News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Amey Takes Aim

March 19, 2012

AMEY TAKES AIM: This private school plays basketball the right way

Any girls high school basketball season that ends with state championship games in Hulman Center is a pretty good one — even though I wished I’d seen Riverton Parke and Seeger knock off a couple of private schools the week before to even the public school-private school battle a little bit.

I do have a confession to make, though. I actually like Fort Wayne Canterbury — not because they’re a school with Class 4A talent taking advantage of the little public schools who started class basketball in the first place, but because of the way they play.

Canterbury led the state in scoring during the 2011-2012 season for a very basic reason: when the Cavaliers had the ball, they tried to score! No shot clock necessary in their games.

As coach Alan Mathies of Northeast Dubois said after the Class A final earlier this month, the Cavaliers are willing to let you have a good shot, because that means they’ll be shooting one of their own in a few seconds. Reminded me of my first favorite college basketball team — Jimmy Rayl, Archie Dees and the Hurryin’ Hoosiers of Branch McCracken.

With Canterbury’s three best shooters coming back next year, I can’t imagine their style changing any. Riverton Parke’s Sara Dickey hopes so, because she wants another crack at the Cavaliers in the semistate.

Speaking of Sara reminds me of perhaps my favorite quote of the girls basketball season — not by Sara (no surprise to people who know her) but by her sister E.B. (equally not surprising).

I’ve wondered how the older and considerably more voluble of the Dickey sisters coped with her younger sibling getting all the attention, and this spring I finally had an opportunity to ask — and was treated to a beautifully candid answer.

Because basketball means more to Sara, E.B. said, “I just want her to be successful. If she loses or if she has a bad game, I feel bad — but I’m still not getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning to go work out with her.”

With that in mind, the Amey Teams for girls basketball.

Captains of the Clutch Team were the leaders of the Wabash Valley’s most improved team and its last team standing: Nicole Anderson of Terre Haute North and Sara Dickey.

Their teammates are Kelsey Dirks and Tehya Pritts of Robinson; Jade Gambill of Shakamak; Whitney Halfhill of Northview; Ariana Kuhn of Marshall; Hannah Lee of Terre Haute South; Jenifer Lee of Rockville; Bailey Mack and Morgan Samuelson of South Vermillion; Carmela Roeschlein of Clay City; Rhagen Smith of Sullivan; and Taylor Turchi of North Vermillion.

I told Paige Yando of Riverton Parke this year that the reason she got so many rebounds (as a 5-foot-7 — maybe — post player) is that she was meaner than the other girls on the court. She didn’t disagree, which is why she’s a co-captain of the Competitors Team along with Caelan Jones of Sullivan.

Other fierce young women are Taylen Balding, Darby Martin and Casey West of North Vermillion; Erin Barton, Mikaela Silcock and Brooklyn Waters of West Vigo; Emily Bell and Kylie Fendrick of South; Sarah Burnham of Riverton Parke; Galina Carrio and Alaynee Street of North Central; Kenzi Cheesewright and Jessie Lubovich of South Vermillion; Layne Curley, Kathryn Ruark, Morgan Stewart and Sierra Sykes of North; Kendall Davies of Turkey Run; Brielle Drelick and Allie Miller of Clay City; Elana Edwards and Shelby Ghast of Casey; Kelsey Fulford, Lacey Gilbert and Kelsey Pilant of Shakamak; Sierra Girton and Cassie Weddle of Northview; Korissa Jobe of Union; Alexis Thompson of Marshall; and Faith Williams of Robinson.

Members of the Unsung Team look more important on the court than they do on the stat sheet — unless you’re keeping assists and steals or charting defensive performances. The players I learned to appreciate most this season were Kaylee Ellis of South, Erika Kuhn of Marshall and Jazmine Martin of Shakamak.

