for the upcoming season and All-Area Honorable Mention after last season's campaign.  Puplava was a transfer from Crown Point her freshman year when the Puplava family made a last-minute move to Valparaiso before the school year began in 1997.  Puplava was expected to give the Vikings solid depth at the point position this season behind this season's point guard starter Brittany Landreth, also a Crown Point-to-Valpo transfer.

Ben Davis guard Ashley Allen shows her athletic skills at the 16U AAU State Tournament last summer.  Today, Allen signed a letter to play at Ohio State University next season.  (RRR Photo)

Tomorrow is the last day of the early signing period, and in the last-minute rush, four top Indiana seniors have made commitments over the past few days, including two today.
Nationally ranked Ben Davis senior Ashley Allen, who announced last Wednesday that she had narrowed her choices to Ohio State and Arkansas, made her final choice known today by signing a letter of intent to play for the Buckeyes.  Allen is known for her extreme athletic prowess, as displayed in the photo to the left, as well as her Dial C-O-L-L-E-C-T three-pointers that often leave defenders with their jaw to the ground, sometimes near half-court.  OSU Head Coach Beth Burns says, "Ashley is an incredible addition to this years recruiting class. Her great size, and quickness on the perimeter, along with her ability to score from deep and handle the basketball will help her to fit right in to our running, pressing style of play. She brings with her tremendous accomplishments from her career at Ben Davis High School and her summer AAU experiences with "The Family" -- those experiences define what Ashley is all about: winning."  Allen will spend her senior season looking for another state championship with the Giants, as well as for a bid on the Indiana All Star Team.  The Indianapolis Star reports on Allen's signing.

West Lafayette senior Ebba Gebisa, who had narrowed her list to nearby Purdue, Michigan, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin, signed a letter of intent on Sunday with the Badgers of Wisconsin.  According to a news item at the Wisconsin women's website, Gebisa is expected to be a dominant defensive player for the Badgers with her quickness and agility.  Last season, Gebisa averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last season, and got off to a great start with a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) in a win over Southmont over the weekend.  Gebisa was a member of the Junior All Star Team this past summer, and was named First Team in Hoosier Basketball Magazine.


Leo center/forward Jenny Steele makes her move against the defense during summer basketball.  Steele will be signing her letter of intent with St. Jospeh's College.  (RRR Photo)

Leo standout 5'10 senior center/forward Jenny Steele will be signing a letter of intent either today or tomorrow with St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer.  Steele, who averaged 11.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game last season, first caught the eye of head coach Lynn Plett during summer basketball and then again a the Spiece and Indianapolis University exposure events.  Steel was impressed with St. Joe's elementary education degree program, which she intends to pursue, as well as not being too far away from family.  Steele should be able to contribute to the St. Joe's lineup immediately.

According to a press release from the University of St. Francis in Ft. Wayne, Huntington North senior point guard Cassie Kline will be playing for the Lady Cougars next season.  The quick and all-hustle 5'3 Indiana Junior All Star averaged 11.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 4.0 steals per game last season.   

As we announced on our home page yesterday, the ICGSA Poll was released for the week of November 13.  There seemed to be a glitch of some sort in getting the 2A results, as no votes were shown as cast.  Hopefully the ICGSA will work out the bugs for next week's poll.  The Region was well represented again in 4A, with No. 3 Valpo, No. 7 Gary West Side, No. 9 Highland and de facto No. 12 Crown Point getting 14 votes to move up one notch.  In 3A, Andrean fell off the radar screen after a 17-point loss to Crown Point, leaving no NWI representatives in the 3A poll.  In 2A, no votes were cast, so Hebron and North Judson retained their standings from the preseason rankings.  In 1A, Kouts stays at No. 6 as the only representative from the Region.   As we also mentioned on our home page yesterday, we have posted our own Top 12 for NWI and the State for the week.

We've updated our Top Games & Events page for the upcoming week.  Some great games are on tap around the state this week.  Check it out.   

Steve Stremming of S & L Sports will be announcing a Girls Athlete of the Week on his site throughout the season starting next Tuesday.  Nominations may be sent weekly by Sunday at noon to Steve at  Also, S & L will be releasing its first week of team rankings beginning on Sunday evening, November 19.

We continue to link team previews on our Scores & Recaps page as we come across them.  Don't forget to take a look now and then to get all the latest articles on-line.

For those of you out there who have younger daughters playing the game, an interesting article on when youngsters should start strength training is appearing in the Kokomo Tribune.

