Region Roundball Review
September, 1998
News Archives
 
    


News thru September 29, 1998

Former Lake Central standout Kristina Divjak, who is a senior at Northwestern this year, recently went on a European tour with the Big Ten All-Star Team. During the tour, Divjak averaged 11.5 ppg, which was good enough for scoring honors on the team. The All-Stars played mostly in Denmark, facing teams with good shooters and quickness, but with little size, allowing for scoring opportunities in the post. Last season Divjak was the Big Ten scoring leader with 22.1 ppg and was the first Northwestern player to take Big Ten season scoring honors since 1985. Divjak should repeat as a Big Ten standout during the upcoming season.


There is an interesting article in the Indy Star today about the coaching situation at Purdue. Apparently, the Purdue athletic office is reaffirming their choice to allow head coach Carolyn Peck to continue coaching her last year, even though it has cost the school at least three difficult losses in the high school senior recruiting wars. Purdue's timetable calls for naming a replacement for Peck on April 1, 1999, and the athletic administration is standing by their decision to not name a coach until that time.
Also reported in the Star, Norwegian foreign-exchange student at Avon High School last year, Kristine Austgulen, has made a verbal commitment to Virginia Commonwealth. Although Austgulen will be attending college in the U.S. next year, she is currently completing her high school education in Norway. Avon High School enjoyed her contributions of 15.9 ppg and 9.0 rpg last season.

News thru September 26, 1998

An interesting feature piece in our local Times newspaper indicates that the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association is considering taking legal action against the IHSAA to force them to adjust the sectionals format for the boys this year. Because of the two-week overlap in tournament play between the boys and the girls, the IHSAA last year moved the boys sectional finals from the traditional Saturday to Friday so that fans would not have to make the difficult choice between their boys' sectional final or the girls semi-state on the same day. In theory, it sounds like a decent idea, but considering that the boys are playing on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in the sectionals, the feeling is that the one-day turnaround is just a little bit too quick to prepare for the sectional championship. Since the girls still follow the traditional sectional format of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday games, the boys coaches feel that they are not getting as fair a shake as the girls side and that the playing field is not level. The IHSAA's stance on this is that every boys' sectional is run the same way, so the field is level. The one-day turnaround is a difficult issue--especially if you have to fix some strategy for a new opponent. Truthfully, I don't know why they don't just have the boys play on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for this year and then try to rectify this thing next year with a more thought-out schedule that does not overlap the boys' and girls' tournaments to this degree. To get the complete discussion on this, go to the Times article.


According to Bill Beck out of Kokomo, seniors Tia Davis (5'9" point guard) and Heather Cusik (5'8" guard) are being recruited by a number of schools, among them Miami of Ohio, Butler, Central Michigan, Central Florida and Middle Tennessee State. The feeling is that James Madison has the inside track with Davis and that Miami of Ohio tops the list for Cusik. The college recruiters are keeping these girls pretty busy on a nightly basis. Stay posted for additional recruiting news out of Kokomo.
Speaking of college recruiting, the NCAA has formed a committee to take a look at some college basketball issues, including the recruitment process. The 27-member Division I Working Group to Study Basketball Issues will have its first meeting in October. Northwest Indiana is fortunate to be represented in the person of Alan Harre, President of Valparaiso University. Some of the issues that the committee will study include the Division I recruiting process, the image of intercollegiate basketball, low graduation rates, welfare of student athletes, and other issues. The year-long study will ultimately result in recommendations from the committee for NCAA legislation changes or other action to the Division I rules structure. This could affect the way that high school athletes are recruited by Division I schools beginning as early as with next year's senior class.
For those of you who are trying to make some long-range plans for next spring and summer's AAU basketball season, here are the proposed dates for the Indiana Association AAU regional and state tournament series for all age groups. Locations will be announced following the Indiana AAU Girls Basketball Tourney Bid Meeting on Monday, November 2, at Perry Meridian High School.