Their teammates are Madison Bayless, Elizabeth Blake and Caitlyn Hodson of Robinson; Emily Bishop and Breah Keim of Marshall; Dallas Butts, Kaylee Compton and Labrea Joyner of South; Shelby Byrley and McKenzie Little of West Vigo; Jerica Carrington and Rachel Overpeck of Rockville; Sydney Chapman and Cobie Harrison of Sullivan; Lindsay Clark, Elizabeth Harris and Adrienne Pritchard of North; Hailey Cox of Turkey Run; Kaytie Crumrin and Alexis Gilliam of North Central; Callie Dayhuff, Kaleigh Decker and Michaela Riggs of Clay City; Cheyenne Goodman, Cali Hale and Hannah Rennick of Union; Jetta Green and Taelor Tiffin of Casey;  Ashley Hughes and McKenzi Kumpf of Northview; Courteney Johnson and Mercedes Shafford of Linton; Mikayla Kinneer of North Vermillion; Kendall Kirby and Gretchen Riggen of South Vermillion; Megan Phipps of Shakamak; and Kenzie Pollard of Riverton Parke.

I would’ve liked to have seen the captain of the Unselfish Team with healthy knees throughout her career, but Kayla Ennen of South still did everything she could for her team.

Other team-first players are Cecilia Ahlin, Hunter Baker and Elise Miller of Shakamak; Natasha Barrett of Northview; Aly Bennett and Rachel Whitlock of Sullivan; Selena Bowman, Michaela Cole and Savannah Neighbors of Linton; Kelli Buchanan and Abby Shanks of South; Cassidy Carlson of West Vigo; Laura Festa Cilveti of South Vermillion; E.B. Dickey and Taylor Mansinne of Riverton Parke; Natalie Donovan and Chelsea Tucker of Rockville; Lauren Gates and Mariah Hickey of Robinson; Shania Hale and Conner Kendall of Union; Ashley Hall and Kyla Harper of North Central; Michaela Montgomery of Casey; and Abby Reed of Clay City.

I saw a healthy Mikayla Rowan of Northview just once, and she rewarded me with a triple-double. That pretty much clinched her captaincy of the Most Promising Team.

Others with bright futures are Rachel Austin of Riverton Parke; Abby Awbrey and Jaycee Myers of Turkey Run; Jerri Beck and Sierra Hudson of Shakamak; Jennifer Bendickson and Abby Middleton of North; Tonia Bishop and Cheyenne Thompson of Marshall; Tiarra Black of Casey; Shawnace Bowman of North Vermillion; Jasmine Brooks, Emily Calip, Ashton Richey and Sarah Stewart of Robinson; Sydney Buell, Brittany Fagg and Mallory Smith of Northview; Shyanne Elkins, Charity Lane and Baylee Waters of West Vigo; Logan Ellinger and Alex Wolfe of Clay City; Aubrey Evans and Taylor Netherlain of North Central; Katelyne Freed of South Vermillion; Megan Gordon, Alexia Lear and Maddie Shaffer of Rockville; Brilee Parker of Linton; and Kolbi Reynolds of Union.

At the beginning of the season it was hard to pick the best player on a couple of balanced teams, but by the time the year was over Tasia Brewer of South and Kaydie Grooms of Marshall had made pretty convincing cases that they could be considered for those honors.

They lead the Most Improved team which also features Claire Bailey of South; Taylor Birchfield of Casey; Carlie Booe of Linton; Madison Booe of Clay City; Haley Boyll, Kelsey Miller and Sebrina Pritchard of North Central; Megan Bullington, Brittany Gordon and Shelby Snodgrass of Rockville; Sydney Dickerson and Morgan Seeley of North; Lexus Elkins of West Vigo; Sheldan Falls and Kori Wood of Riverton Parke; Joie Gadberry of Linton; Jaleigh Gilham and Sierra Walters of Sullivan; Jordan Goddard and Chelsie Wood of Turkey Run; Hallie Smith of Union; Ashlyn Sullivan of Robinson; and Abby Timberman of Northview.

Tasia Brewer, Caelan Jones and Mikayla Rowan have already been captains, so to lead the Left-handed Team I’ll go with Morgan Stewart of North, another player I’d like to have seen completely healthy. Others on this team are Allie Miller of Clay City, Michaela Montgomery of Casey, Tehya Pritts of Robinson, Abby Shanks of South and Mikaela Silcock and Baylee Waters of West Vigo.

Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at andy.amey@tribstar.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321. Follow @TribStarAndy on Twitter.

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Amey Takes Aim
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    In marked contrast to my recent whiny column about girls basketball, I was blessed this winter to see virtually every high school team in the Wabash Valley during the boys season.
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