A few college women's articles are on-line:
Komara on fire - Gold & Black
Dingman sparks Pilots' win (Bethel, Kelly Schoon) - SB Tribune
Rose (Hulman) women want winning season - TH Tribune Star
Still a way to go (ISU) - TH Tribune Star
Mixing up success (ISU) - TH Tribune Star
Lady Hoosiers need intensity - Hoosier Times
Bennett all business (IU) - Hoosier Times
Douglas could make Boilers team to beat - Hoosier Times
Seniors add familiarity, experience - Hoosier Times

According to The Times, East Chicago native great LaTaunya Pollard has been named one of ten inductees into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.  

News thru Thursday, November 9


Ben Davis senior Shyra Ely shows the form that garnered attention from the top programs in the nation during her high school career.  (RRR Photo)

Yesterday was the first day of the early signing period, and Indiana had one of the biggest signings in the country when Ben Davis senior Shyra Ely put her John Hancock on a letter of intent to play at the University of Tennessee yesterday.  Ely, who had long been expected to attend Purdue, stated on the GoLadyVols website that, "The deciding factor for me was I would probably be better off at Tennessee. I think Pat Summitt can push us to the next level. With her program and her personality, I can get to the next level."  Ely has been ranked the No. 1 player in the nation by a number of rating services, including Blue Star, All Star Girls Report and Women's Basketball News Service. Ely will be joined by Wawasee's Shanna Zolman in 2002-2003 to give the Lady Vols a 1-2 Hoosier punch in the future.  This season, Ely and teammate Ashley Allen, who announced yesterday that she has narrowed her choices to Arkansas and Ohio State, will defend a state championship title and Ben Davis's No. 1 national ranking when they begin their season on November 22 at Roncalli.  Additional coverage regarding Ely's decision can be found in the Indianapolis Star.

Ely wasn't the only one who made the news yesterday with her signing.  A number of recruits put pen to paper to make their college choices official as well.  Here are a couple of on-line stories about those who did:
Katie Boone (Center Grove) - Daily Journal
Rachel King (Ft. Wayne Luers) - FW Journal Gazette

A mention in the Lafayette Journal & Courier informs us that former Terre Haute South guard Debra Crawley has transferred to McCutcheon.  The 5'7 junior is an excellent outside shooter and should help the Mavericks as another legitimate threat on the floor.

If you've forgotten the drill from last season, game scores, as we find them, are being posted on our Scores & Recaps page, together with any related links that we can find.  We suggest that you check this area of our site on a regular basis, as a number of the links that are found there expire after just one day.  If you need to report a score from a game, please do so on our Report Scores board.  We appreciate any and all input on games, even if it's simply a score!

Also, on our Scores & Recaps page, we are posting links on preseason articles for a number of teams around the state.  Right now you can find preview articles there on over 30 teams from around the state.

Some tough news is coming out of Connecticut about Huskies sophomore Kennitra Johnson (New Albany).  According to Husky Hardcores, Johnson has been told by Coach Geno Auriemma that she will not play in the first season game for the Huskies, and maybe even more.  According to Auriemma, "Every kid had some goals they had to make in preseason and she didn't get them and she's still not there. Until she gets there, I'm going to hold her out."  A back injury has held back Johnson's conditioning somewhat, but other issues are at stake.  Hopefully KJ will get things taken care of we'll see her back on the floor very soon.

Purdue's Katie Douglas (Perry Meridian) has been named to the Associated Press preseason All-America women's basketball team.  According to the Purdue women's website, Douglas just squeaked by Notre Dame center Ruth Riley (North Miami) in AP voting to be the fifth pick on the 5-member team.  You can view the entire AP voting list at CNN Sports Illustrated.

News thru Tuesday, November 7


Lowell junior Rachel Wielgos is feeling the hurt, and so is her team, since the mainstay of the Red Devils roster is recovering from stress fractures in both legs.  She is not expected to return to the hardwood for about 6 weeks.  (RRR photo)

Word from the Lowell hardwood is that returning varsity junior Rachel Wielgos will be out for the first six weeks of the season with stress fractures in both legs.  Lowell will miss Wielgos in a big way, as she was expected to take on a major Red Devil role in scoring and leadership with the exit of most of last season's roster to graduation.  Wielgos made a name for herself at the Merrillville Sectional last February when she poured in double figures against Crown Point to get her team over the top to advance to the Regional.  Coach Patti McCormack will anxiously await Wielgos' return sometime in late December or early January.

In case you missed it on our home page, we've debuted our RRR Best Games & Events feature for the upcoming week of games.  Lots of great games out there this week to open up the season.  

