Region Roundball Review
September, 2002
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.

September, 2002
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     Important Upcoming Dates:

9/8 -    NCAA Quiet Period ends
9/9 -    NCAA Contact Period begins
9/22 -    Top Dog Showcase @ Plainfield Sports Center
9/29 -    adidas Fall Midwest Explosion @ Univ. of Indianapolis
9/29 -    NCAA Contact Period ends

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News thru Tuesday, September 10


The early signing period is looming, and college coaches are in high gear, making phone calls, scheduling home visits and planning official visits for their top recruits.  Some of Indiana's top seniors are still sampling the college buffet, and it's hard to say when some of them will bite.  This is a stressful time for all of them -- the phone calls, letters, faxes, FedEx deliveries... when will it all end?  Pretty soon for some, but not awhile for others.

Reicina Russell, now of Lawrence North, will not be making her college choice until after the upcoming season.  (RRR Photo)

 "It's exciting times at Riley," according to South Bend Riley head coach Mike Megyesi, as it should be, with two highly recruited seniors on his roster.  Suntana Granderson and Crystal Norman have been on the wish lists of some of the top programs in the country since busting onto the scene freshman season.  Currently, Granderson has home visits scheduled with Xavier, Michigan State and Western Kentucky, and is still getting high interest from Notre Dame, Minnesota and DePaul.  Norman also has a home visit on the calendar with Xavier and is a high priority with Wisconsin, Fresno State and Indiana.  Coach Meg doesn't know if these two will be signing in November, but he's enjoying the high excitement his two stars are generating during the pre-season months.
Probably the most talked about senior in the state this summer, Reicina Russell is going to be a busy girl over the next few months.  She is scheduled for home visits with Indiana, Purdue, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, UNLV, and Marquette... so far.  According to Russell's new coach, Jodie Whitaker of Lawrence North, the 6'6 4A state finals MVP has not narrowed her list and will wait until after all her home visits to schedule any official campus visits.  But don't expect any big announcements coming out of the LN athletic office soon.  According to Whitaker, "I am sure she will not sign until the spring."  The courting coaches will just have to sweat this one out for another six months or so.

Amanda Norris of Shenandoah puts the defensive squeeze on Southwestern's Janet Hertz at the 2A state finals in March.  Norris is mulling over her college options as the early signing period approaches. (Photo by Bob Strempka of

Another player who was outstanding in the finals and set two 2A state championship records (30 pts, 7 assts), Amanda Norris of Shenandoah, made an official visit to the University of Indianapolis on September 9, and is in the process of setting a date to visit Southern Illinois soon.  Norris will have no problems whatsoever in meeting academic requirements.  The 5'10 junior forward gets it done off the court as well with a 12.7 GPA on a 12.0 scale.
When faced with a large menu to choose from, sometimes it's hard to make a choice, even when it comes to steak or seafood.  Kokomo multi-position standout Deunna Hendrix is being heavily courted by a multitude of D1 schools, but is unsure of a short list at this time.  As one of the many top D1 players to come out of Kokomo over the past dozen years, Hendrix tells the Kats coaching staff, "The three I pick today, usually aren't the same three I pick tomorrow."
Local standout Lyndee Arnold of Highland will be playing the market by not signing until after the season.  The defensive ace will be making the most of her senior season to increase her stock.  (To all you out there who noticed, sorry about the mixed metaphors!)  Although at least two D1 schools (among other programs) have expressed sincere interest, both schools recently had available scholarships spoken for.  Arnold will have a chance to prove the offensive side of her game starting in November, as she will need to figure highly into the Trojan's point-total attack this season if Coach Chris Huppenthal's charges are to enjoy the success they did in 2001-02.

Coaches continue to be in the news this week.
Most notable to Region fans is the departure of Hammond Noll coach Tom Haluska.  He has resigned in order to provide more time in his personal life for the adoption of two orphans from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.  According to The Times, Haluska and his wife will be bringing home an 8-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl in December or January to join the Haluska household.  The three-year coach made the tough decision during the past few weeks, believing that he should "be a full-time dad, and it wouldn't be fair to my family or the people at Noll if I continued in coaching."  Noll has a promising team returning this season, led by frosh Ashley Hluska (6'1 F/C).  The Warriors are the fourth of five Hammond schools that will see a new head coach on the sidelines this season.  Hammond Clark has replaced Jim Glowacki with Dale Ridgely, Hammond Morton replaced Sephen Nestich with Rick Boner, and Hammond Gavit is still searching for a replacement for popular coach Tom Spina.
Evansville Central named Mike Powless as it's new head coach, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.  Powless brings a wide-ranging resume with him to the job, including a 9-year stint as boys varsity assistant at Central.  Powless can't go anywhere but up this season, stepping into the job on the heels of a 0-20 season for the Bears.  Last season Central had a very young team that included three freshmen, seven sophomores and one junior.