Age
Group

Event

1999 Date

10U/11U/12U/13U

 Developmental Tournaments

March 26-28 and/or April 9-11

10U/11U

Regionals

April 15-18

12U/13U

Regionals

April 22-25

10U/11U/12U/13U

State Finals
(Levels I, II & II)

April 30-May 2

16U/17U/18U

Regionals

June 6

16U/17U/18U

State Finals
(17U & 18U will play finals only if fewer than 17 entries)

June 11-13

14U/15U

Regionals

June 10-13

14U/15U

State Finals
(Levels I & II)

June 18-30

14U/15U/16U

Developmental Tourneys

June 25-27


News thru September 24, 1998

According to the September 23 media release from the IHSAA, it was proposed that the 1998-99 girls basketball tournament regionals be a two-game format, with the first game possibly beginning as early as 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. It was not clear whether the two game grouping would be based upon class or location, however, IHSAA Commissioner Bob Gardner stated previously in his public relations tour around the state that the regional format could be based upon location and not just class. We take that to mean that we may see a combination of the Class 4A and Class 3A regionals played at one site for each region, and the Class 2A and Class 1A regionals played at another site for each region, or even other class combinations. We'll keep you posted on this as more complete information becomes available. There was also some indication that the IHSAA will be surveying the public regarding the perceptions of the current class system before a decision is made to continue or discontinue the current format for the 1999-00 season. Watch for those survey forms at basketball games around the state, a la 1996-97, to get your input on the current class format.


Speaking of the 1998-99 IHSAA girls basketball tournament, it's not too early to mark your calendar now for the tournament draw, which is scheduled to take place on February 8, 1999, at 12:00 noon in the IHSAA office. The draw will be posted on the IHSAA web site that day for any and all to access. If you forget to write this one down, we've included it on our calendar of important events and games for you to refer to at a later date.
There was an interesting item in the Purdue Exponent regarding the loss of New Albany guard,
Kennitra Johnson, to the University of Connecticut in the recruiting wars. Apparently, several key prospects from Indiana have also decided to forego the choice of Purdue due to the uncertainty of the coaching situation there. As we previously reported, head coach Carolyn Peck has announced that she will not be coaching at Purdue next year since she accepted the head coaching position with the new WNBA franchise in Orlando. Because the identity of next year's coach at Purdue is not yet known, many potential recruits are passing over the Purdue program. Indiana seniors listed in the Exponent as having turned down Purdue for this reason are Center Grove's Emily Butler and Rushville's Elizabeth English. Also listed as turning down Purdue were last year's No. 1 college prospect Tamika Williams, who is going to Connecticut this year, and Illinois top shooting guard Alicia Ratay of Lake Zurich, who just verbally committed to Notre Dame.
Purdue walk-on and former LaPorte standout,
Beth Lapaich, is recuperating from a torn ACL that she suffered the very first day of open gym at Purdue at the end of August. According to her former LaPorte coach, John Dearing, Beth is reported to be making a quick recovery and is expected to be able to play at the start of the Purdue season. Although it was a complete tear, the injury is healing much quicker than anticipated. You can read about Beth's expected contributions to the Lady Boilermakers, as well as those of other former Indiana high school players, in the newly posted 1998-99 Lady Boilermaker Season Outlook at the official Purdue web site. We at the Region Roundball Review wish Beth a speedy and lasting recovery, and look forward to seeing her on the Mackey Arena floor.
It was a banner week earlier this month for 2A Eastbrook senior,
Laurie Kitts, the state's top scorer last basketball season with a 28.5 average. Kitts was out playing golf with her dad (for only the fifth time ever) and hit a hole-in-one with her dad's golf clubs on a 135 yard hole. Two days earlier, she was crowned homecoming queen at Eastbrook's homecoming football game. Laurie made a verbal commitment in August to play at Ball State next year. Who says making that early commitment doesn't take the pressure off?
Anyone closely associated with basketball players (and their superstitious ways) knows that the number you wear is almost as important as the numbers you put up on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, sometimes you can't always get the number you want stepping onto a new team. Such is the case for 1998 Miss Basketball
Kelly Komara, easily recognized around the Region over the past four years as No. 22 at Lake Central. Kelly will be wearing a new number at Purdue this year since senior Stephanie White-McCarty gets first dibbs on the coveted No. 22. Those from the Region will have to get used to seeing Kelly wearing No. 3 for the Boilermakers this year. (Shouldn't be TOO tough after seeing her in that No. 1 jersey during the All-Star series with Kentucky.) Mary Jo Noon (Jeffersonville) is fortunate to be able to wear her usual No. 55 and Beth Lapaich (LaPorte) will be seen in her familiar No. 24 for Purdue.

News thru September 23, 1998

There was an interesting item out of the Muncie Star Press this week about the inequities in funding at the Muncie schools for athletics between boys and girls. Apparently the school corporation there will be looking to make some retroactive salary changes after it was pointed out that more than twice as much money is being funded for boys' athletic coaches compared to the girls' coaches. In some particular sports, the inequities are even more pronounced. At Muncie Central, the boys basketball coaches are paid a total of $14,091, while the girls coaches are paid a total of $4,616. The assignment of coaching staff for each in this instance is the main reason for the discrepancy. The girls only have one assistant, compared to the boys who have three--something else that the school corporation may need to look at in terms of equity. Brent Tinder, Muncie Central's girls coach, believes that if given equal opportunity, the girls' atheltic programs there could "develop into championship-caliber programs."


In a recent newsletter from the Indianapolis AAU office, it was shown that the total number of girls playing AAU basketball in the state has decreased for the first time since 1992. The decrease was minimal (by 36) with 9,309 girls playing in 1998 compared to 9,345 in 1997. Again, Indiana ranks as the No. 1 association in the USA in the number of girls basketball participants. The next closest association is Michigan, with 6,562, a difference of nearly 2,800. Also in this newsletter, the places and dates of the AAU national tournaments for 1999 and 2000 were detailed as follows:

Age
Group

1999 Site/Date

2000 Site/Date

Age
Group

1999 Site/Date

2000 Site/Date

10U

Orlando, FL
Jul 24-Aug 1

Orlando, FL
Jul 7-15

15U

Oklahoma City, OK
Jul 9-17

Amarillo, TX
Jul 21-29

11U

Kenner, LA
Jul 2-10

Lafayette, IN
Jun 30-Jul 8

16U

Kingsport, TN
Jun 25-Jul 3

Chattanooga, TN
Jul 7-15

12U

Springfield, MO
Jul 16-24

Ogden, UT
Jun 30-Jul 8

17U/18U

Arlington, TX
Jul 2-10

Clarksville, TN
Jul 14-22

13U

Orlando, FL
Jul 8-16

Orlando, FL
Jul 14-22

JO

Cleveland, OH
Late Jul

Orlando, FL
Late Jul

14U

Virginia Beach, VA
Jul 16-24

Monroe, LA
Jul 21-29

  

  

  


As reported on Monday by Randy Beckett in his Fifth Quarter News Briefs, the Blue Star Top 100 Seniors have been listed for 1998-99. Five seniors from Indiana were listed, including No. 9 April McDivitt (5'6" Connersville), No. 17 Kennitra Johnson (5'7" New Albany), No. 31 Emily Butler (5'7" Center Grove), No. 54 Nok Duany (6'0" Bloomington North), and No. 89 Lello Gebisa (6'5" West Lafayette). The No. 1 rated player in the nation is Nina Smith (6'3") out of Waterloo, IA. Smith was ranked the No. 2 player in Blue Star's Top 80 last October as a junior. After this month's final Blue Star Shootout on September 27 in Chicago and New Jersey, there may be additional rankings from Blue Star that could include several talented underclass(wo)men from around the country.
We recently made a change to the New Albany newspaper link on our Prep News Map. The previous link was not much help, as it contained mostly advertising and was non-existent in sports coverage. We were hoping that the New Albany newspaper might do something to address the lack of sports coverage before the season began, but they have not responded to our e-mails requesting a change. Luckily, due to a heads-up from a faithful and helpful Region Roundball Review regular in the New Albany area, we have now linked to a better on-line newspaper in the form of the Louisville Courier-Journal. This is a premium news web site covering sports in both New Albany and Louisville. It even has a Real Audio area with video highlights from the Courier-Journal High School Sports Show. (If you don't have the Real Audio plug-in, you can download it directly from this site.) This sports show has weekly game highlights, featured student athletes, sports features, and athletes of the week for both Indiana and Kentucky. Can't imagine that
Kennitra Johnson and the New Albany Lady Bulldogs will go through the whole season without being acknowledged by this news program. Get your Real Audio plugged in before the season starts so you can be ready for the video highlights of the upcoming season.
During the upcoming Big Ten college season, be on the watch for a new public service announcement campaign encouraging girls in grades K-8 to participate in sports. According to the Big Ten Commissioner, girls who do not participate in sports by age 10 have only a 10% chance of participating in sports at age 25. The campaign is the continuation of an initiative begun in 1992 by the Big Ten to increase female participation in sports at Big Ten schools. So far, the first phase of the initiative has resulted in 900 new participation opportunities for women at Big Ten schools, or an increase of 40% in 6 years. The second phase of the initiative is entitled "Dream Big" and is the theme behind the public service announcements. Interestingly, the spots were produced and filmed by a company from Mishawaka, IN.
And lastly, from Bizarre-Happenings-That-Have-Nothing-to-Do-With-Indiana-High-School-Girls-Basketball, we caught this item buried in our local newspaper. We've all heard of college programs being suspended or put on probation by the NCAA for rules infractions. Well a blow was struck to the college marching band world when the bands from Prairie View A & M and Southern University were suspended for two games as a result of an altercation between the two bands during halftime of a September 19 football game. Now that's one halftime show I would have liked to have seen...
(Sorry about the digression...we just had to include this one!)

News thru September 22, 1998

New Albany standout, Kennitra Johnson has made it official. She will be attending the University of Connecticut next year after making a verbal commitment to Huskies coach Geno Auriemma. Johnson, who has been considering offers from Purdue, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Penn State as well, made the decision after visiting the U Conn campus over the weekend with New Albany head coach Angie Hinton. During her visit, Kennitra toured the campus, visited with members of the Huskies squad and then scrimmaged with the team. Kennitra made the decision to commit as soon as she got home on Sunday evening. Thanks for the heads-up from a Region Roundball Review reader, who passed on this information to us after seeing it in a few Connecticut newspapers. You can read about Kennitra's decision to attend U Conn on-line in the New Haven Register and also in the Hartford Courant. The Indianapolis Star is also reporting KJ's commitment today in its Indiana's Game section.


News thru September 18, 1998

Word from a helpful contact in southern Indiana tells us that Shelly Broughton (5'9") from Jeffersonville has verbally committed to Murray State in Kentucky. Broughten was a starting guard for the Devils in the Hoosier Hills Conference, and was an integral part of last year's team that finished 6th in the state in final rankings, but was eliminated in the South Semi-State by Ben Davis.