Also, the official pre-season ICGSA Poll is out.  Lots of Region teams show up in the poll this time around, especially in 4A where No. 3 Valparaiso, No. 7 Gary West, No. 9 Highland and No. 13 Crown Point make an appearance.  Kouts logs in at No. 6 in 1A, while Andrean shows up at No. 15 in 3A.  No. 11 North Judson and No. 14 Hebron finish out the NWI contingent in 2A.  The first poll in which coaches begin to vote based upon game results is expected to be released on Monday, November 13.

Although we had previously reported that The Times would have its girls basketball preview edition out on Monday, November 13, that has been moved up to this Friday when the preview will appear in its weekly Prep Zone section.  The Times will announce its 15 Pre-Season All Area selections, together with its own Pre-Season NWI Top 10.

The signing period begins tomorrow, and it is expected that both Shyra Ely and Ashley Allen of Ben Davis will finally make their college choices known.  Top schools in the running for Ely are Purdue and Tennessee, while Georgia and Arkansas are high on Allen's list.  Both Ely and Allen are profiled in an article in the Indianapolis Star today.  (Here is an additional late link from Gold & Black about Ely's indecision even just two days before her announcement.)  Another top senior who will most likely put questions of college choice to rest this week is Ebba Gebisa of West Lafayette, who is highly considering Purdue, Michigan, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.

We now have permission to run this one again, although its been out in Hoosier Basketball Magazine for almost two weeks.  Lafayette Jeff seniors Nikki Perkins and Julie Shirley have made known their choices for college next year.  Perkins is headed to Cleveland State (the fifth Class of 2001 recruit that CSU has nabbed from the Hoosier State), and Shirley is headed south to Evansville University.  Perkins gave us her reasons for choosing CSU in an interview that you can find here.

The Ft. Wayne Sentinel has named its annual Fantastic 5 for the 2000-2001 season.  Rachel King (Luers), Maria Marchesano (Elmhurst), Melissa Elmer (Northrop), Kelly Springer (Leo) and Jessica Hicks (Manchester) round out Sentinel's choices for the top five players in the Ft. Wayne area.  The article has an extremely nice profile on each of these top players.

The preseason stories are starting to clog the on-line newspapers, so here are the ones we can keep up with for now!
Defending champs teams to beat again - Indianapolis Star
This may be the best year yet for BD, Cathedral - Indianapolis Star
Third-ranked Warriors have high expectations - Crawfordsville Journal Review
Covington looks to rebuild after losing four seniors - Crawfordsville Journal Review
Tigers still hungry  - Kokomo Tribune
Talent may offset WL's girls' lack of depth - Lafayette Journal & Courier
(Jackie) Batteast won't be one-woman show - South Bend Tribune
Penn seniors prepared to walk their talk - South Bend Tribune
Michigan City program puts its faith in Clairidge - Michigan City News Dispatch
   Karleigh Huff (Lapel) Feature - Anderson Herald Bulletin
Kelly Troxell (Shenandoah) Feature - Anderson Herald Bulletin
Showing promise (TH South) - Terre Haute Tribune Star
Lady Miners hoping for improved offense - Bloomington Hoosier Times
Shakamak girls experience team makeover - Bloomington Hoosier Times
Front line to carry North (Montgomery) - Crawfordsville Journal Review
Season preview (scroll down to Prepsports) - Ft. Wayne Sentinel
Scrimmage sets off winter slate (Bellmont) - Decatur Daily Democrat
   Lady Spartans 26th in Hoosier Basketball - Connersville News-Examiner
Clay City looking for scoring, Northview needs experience - TH Tribune Star
Facing a big challenge - TH Tribune Star
BNL, Paoli 'rookies" work out jitters in basketball scrimmage - Bedford Time-Mail
Reloading (Southmont) - Crawfordsville Journal Review

Two Indianapolis-area top senior basketball players have committed to scholarships for college, but not in basketball.  Cathedral's Ellen Rehme will play volleyball at Florida next fall, while Jennifer Gandolph of Center Grove will be headed to Michigan for the same sport.

