By Joey Bennett
TERRE HAUTE — North Vermillion senior Hillary Lively saw her high school basketball career end this week with a sectional loss to Turkey Run, but unlike most prep players her career is nowhere near its completion.
Lively, a 5-11 wing/post player, has received a scholarship from Maryville University in St. Louis and next fall will join the Division II program which competes in the Great Lakes Valley Conference with schools such as Indianapolis and Southern Indiana.
“I accepted the scholarship Maryville offered me because I thought it would provide me with the best athletic opportunity and academic excellence possible,” said Lively, who plans to major in physical therapy. “It’s also close enough to home that my friends and family can come to my games; however, it's also far enough away for me to experience a new beginning and to start a new life. All in all, I was very happy to take the chance they had given me to play basketball because I knew it would be the total package.”
Lively averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists per game this year in leading the Falcons to a 20-3 record. She shot 55 percent from the field and 67 percent from the free throw line, and was named all-Wabash River Conference and all-sectional the past two years.
Coach Terry Naylor thinks Lively’s versatility will suit her well.
“Hillary has really progressed as a basketball player in my three years with her,” Naylor said. “She has become even more difficult to guard as time has progressed, and she can now go both inside and out. She used to be a true post player and only score in transition, but now she has developed a great jump shot and can take it to the basket.”
Naylor knows she will face obstacles that are common for any athlete moving on to college.
“Hillary realizes it's going to be a big adjustment going to college, but if she can stay focused on both her academics and basketball she should fit it fine at the college level,” Naylor said. “Just as with any student- athlete, she's going to have to be organized, be able to prioritize, and multi-task – especially during basketball season.”
Lively, the only Wabash Valley area girls player to get a basketball scholarship so far this season, has had a goal of playing college basketball since kindergarten.
“Ever since I was little, I strived to achieve my academic and athletic ambitions,” she said. “For my fifth birthday, all I wanted was a Bulls basketball uniform, which I received. I am very pleased with the position I am in now, knowing the better half of these goals have been accomplished throughout my high school career.”
Lively feels she can be one of her own biggest critics, and needs to work on the mental aspect of the sport as she advances her career.
*The thing I need to work on the most, I believe, is my confidence,” she said. “I know I can accomplish great things if I believe in myself more.
“During my time at North Vermillion, I have overcome much adversity,” Lively added. “I believe everywhere you go, there will be challenges and people that will want to bring you down, but having the support team I had behind me in my time here has been amazing.”
She credits her high school coach, as well as her summer AAU experience, with helping her make this tremendous leap.
“Coach Naylor has been instrumental in keeping me focused toward my goal of playing college basketball,” she said. “I was also very pleased to be offered a spot on Indiana's Finest Team out of Indianapolis, with Mike Duke coaching me this past summer. He was a great resource in helping me find different colleges that would fit my needs, finally introducing me to the coach at Maryville.”
Naylor knows what his senior standout needs to do in order to have success at the D-II level.
“Going to the next level, she needs to continue to shoot it well from the outside, but she really needs to concentrate on her ballhandling and focus on smarter decisions with the basketball,” he said. “She'll need to get a little stronger in the upper body and continue to shoot from outside if she wants to excel at the next level.”
Lively is looking forward to the new challenge, but also takes pride in helping rebuild a Falcon program that struggled for a few years since the back-to-back state finalist teams of the mid-2000s.
“Being able to play basketball at North Vermillion has been an amazing experience with many memories that will last a lifetime,” she said.
I I I
• Phillips to Olney — Northview senior softball standout Emily Phillips won’t return to the softball diamond for a while due to a knee injury suffered during basketball season, but can at least rest assured of the satisfaction that her college plans are finalized.
Phillips, a versatile player who can play just about anywhere on the diamond, recently signed a letter-of-intent to play collegiately for Olney Central
“I chose Olney because Coach [Nick] Short contacted me and wanted me to come see the campus,” she said. “When I got there, he showed me around the school and the apartments and I loved it. I think I will play middle infield, most likely shortstop, but I will play wherever I'm told.
“I've played many positions, but shortstop is my best.”
Phillips continues a long line of athletes going from Northview to Olney that includes her boyfriend, Knight baseball standout Caleb Mason.