If any of you haven't been to the IHSAA site for some time, it is undergoing some major reconstruction. It looks like they are adding some interesting new areas, including a newsletter, a links area, a directory to member schools, IHSAA board minutes and other areas of interest to coaches, players, officials and fans. Many of these areas are not yet ready for public viewing, but I'm sure that once they are activated and complete, all of us will be grateful for additional information from the IHSAA.
Purdue head coach, Carolyn Peck, who will be leaving her college post next year for the WNBA head coaching spot at 1999 expansion franchise Orlando, received some great news this week. Nykesha Sales (6'0"), Big East Conference Player of the Year from Connecticut, will be putting on an Orlando uniform next WNBA season. Peck, who is also the Orlando general manager, believes that Sales is a phenomenal player and should be a fan favorite. Some of you might remember the controversy surrounding Sales late last February when she suffered a torn Achilles tendon before the season ended and was allowed to put up an uncontested layup to take Connecticut's all-time scoring record. Peck has created some controversy of her own by accepting the Orlando coaching job only after one year as head coach at Purdue. Purdue has seen three different head coaches in the past four years. Linn Dunn was let go three years ago after some controversy in the Purdue camp, and then Nell Fortner took over the reins. Fortner left last year to coach the women's national team, and Peck (then Fortner's assistant) took over the head spot. Although Peck will make it two years in a row with the Lady Boilermakers this season, the fact that she will be leaving after this season puts Purdue in a difficult recruiting position, especially since Peck's replacement has not yet been named. Case in point is New Albany standout Kennitra Johnson, who is being heavily recruited by Purdue, Connecticut and Vanderbilt. Although it is rumored that Kennitra would like to stay close to home, the decision becomes very difficult for her when the issue of the head coaching spot at Purdue has not yet been settled.
We have added the Corydon Central Lady Panthers web page to our high school team links. If you know of a team that has a web page that we do not have listed, please e-mail us with the web address so that we may add them to our list. Thanks.

Came across an interesting article at the Bloomington Hoosier Times. Although it's not connected to Indiana girls basketball in any manner, it is about the Tennessee Lady Vols and their anticipated trip to the White House in November. Makes for some interesting reading. I don't know how long this link will be active, so if you want to take a look at the article, I'd do it soon. (I'll check this link tomorrow to see if it's archived so we can try and maintain the link.)

News thru September 16, 1998

To quickly add some news to yesterday's report, all of you with 9-year-old daughters better make your hotel reservations now. The AAU National Committee has awarded Lafayette the 11-and-Under AAU national tournament for July in the year 2000. Even though this was its first bid, Lafayette beat out 13 other cities from across the nation, who were competing for national tournaments in seven age groups. The Tournament Director will be Lafayette Jeff girls basketball coach, Jeff Waldon. The tournament is expected to make an economic impact of over $1 million for the one-week duration of the event in Lafayette. Facilities to be utilized for the event are Lafayette Jeff, Techumseh Junior High, Wainwright Middle School, Southwestern Middle School, and possibly Mackey Arena at Purdue.


Region sophomore standout, Cathy Herring (5'8") of Hammond Morton, is enjoying some attention for her volleyball skills this fall. Herring, who averaged 16.5 ppg as a freshman point guard last year, plays the role of setter and floor leader for the Governers during the volleyball season under head coach Marie Herring, her mom. Because of her versatility, Herring gives her opponents fits by switching up from setter to hitter. Last volleyball season she had 118 kills, 435 assists, 129 blocks, 207 digs, and 104 aces. Coach Mom says that Cathy is getting some interest from Division I volleyball programs and will probably have a choice of where she wants to go. The toughest choice for Herring may not be WHERE she wants to play, but WHAT she wants to play. She has the potential to be a Division I basketball player as well.

News thru September 15, 1998

You may have seen this item on the Indy Star forum, but we'll repeat it here anyway in case you missed it. Bill Beck out of Kokomo tells us that Kari Stover, a former Indiana All-Star and Kokomo alum, is returning home to take on freshman coaching responsibilities for the Kokomo High School Lady Kats. Stover played Division I ball at Toledo and later transferred to play at Valparaiso University. Besides being responsible for bringing along the younger members of the Kats basketball program, Kari will also assist in coaching varisty post play. With Stover and Tiffany Longworth, another former Indiana All-Star and D1 Kat who was recently hired as assistant varsity coach for Kokomo, practices in the Kat gym should take on an interesting twist this season. As Bill puts it, "Not too bad a deal to get to scrimmage with All-Stars who can coach you by 'taking you to school.'" If Stover and Longworth can get the Lady Kats to kick up their play another notch this season, they'll definitely be in the thick of things come tournament time.