 Hoosier Basketball Magazine is available in the Region now, and we thought a listing of Region players honored in this season's edition would be fitting.  NWI has 11 players honored on the First through Fourth Teams and 28 players receiving Honorable Mention.   (Although one of those Honorable Mentions graduated from Kankakee Valley last school year!)  Valparaiso has the most players listed in all categories with five.  Here are the Region's representatives from this season's issue:

Hoosier Basketball Magazine NWI Honorees
First Team
Courtney Rosenbaum, Valparaiso
Jenny DeMuth, Highland
Second Team
Kim Smith
, Gary West Side
Lee Traynham, Valparaiso
Sarah Zondor, Crown Point
Third Team
Brooke Reed, LaPorte
Fourth Team
Lauren Bechtold
, Hebron
Lauren Hansen, Portage
Brianne Harwood, North Newton
Jamie Gutowski, Andrean
Alex Webster, Crown Point
Honorable Mention
Megan Austgen, Andrean
Amanda Autrey, Portage
Jonique Barnes, Wirt
Erin Biggs, Hebron
LeAnn Steffel, Hebron
Melinda Bunkowfst, North Judson
Karen Gibson, Mann
Angela Grabczak, Hobart
Lisa Matie, Hobart
Jill Hattenberger, MC Marquette
Krystle Jenkins, Hammond
Michelle Jones, West Side
Arianne Robinson, West Side
Corrie Kaczmarek, Highland
Jill Kikkert, Kankakee Valley
Dana Lippelt, Valparaiso
Allison Mosak, Valparaiso
Karen Puplava, Valparaiso
Julie Moniak, Hanover Central
Christina Peete, Merrillville
Kim Sliwa, Boone Grove
Val Otis, Boone Grove
JoAnn Smith, Gavit
Leslie Tyburski, Gavit
Kelly Stolman, Whiting
Andrea Walker, Wheeler
LaSharon Watson, Roosevelt

There are a number of college preseason articles out there as well.  Here are a few about Indiana colleges and former Indiana players.
   Wynn puts her stamp on Grace women's basketball program - Times-Union
 Playing with a passion (Bethel) - South Bend Tribune
Foul mood drives Riley toward improvement - South Bend Tribune
Amy Fuller finding a home at BSU - Muncie Star Press
Cleveland State exhibition game recap - Cleveland State University
U of L(ousiville) men, women are successful in exhibitions - The Evening News

News thru Friday, November 3


Gary West Side senior Kim Smith has made a verbal commitment to Miami (Ohio) and will sign during the early signing period, which begins on November 8.  According to The Times, Smith, a 5'11 forward, was also being recruited by Evansville University and Wisconsin, although the Badgers left Smith uneasy after they had cancelled a home visit.  Smith and the Cougars are expected to do well during the 2000-2001 campaign, and have added South Bend Riley to their schedule this season, which will be an entertaining matchup between two extremely athletic and talented teams.  This one is set for December 16 on the road for the Cougars, as are most of their games.  Out of 19 regular season games, West Side will only have home court advantage 7 times this season.

Two other commitments were picked up by Cleveland State, bringing their grand total to five Indiana recruits from the Class of 2001.  Mandy Sichting of Martinsville, a 6'4 center, and Maria Rickards of New Albany, a 5'9 forward, will both be signing during the early signing period next week.  Sichting, who was also being recruited by a number of colleges for her volleyball skills, averaged 7.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in Martinsville's balanced offense.   The Artesians are poised to make some noise in Central Indiana season during Jan Conner's last year as head coach.  Rickards, who averaged 14.8 points and 7.0 rebounds last season, will be taking on a greatly expanded role this season for the Bulldogs with the graduation of scoring ace Abby Scharlow.  When the five Indiana recruits arrive at Cleveland State next season, there will be a definite Hoosier flavor to the Vikes as they will join CSU players Abby Scharlow (New Albany), Erika Roudebush (Hamilton Southeastern) and Christina Shrake (Mooresville) for a total of eight Indiana players on the CSU roster for 2001-2002.

The RRR made a short visit to the Valpo-Highland scrimmage last night at the Vikings gymnasium.  As we suspected, Trojan standout Jenny DeMuth and several of her volleyball teammates, including freshman sister Julie DeMuth, were not on the floor due to an insufficient number of practices before last night's preseason matchup.  Senior point guard Corrie Kaczmarek certainly had her hands full without the help of team leader DeMuth, but it was a great opportunity for Coach Chris Huppenthal's younger contingent to get some valuable minutes on the floor.  The big question that still hangs in the air for Valpo is the point guard position.  We only caught the last two quarters of the night's practice, but it looked as if junior Brittany Landreth spent most of those two quarters running the floor for the Vikes.  A new look in the frontcourt at times for Valpo was the use of a three-post offense, utilizing seniors Courtney Rosenbaum and Lee Traynham, and junior Brooke McAfee.  All three are extremely mobile and unselfish, which made for some fast-paced, crowd-pleasing transition plays that were hard for the Trojans to defend.  Watch for a lot of lob passes into the paint this season as the Vikings spearhead their attack through their strength in the frontcourt.  These three together are a formidable obstacle for any team on Valpo's schedule.  Add in the stepped-up offensive play of Dana Lippelt, who took it strong to the hoop on more than one occasion, and Coach Greg Kirby could see his Vikes pick up where they left off last season.  The youth in Highland's post game was showing last night against Valpo's experienced trio, but you can bet it will be much improved as the season progresses.  There is great potential there in sophomores Jessica Hamman and Mary Sutliff, as well as at the forward position in sophomore Lyndee Arnold.  Coach Hupp will not be hurting much in the depth of his lineup this season, except for experience.  This young group will get better with every game and should be in tournament form come February.

While at the Valpo-Highland scrimmage last night, the RRR bumped into sports reporter Jamie Perko of Lake Area ATT Cable.  He informed me that they will be carrying a number of girls game this season, including the much anticipated Highland-Crown Point matchup on December 2.  He will be sending us a complete schedule of televised games for the season, and when we receive it, we'll be sure to pass it along.  Perko also mentioned that he will debut a weekly high school basketball show this season which will cover 30 minutes of boys basketball and 30 minutes of girls basketball coverage.  All we can say is HALLELUJAH for equal time!  The folks at Lake Area are wise to make such a move and I expect this show will become a favorite in the Region this season.  When we receive the specifics, we will let you know when the first edition of this program is set to air.

Some season previews are starting to pop up on-line around the state.  Here are the ones we found for today.  If any more should come to our attention during the day, we'll add them to the list.  (Word from The Times is that their girls basketball preview special will appear on Monday, November 13.)
It all comes in cycles for Vigo girls hoops teams - TH Tribune Star
West Vigo looking to build on 16-8 season - TH Tribune Star
Fast breaks - Crawfordsville Journal Review
Kylie Schmink steps up for Frankton basketball - Herald Bulletin

Fox Sports has released its updated Top 40 player rankings for the Class of 2001.  Ben Davis senior Shyra Ely appears at the No. 3 spot, which is a switch from her usual top national ranking.  You can also view Ely's profile at Fox Sports.  A small blurb on the GoLadyVols website mentioned that Ely is expected to make her college choice announcement on the first day of the early signing period, November 8, which is Wednesday of next week.

The Lafayette Journal & Courier's Boiler Station recently profiled West Lafayette standout Ebba Gebisa and her recent visit to Purdue.  Gebisa is unwilling to make a choice as of yet since she is planning a final official visit to her fourth and final short-list school, Vanderbilt, this weekend. 

Coach Sandy Herre and the Benton Central Lady Bison team are holding their HOOPS TO HOPE activities this Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., to be followed by a scrimmage with Northwestern at 2:30.  The Bison have raised over $3000 already for this charity and plan on competitions of all sorts, from slam dunk contests to grandfather- grandmother- grandchildren contests.  Coach Herre is one of the finer younger coaches in the state and has already, in just four years, completely revitalized the Benton Central girls basketball tradition.

We haven't seen this one mentioned or linked anywhere yet, but Hoosier Basketball Magazine now has a website.  As you might suspect, the web address is  Although it doesn't look to be a complete site as of yet, you can get information about the current HBM edition, as well as details on the Reebok North/South All-Star Classic Series.

According to S & L Publishing's Steve Stremming, the On-Line Basketball Guide now includes 140 additional basketball teams from around the state.

According to an article at the AOL Sports website, some of the top recruits in the country are now looking outside of the circle of powerhouse programs in women's basketball for a college choice.

South Bend Riley has passed on a link for their team website.  Drop by and take a look at this up-and-coming team in the North Central part of the state.  They look to be serious contenders to challenge the big names in the South Bend area.

It was recently announced in the LaPorte Herald-Argus that former New Prairie and Evansville University player Suzanne Smith was named the head coach at St. Mary's College in South Bend.  Smith was a graduate assistant at DePauw for the past two seasons before accepting the head post at St. Mary's.

The Times has a short preview on the Valpo women, who debut in an exhibition game on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at VU.  According to the article, Jeanette Gray (Valparaiso) will head up an inexperienced lineup after the graduation of 7 seniors.  Freshmen guards Kristi Koselke (North Newton) and Suzie Hammel (Lebanon) are expected to see significant playing time this season, and senior center Carie Wickham (Avon) returns after a knee injury that kept her on the sidelines for most of 1999-2000. 


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