The IHSAA has approved the entry of five new teams into the organization's fold.  Elkhart Baptist Christian School (Elkhart), Holy Cross High School (Fort Branch-Gibson County), International School of Indiana (Indianapolis), Restoration Christian School (Sellersburg) and Signature Learning Center (Evansville) were all granted membership on September 5.  According to IHSAA By-Laws, these five schools will be eligible for IHSAA tournament participation beginning in 2004-05.  This could upset the apple cart for several 1A schools, who will be pushed up the classification ladder to 2A by these new small-enrollment schools.  Schools currently on the 1A to 2A cusp include South Newton, North Central (Farmersburg), Clinton Prairie, Hebron and Wapahani.  But then again, all those on the cusp could change depending on their frosh thru junior enrollment status at the time of the new realignments to take place after the 2002-03 school year.  More:  Restoration granted IHSAA membership - Jeffersonville News-Tribune; School Classifications for 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 School Years - IHSAA website

Slam Magazine has come out with it's 2002-03 Women's Preseason Top 10, and two Indiana colleges are in the mix, as well as one other with Indiana players on the roster.
Slam Magazine Women's Preseason Top 10
1. Duke
2. Tennessee
3. Kansas State
4. Texas
5. Connecticut
6. Georgia
7. Purdue
8. LSU
9. Texas Tech
10. Stanford
On the other end of the spectrum has come out with its Bottom 10.  Although this list in itself seems brutal, the intent of the rankings is not aimed at the players but at the coaches and administrative staff who have failed to bring respect to their programs.  Hopefully, some of the Indiana players currently on these teams can help get them off the list during the season.
WCH Bottom 10 Preseason 2002-2003
1.  St. John's
2. Washington State
3.  Arkansas Little Rock
4.  California State-Fullerton
5.  Kentucky
6.  Chicago State
7.  University of Missouri-Kansas City
8.  Pittsburgh
9.  Wake Forest
10.  Texas Pan American

And in the news from the basketball weird, a 42-year-old California judge challenged a 20-year-old former high school basketball star to a game of one-on-one after the player stated, in court on a misdemeanor, that he smoked pot because it made him a better basketball player.  According to the Charlotte Observer, the judge proved the offender's theory wrong, whipping him 10-3.  Guess you won't be seeing cannabis as an ingredient in any sports drinks soon....


News thru Friday, September 6


Well, it's that time of the year again!  We know there are 45 days until the new season begins, but that won't stop us from getting the jump on this year's Super Senior 25.  Indiana has one of the most talented groups ever in the Class of 2003, and whittling down the list to our top 25 picks was not easy.  As in the past, we've provided an outlet for you to voice your own opinion about the best of 2003 on our message board.

Shelbyville junior forward Gwen Haehl suffered another physical setback when the tibia in her right leg was broken in a soccer match last Thursday.  Although the Shelbyville News indicates a 6-8 week recovery period, dad William Haehl expects her absence to be more in the area of 10-12 weeks.  Haehl tore the ACL in her left knee last soccer season.  Although she was able to play basketball, she was not at full strength, averaging 4.0 points a game.

Indiana sees transfers of girls basketball players from program to program each and every year, but we can't recall a school year as transfer-busy as 2002-03, especially with so many talented players.  The latest to come to our attention is Brandi Carter (6'1 C/PF) of Indianapolis Manual.  She has made the move to Indianapolis Arlington, where she will make an immediate impact with her potent offense.  Many key players have left their teams for a final year of high school ball, and each is expected to make an impact.  Those that we are aware of so far this school year:

Player Left Now Attending Notes of interest
Audra Blackford
18.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg
2A Triton Central 3A Shelbyville Was a key player on TC's run to the Regional; will give Shelbyville a huge boost, especially with the recent injury to Gwen Haehl
Rachel Brockman
14.4ppg, 7.8 rpg
4A Indpls Cathedral 4A Noblesville Was on two Cathedral 3A state championship teams; will give a shot in the arm to the Millers after the graduation of two DI players
Brandi Carter
23.8 ppg, 14.2 rpg
4A Indpls Manual 4A Indpls Arlington Carried Manual last season and will be greatly missed; will boost the Arlington lineup with instant offense
Jen McMullin
10.4 ppg
2A Hanover Central 4A Crown Point Has been an enforcer from Day 1 for the Wildcats; will be fighting for a position on a senior-laden CP team, but has the muscle the 'Dogs lost to graduation
Megan Risinger
2.3 ppg
4A Terre Haute South 2A Heritage Christian Although played a limited role for the 4A state champs, was expected to contribute a great deal with the graduation of the THS Fab Four guards; brings much to the table for the first-year IHSAA eligible team at HC
Reicina Russell
19.3 ppg, 10.9 rpg
4A Terre Haute South 4A Lawrence North Led her team to the 2002 4A State Championship; should single-handedly replace a LN frontcourt depleted by graduation


Allison Lindborg will be a Toledo Rocket next season.