Everyone mark your calendars for one of the premier college matchups of the early season on Sunday, November 15. That's the day 1998 National Champs Tennessee University, featuring NCAA Player of the Year Chamique Holdsclaw and Coach Pat Summit, bring their game to Purdue's Mackey Arena in West Lafayette for the State Farm Women's Tipoff Classic. The opening game will be Kansas vs. North Carolina (2:00 EST on ESPN2), followed by the headliner with the Lady Vols against the Lady Boilermakers (4:30 EST on ESPN). Just in case any of you have forgotten (we know it's been awhile since the end of last season), Region favorite and 1998 Miss Basketball Kelly Komara (Lake Central) will be making her debut as a Boilermaker in her first official college game. And don't forget all of the other Boilermakers who are from Indiana -- Stephanie White-McCarty (Seeger), Danielle Bird (Ft. Wayne Dwenger), Candi Crawford (Ft. Wayne Homestead), Mackenzie Curless (Martinsville), Katie Douglas (Perry Meridian), Connie Murdock (S. Bend Clay), and Mary Jo Noon (Jeffersonville). We've ordered our tickets for the day, which are $13.00 for lower arena seats or $9.00 for upper arena seats. To order tickets, call 1-800-49-SPORT. Interestingly enough, that's the opening week for the high school girls basketball season, as well. Nothing like diving head first into the basketball season.
We reported in our last news update that Notre Dame received a verbal commitment from Alicia Ratay (5'10") of Lake Zurich, IL. Well, it's been a busy week for Notre Dame as they have also received a commitment from Monique Hernandez, a 5'9" guard from Albuquerque, NM, for the 1999-00 school year. Hernandez was a three-time all-state selection in New Mexico and averaged 16.7 points a game last season. As we get closer and closer to the start of the season, watch for more verbal commitments to Indiana colleges and by Indiana high school players who are looking to clear the college issue before the 98-99 high school basketball season begins.

On a final note, for those of you who may have heard some rumblings about the AAU age determing date being changed for next season, it was recently determined at the Annual AAU Convention that there were not enough votes to have that issue considered by the AAU governing body. Also, for you AAU coaches and players out there, the AAU has formed a committee to study the feasibility of dress codes for coaches and players. Can't imagine what brought on the need for that. Can anybody out there fill us in on this one?

News thru September 11, 1998

An exciting opportunity for Indiana coaches will be available next weekend in Indianapolis. The Baden Elite Basketball Clinic will take place at the Adam's Mark Hotel on September 18-19 and at Ben Davis High School on September 20. Listen to this list of featured speakers: Pat Summit (University of Tennessee), Tara VanDerveer (Stanford University), and Angie Lee (University of Iowa). WOW! Oh, and from the men's side, the listed speakers are Bobby Knight (Indiana University), Kevin Stallings (Illinois State), Mike Jarvis (St. John's University) and Kelvin Sampson (University of Oklahoma). Additional NCAA Division I coaches are also expected to speak. Deadline for pre-registration is today. Unfortunately, the news source where we found this did not give any contact phone numbers. You could try the Adam's Mark in Indy. The stated pre-registration fee is $85.00.


