TERRE HAUTE —
The stellar college basketball career of Terre Haute North grad Molly Martin came to an end March 4, as Hanover College’s women’s team dropped a 76-62 decision to the University of Chicago in the opening round of the NCAA Division III national tournament at Grand Rapids, Mich.
Martin, Hanover’s career leader in scoring and rebounding, concluded her career with a 24-point, 11-rebound effort to lead the Panthers.
Hanover hit just one of its first 13 field goal attempts, while Chicago jumped out to a 13-5 lead in the opening five minutes of action.
Chicago expanded its lead to 29-12 with 7:54 to go in the half, and Hanover would not get within single digits the rest of the way.
Hanover shot just 19.1 percent from the floor in the first period (7-of-36) and finished the game 18-of-69 (26.1 percent).
Hanover, making its second national tournament appearance (1997), finished with a 25-2 overall record. The Panthers captured the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s regular season title with a 17-1 mark.
Chicago improved to 23-3 with its 19th consecutive win.
Martin, a center, was named the Heartland Conference’s most valuable player and was a first-team selection for the fourth consecutive year. She was the third Hanover player to be named the HCAC’s player of the year and first since Jennifer Skaggs in 2001.
She ranked second in the HCAC in scoring and rebounding with 17.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. She led the league by shooting 54.4 percent from the field.
Martin was named the Heartland Conference’s newcomer of the year in 2008. She was named the most valuable player in the league tournament the past two seasons.
She totaled 1,887 points and 1,091 rebounds in her career.
• Modesitt gets Summit honor — West Vigo graduate Joel Modesitt of IUPUI was recently named the Summit League Men’s Tennis Player of the Week.
The Player of the Week honor is the third of Modesitt’s career.
On the week ending Feb. 13, Modesitt went 1-1 in singles play, with his win securing IUPUI’s lone win in a 6-1 loss at Ball State. After dropping the first set to Ball State’s Zane Smith on Feb. 11, Modesitt bounced back with a convincing 6-2 second-set win to even things at one set a piece. In the third set, Smith and Modesitt went back and forth before Modesitt used a break to secure a 6-4 third-set win.
Two days later against Toledo, Modesitt lost 7-6, 7-5, but despite the loss, he has reeled off four wins in his last six singles matches.
In doubles action, Modesitt and Nick Volz lost both of their matches at No. 2 singles, snapping a four-match winning streak.
• Olney Central was eliminated 83-70 from the Great River Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament on Thursday night, ending the standout career of Northview’s Austin Akers.
Akers averaged 13.5 points and 4.6 assists per game for the injury-depleted Knights, who would have been much more Wabash Valley-flavored had Thomas Anderson and John Michael Jarvis not suffered injuries.
Akers has a list of five schools on rivals.com that have “medium” interest in him for the final two years of his college eligibility – Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois, Evansville, Loyola-Chicago and Texas Christian.
• The top two recruits for Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball programs next year, according to multiple recruiting services, will be homegrown power forwards who chose to play in their own backyards.
Terre Haute North’s Justin Gant (headed to Indiana State) and Christian Kirk, a 6-7 forward from Springfield, Mo., going to Missouri State, each received three-star ratings on a five-star scale from ESPN, rivals.com and scout.com.
Those ratings grade them out higher than any other players signed in the early signing period.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil.