TERRE HAUTE —
Yes, you’re right. The high school girls basketball season has been over for awhile, which can only mean the Andy Amey teams are getting out a little late this spring.
(Actually, you did have that sneak preview earlier. Hope that whetted your appetites.)
The Clutch Team is led by a trio who enabled their respective teams to reach expectations in one case and perhaps exceed them in two others. Thanks to some great work by Chelsea Francis, Turkey Run finally achieved that elusive regional championship; Carmela Roeschlein helped take Clay City’s girls somewhere they’d never been before; and Haley Seibert made a young Terre Haute South team better than most people thought they’d be.
Other solid performers in crunch time included Cassidy Carlson of West Vigo; Sam Cooper and Kaitlin Sweatman of Owen Valley; Marki Collins and Casey Fougerousse of Shakamak; Stephanie Fougerousse of Linton; Amber Kemp of North Central; Hillary Lively of North Vermillion; and Emily Phillips and Lauren Webster of Northview.
I don’t like to use statistics as a criteria for these teams, but for one of the captains of the Competitors Team it’s impossible to ignore them. Allie Milam of South Vermillion became her team’s all-time rebounder, averaging something like 11 per game as a senior — and Allie is not particularly tall, nor does she have a great vertical jump. She got those rebounds, in other words, because she wanted them more than other people did, which is a pretty good reason for being on this team. My other captain? All Brooklyn Waters of West Vigo did one night as I watched her was literally knock herself out in pursuit of a loose ball.
Other hustlers of note were Erin Barton, Karen Beal, Jorden Brown and Abby Vangilder of West Vigo; Carlee Bell and Kelsey Searing of Northview; Jocelyn Boyll and Kate Brown of North Central; Brielle Drelick, Kelly McCullough and Sloan Miller of Clay City; Mack Evans of Owen Valley; Adrianne Francis of Turkey Run; Delaney Gadberry and Caelan Jones of Sullivan; Lindsey Greene of Rockville; Lindy Jones and Danielle Ketner of Terre Haute North; Mandy Kelly and Jessie Lubovich of South Vermillion; Darby Martin and Kylee West of North Vermillion; Mikayla Metheny of South; Shayna Nicol of Union; Kristi Pearson of Shakamak; and Elyse Weddle of Bloomfield.
Captains of the Unsung Team never got the credit they deserved: for being a solid, all-around basketball player, in the case of Francesca McCarthy of North, or for how valuable their defensive work was, in the case of Shelby Davies of Turkey Run.
Others who could have gotten more recognition were Claire Bailey, Nasya Dietz and Kayla Ennen of South; Lane Bond, Kelsey Burr and Joscelyn Mann of Sullivan; Kenzi Cheesewright of South Vermillion; Bethany Chew and Mikayla Kinneer of North Vermillion; Logan Cox and Chelsea Newnum of Turkey Run; Mikayla Crane, Jade Gambill and Jazmine Martin of Shakamak; Sheldan Falls, Mackenzie Pollard and Kori Wood of Riverton Parke; Olivia Finley and Morgan Seeley of North; Cheyenne Goodman of Union; Jessica LaTourette, Kylee McKee and Chelsey Sampson of Northview; Megan Lemmons of White River Valley; Abby Miller of Clay City; Hannah Randolph, Chelcee Rehmel and Brandi West of North Central; Kelsey Sandusky, Chelsea Tucker and Hillary Woodard of Rockville; and Mikaela Silcock and Marianne Umphries of West Vigo.
You already know that Liz Vollrath of South is the captain of the Unselfish Team. Her teammates include Hannah Byers, Elizabeth Dickey and Ashley Kinne of Riverton Parke; Jerica Carrington, Natalie Donovan and Megan Riffe of Rockville; Meghan Francis and Tiffany Marshall of Turkey Run; Chelsee Goodman of Union; Cassandra Holdaway of Shakamak; Ashley Marsh and Hannah Whittington of Owen Valley; Savannah Mason of Linton; Amanda Mowery and Ashley Speer of White River Valley; Taylor Poynter of North Vermillion; Lauren Samuelson of South Vermillion; and Anna Soliday of West Vigo.
A lot of outstanding newcomers made their presence felt during the recent season, with three of the best leading the Promising Team in fine fashion. They are Nicole Anderson of North, Sara Dickey of Riverton Parke and Rhagen Smith of Sullivan.
Others with bright futures include Emily Bell and Tasia Brewer of South; Madison Booe of Clay City; Sara Burnham and Randi Cookus of Riverton Parke; Taylor Carter of Northview; Hailey Cox, Kendall Davies and Kyllee Karr of Turkey Run; Rachel Croft and Deidra Drake of North Central; Maddie Dyer and McKaylea Mowery of White River Valley; Jennifer Lee and Raeann Sutherlin of Rockville; Ciara McClain, Allyson Walters and Leslee Walters of West Vigo; Morgan Samuelson of South Vermillion; Morgan Stanifer of Union; and Taylor Turchi of North Vermillion.
The Most Improved girls basketball player I noticed this year was Beth Mahurin of Rockville, who turned herself into a force to be reckoned with. Others who stepped forward were Jenny Barnhill and Mary Kate Etling of North; Lara Benningfield of Sullivan; Jalen Brower, Kendall Kirby and Gretchen Riggen of South Vermillion; Alyssa Conrad of Northview; Maria Drake and Ariel Hester of North Central; Kaylee Ellis and Hannah Lee of South; Alissa Heaslet and Savannah Owens of Owen Valley; Jordan Hunt of Turkey Run; Conner Kendall and Taylor Woods of Union; Lydia Miller and Alicia Tally of White River Valley; Abby Reed of Clay City; Olivia Robison of Linton; Casey West of North Vermillion; Alicyn Woodward of West Vigo; and Paige Yando of Riverton Parke.
There’s a way-too-long list of players whose seasons were halted, interrupted or shortened by injuries too. Nobody wants to be captain of this team, but Jorden Brown, Michaela Kaperak, Marianne Umphries and Brooklyn Waters of West Vigo; Dallas Butts and Kayla Ennen of South; Marki Collins of Shakamak; Ariel Hester and Hannah Randolph of North Central; and Emily Phillips of Northview are among those who deserved better luck.
Left-handers? We have a few good ones, the captains being Caelan Jones of Sullivan, a newcomer, and Shayna Nicol of Union, a veteran. Their teammates are Jenny Barnhill and Lindy Jones of North; Tasia Brewer, Cami Lee and Abby Shanks of South; Alyssa Conrad of Northview; Maria Drake of North Central; Sheldan Falls of Riverton Parke; and Caity Kinnick of Owen Valley.
• • •
Couple of other things:
• In memoriam — I’m a firm believer that a person’s character shines through by how well they perform tasks they don’t really have to do.
So despite all her many other accomplishments, I’ll remember my friend Julie McLaughlin for keeping the best basketball scorebook any of us who notice those things had ever seen.
That list of girls basketball players you’ve just read doesn’t begin to approach the length of the list of folks who became better people by knowing Julie.
• Referees at the top — Two guys from the Wabash Valley Officials Association, Jay Slater and Michael Stoffers, made up two-thirds of the crew for the Ben Davis-Merrillville game that decided the Class 4A championship a couple of weeks ago. And Mark Hopper of the WVOA will be working one of the boys championship games on Saturday.
• No surprise — Shakamak graduate Anthony Witt earned Academic All-America honors in cross country recently in addition to placing 53rd at the Division II championship meet for his Grand Valley State team.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808.