We've been reading with great interest on the Indy Star basketball forum about the recruiting of 1999 Miss Basketball candidate Kennitra Johnson of New Albany. It's been reported that she has received visits from the University of Connecticut coaching staff persuading her to become a Huskie. Connecticut is believed to have the best incoming freshman class in the country this year, including Tamika Williams of Dayton, Ohio, the 1998 Naismith and Parade National High School Player of the Year. New Albany's Johnson would be a nice fit with this year's freshman group at UConn next year if things work. Throw in the return of Huskie Shea Ralph, who was redshirted last year with an ACL, and Connecticut could be giving 1999-00 nightmares to Tennessee's Pat Summit and Connersville's April McDivitt (Tennessee recruit and also a 1999 Miss Basketball candidate). If you'd like to read more about the Huskies and see where you might (???) be able to follow Kennitra in the future, you can go to the Connecticut Huskies official web site. It should also be mentioned that Purdue has KJ on their recruiting list as well and are not about to give up yet. The NWI Region will get a good look at Kennitra when she and the rest of the talented New Albany Bulldogs come to play in the Crown Point Holiday Shootout on January 2.
Speaking of freshman class rankings, it was reported on Bob Richard's Boilermaker Basketball Recruiting web site that the Women's Basketball Journal lists Purdue's incoming recruiting class of Mary Jo Noon (6'4" Jeffersonville) and Kelly Komara (5'7" Lake Central) as the 14th best recruiting class in the nation. Richard also reported that in early rankings for the 98-99 season, Purdue is ranked as the 4th best team in the land by the Women's Basketball News.
The Goshen News reports that former Goshen High School graduate Kristi Lamb (6'3"), will transfer to play Division II basketball at Indiana University-Purdue University Ft. Wayne after playing for the past two years at Glen Oaks community College in Michigan. Lamb was hampered by several injuries during her high school career, but has worked on her strength and coordination to become an aggressive scorer. As the tallest player on the IPFW roster, she should see plenty of playing time over the next two years.
In other college news, two Indiana colleges landed highly desirable recruits, while another lost one to a Big Ten rival. Diane Wick (6'2" C/F) of Rochester, Minnesota, has given a verbal commitment to play for the Division I Purple Aces of Evansville University next year. Hopefully she will give the Aces a boost, as they were 6-20 last season. Also, Purdue lost out to Notre Dame in the recruiting battle for Alicia Ratay (5'10") of Lake Geneva, Illinois. Ratay was ranked 48th as a junior on the Blue Star Top 80 Index for 1997-98, and opted out to the Irish of South Bend.
Welcome to Lakewood Park Christian School of Auburn as a new member of the IHSAA. Although Lakewood will not be able to participate in IHSAA sanctioned tournaments for the next four years (normal IHSAA procedure for new members), they will be fielding a girls basketball team in 1A and 2A regular season play in the meantime. This should add another dimension to those two classes of season play in Northeast Indiana.
As you might have guessed, high school basketball news has been thin over the past week. If you have anything to contribute as we close in on the 30-day mark to the start of the season, please drop us a line. Thanks.

News thru September 6, 1998

Chesterton's talented Jackie Campbell (5'10" guard and Review Top 20 Senior) has announced her intentions to play for the Top 25 Colorado State Rams after a visit to the campus in Fort Collins. The Division I Rams were a No. 12 seed in last year's NCAA tournament and will graduate three seniors after next season, an ideal situation for a versatile freshman who can play just about every position on the floor. Jackie is a highly regarded player in the Northwest Indiana Region. No small compliment considering that she earned her reputation in the tough Duneland Athletic Conference. We saw Jackie play at the Memorial Invitational Tournament at Michigan State University this past summer, and she was deadly from 3-point range. Jackie's dad, Jack Campbell, is the varsity coach for his daughter's 4A Chesterton Trojans team. Sister Jill Campbell is a junior playing basketball at Valparaiso University. There is also a younger Campbell coming up through the ranks, so stay tuned for Part III of Campbell Girls Basketball at Chesterton.