Abby Noll is headed to Bethel College after high school.  (Photo by Bob Strempka of

South Bend St. Joseph senior Allison Lindborg recently committed to Toledo coach Mark Ehlen.  Lindborg chose the Rockets over Ball State, Illinois State, Cleveland State and Valparaiso.  The 6'3 forward also received interest from Indiana, Kansas, Arizona and Tennessee.  Lindborg's choice was based upon the academic emphasis in the women's program at Toledo and the rising basketball tradition there.  She liked the players, distance from home and especially the coach.  The 2002 Indiana Junior All-Star, who carries a 3.5 GPA in SBSJ's rigorous academic program, averaged 16.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.3 blocks and 2.2 steals per game last season.

According to the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette, Carroll (Allen) senior Abby Noll intends to sign with Bethel College in Mishawaka.  In just three years, Noll has amassed 12 school records, including career scoring with an ongoing tally of 988 points.  Noll's Chargers went 20-4 last season on the way to the 4A regional finals against Northrop.  The senior point guard averaged 15.0 points and 5.1 assists as a junior.  Noll will be joining former Carroll teammate Tiffany Miller, who is a freshman at Bethel this season.

Tri has a new head coach in Jeremy Powers.  Powers was hired in June to replace outgoing coach Charlie Byrket, who was with the Titans for only one year.  Powers, who received his college degree in elementary education at Marian College in 2002, coached the boys varsity at Morton Memorial two seasons ago.  He inherits a squad that went 7-14 last season and finished in the middle of the pack of the Tri-Eastern Conference.

A heightened fan interest could be brewing for the Valparaiso Crusaders this season, as two new additions bring a true NWI flavor to the lineup.  Lauren Bechtold (Hebron) and Jamie Gutowski (Andrean) will make their college debut at VU in November, when the Crusaders step into a pretty rugged non-conference schedule.  On tap in the early going are at least four post-season qualifiers from last season, including Texas Tech, Notre Dame, Ball State and DePaul.  If the Crusaders can get past Miami (OH) in an early-season November tournament, they could face another post-season qualifier in Michigan State.

Lauren Bechtold from Hebron is one of eight freshmen on the VU roster this season.  (Photo by Bob Strempka of

After coming off of the most successful season in VU women's history, coach Keith Freeman will have his work cut out for him this year, as there are a lot of new faces on the roster.  But the momentum from last season should give the Crusaders a nice jumpstart to the 2002-03 campaign.  When asked about how the freshmen will contribute, Freeman says, "From a strength and conditioning standpoint, it will be a wait and see until we know what roles will be played. There is a big difference between most freshman and our returning players. Our next eight weeks will be critical for us since we have eight freshman in the program."  Indiana freshmen Bechtold, Gutowski, Devin Reed (Lawrence North) and Megan Bess (Danville) are all doing well, according to Freeman.
As for returning players, the Crusaders will be waiting on Lebanon grad Suzy Hammel to reach full strength on her way back from an ACL tear she incurred last season.  After a summer of rehab, Hammel will be working hard during the preseason to return to the lineup when the Crusaders take the floor in November.  On the up side, Freeman believes senior team leader Jeanette Gray (Valparaiso) is in great shape and stronger and quicker than last season.  The Crusaders will also have conference freshman of the year Katie Boone (Center Grove) returning to the lineup as a proven point guard veteran.
Region fans would do well to catch the Crusaders this season.  Season tickets for all 14 home games are now on sale.  For more information, contact the VU Athletic ticket office at (219) 464-5233.

According to the Purdue website, Boilermaker grad Kelly Komara (Lake Central) has been named the NCAA Woman of the Year winner for Indiana.  She is now in a pool of 50 athletes, from which ten will be named as finalists for the national NCAA Woman of the Year.  The national winner will be named on November 2 in Indianapolis.  The award recognizes outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics and community service.

Another one of the state's great high school basketball websites is gearing up for the new season.  ETPEARL.COM is up and running with capsule previews on all boys and girls teams in the South Bend area (On the Corner), with more updates to come. Earl is actively seeking ads from businesses and booster clubs to keep his site going.  If you know of any interested parties, contact Earl at

Valparaiso University will be holding it's annual Fall Coaches' Clinic on September 13 & 14.  Featured speakers are VU coach Keith Freeman, Northern State University coach Don Meyer, Taylor University coach Paul Patterson and Indiana Wesleyan coach Steve Brooks.  For more info, go to the Valpo U website.

Check back next week, when we'll have a roundup of some of the top uncommitted players in the Class of 2003.




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