In other college prospect news, word has it that Valparaiso senior Jeanette Gray (5'10" forward) is contemplating scholarship offers from Valparaiso University and University of Toledo. However, with Gray's oustanding play this summer in AAU, and after being named to the AAU All-American team for her age group, most likely Gray will be waiting to see if any serious offers will be forthcoming from other top women's basketball college programs across the country before she commits.
The recent change in girls basketball coaching staff at 4A Hobart also includes a new position for last season's Hobart freshman coach, Mike Pritchett. Pritchett will officially take on varsity assistant coaching duties under new Hobart head coach Phil Misecko. Pritchett, a former head coach at 4A Merrillville, jump-started the Merrillville girls basketball program several years ago by giving a serious look to a program that was overshadowed by popular and established girls volleyball, gymnastics and softball programs. Besides instituting an uptempo game for the Pirates during his tenure, Pritchett also developed a feeder program, the results of which may be seen this season by new Merrillville head coach Joe Poteet.
Former Benton Central player Christy Smith (5'6" dynamo point guard) has been nominated for the 1998 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Smith, a four-time Honorable Mention All-American, helped lead her Arkansas team to this year's NCAA Final Four. She is a WNBA second-round draft pick for the Charlotte Sting and was the starting point guard for gold medal Team USA in last year's World University Games. The NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced on October 18 in Indianapolis. You can read a great article about Christy. It's a bit dated, but if you're not familiar with this outstanding former Hoosier prep player, it's definitely worth giving a look.
From some statewide coaching news in the Indianapolis Star, J. T. Hubenthal, long-time girls varsity coach at 4A Logansport, has retired from teaching and coaching. Hubenthal's Logansport Berries were knocked out early in the sectional last year after losing to eventual semi-state qualifier McCutcheon. Logansport has already named a replacement, Mike Springer, a Logansport boys basketball assistant for the past three years. Springer inherits an experienced senior group that could be a factor in this year's Logansport sectional. That senior group consists of 1998 Junior All Star Kristen Lowry (6'2" F/C), Amy Muehlhausen (5'8" wing), Brooke Howard (5'7" wing), Abby Luttrell (5'8" forward), and Erica Hetz (5'10" forward).

Also, at 3A Mt. Vernon High School, head coach Diana Myers has been dismissed from her girls basketball coaching responsibilities. Myers compiled a 47-17 record as head coach of the Marauders over the past three seasons. No replacement has been named, but the new coach stepping into the job will find a young and talented duo with Johna Goff (5'5" junior guard) and Alyssa Kirby (5'4" soph guard) on the roster.


In other coaching news, some of you may have read in the Indianapolis and Lafayette newspapers this past week about the resignation of 1A Central Catholic girls varsity coach Ann Hensley. Hensley is leaving her alma mater prep post after one year to take an assistant coaching position at the University of Indianapolis, where she was the all-time leading scorer for the Greyhounds during her college basketball career from 1993-96. With the hiring of a replacement for Hensley, Lafayette Central Catholic is looking at the seventh coach in six years to lead and build their girls basketball program. Good luck to LCC in finding a long-term replacement.
From the "Just-In-Case-You-Missed-It File," a fair number of incoming senior players from Indiana were invited to attend the Womens Basketball Coaches Association Senior Camp this past July in Chicago. Those invited were Emily Butler (Center Grove), Kristin Cheairs (West Side), Kennitra Johnson (New Albany), Dorcus Lawson (Terre Haute South), and April McDivitt (Connersville). This was quite a good showing for Indiana, with 5 Hoosier players invited out of a total 129 seniors invited nationwide. The WBCA also held its Underclass Camp the same month, which included invitations to incoming Indiana juniors Elizabeth Benson (Bloomington South), Shalicia Hurns (Broad Ripple) and Anna Waugh (Franklin). This was not a real great showing of numbers for Indiana out of 149 invited to the Underclass Camp. In our opinion, juniors who could have been included on the WBCA invitation list, among others, are Erin Sampsel (Valparaiso) and Stacy White (Seeger).


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