“As weird as it is, Caleb and I going to Olney is a coincidence,” she said. “When we first started talking he asked where I was going for college, and I told him I got free books and tuition to play at Olney. He said he did, too. We were both a little shocked, but we are very excited to play.”
Northview Coach Bethany Jones sees good things ahead for Phillips on the diamond.
“I am very excited and proud of Emily’s success throughout her high school career,” Jones said. “Because of her industriousness and leadership both on and off the field, she was able to get a scholarship. Olney will be a good fit for Emily both academically and athletically.”
Phillips has been a varsity player her entire career, with Jones noting she has improved her batting average from hitting .222 her freshman year to hitting .351 as a junior. Her fielding percentage also increased from .887 her freshman year to .938 as a junior.
“I can put her anywhere in the field, even in the pitching circle, and she can get the job done,” Jones said. “Middle infield is her strongest position because of her quick feet and the ground that she is able to cover.”
Even though Phillips won’t be on the field for a while, she will still be able to help out the Knights.
“Emily will most definitely be missed this season due to her knee injury from basketball, but she will remain a part of the team,” Jones said. “She will still be used as a leader and a teacher to the younger players. I know Emily’s goal is to be ready by sectionals and with her determination, she just may be. Her coach’s goal for her to return, March 8th…”
Phillips knows it’s going to be hard to watch from the sidelines.
“Not being able to play softball will be extremely hard for me,” she said. “I love softball, but I can still be a leader on the team. I'll be at the practices and help out. Hopefully I’ll make it back by sectionals.”
I I I
• Hill also off to Olney – A similar pipeline also exists from Shakamak to Olney Central, and senior pitcher T.J. Hill is the latest to travel that road.
Hill has already helped lead Shakamak to a state championship, and has one more season in Jasonville to try to repeat that feat.
“I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to continue my baseball career and get an education,” Hill told the Greene County Daily World. “Every since I was 3, I have loved to play baseball.
“I will have a chance to play ball pretty to close to home. They have a great program and hopefully I can have the chance to eventually transfer and play ball for two more years after two at OCC.”
OCC Coach Dennis Conley led the Blue Knights to a 35-20 record last year and likes Hill’s background.
“T.J. comes from a winning program here at Shakamak, so he is used to competing and used to winning. Shakamak does a great job of putting good teams on the field ever year.”
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches and coaches at Northview High School in Brazil.
COLLEGE REPORT AGATE
Jarrod Brett, men’s ass’t coach, Franklin – Has helped coach team to 8-16 record (6-9 in HCAC)
Brent Owen, men’s graduate ass’t coach, Southern Indiana – Has helped coach team to 23-2 record and No. 2 national ranking.
Matt Kennedy, Fr., Olney Central – Does not appear in team statistics.
Mardi Steiner, Fr., Olney Central – Statistics not available.
Chase Haltom, Sr., Wabash – Third on team in scoring at 11.0 per game, averaging 1.7 rebounds per game.
Mike Carpenter, men’s head coach, Danville Area CC – Has coached team to 11-15 record.
Mike Roberts (former Terre Haute resident), men’s ass’t coach, Rice – Has helped coach team to 8-17 record.
Jake Kelly (former Marshall resident), Jr., Indiana State – Played in 12 games before suffering season-ending knee injury, averaging 9.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
Ryan Russell (former Turkey Run student), Jr., DePauw – Has played in 19 games, starting 9, averaging 3.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Lexi Russell (wife of Terre Haute native Mike Russell), Fr., Olivet Nazarene – Has played in 18 games, averaging 2.2 points per game.
Jon Prevo, women’s head coach, Rose-Hulman – Has coached team to 4-20 record.
Logan Eitel, Fr., Indiana State – Sitting out season as a redshirt.
Lucas Eitel, Fr., Indiana State – Sitting out season as a redshirt.
Keisha Switzer, Fr., Danville Area CC – Has played in 13 games, averaging 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Brittani Wolfe, Fr., Greenville – Has played in 20 games, starting seven, averaging 4.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.
Heidi Dahnke, Fr., Illinois-Chicago – Has played in 15 games, starting none, averaging 1.0 points and 0.8 rebounds per game.
Andrew Gilman, Jr., Wabash – Has played in 24 games, averaging 2.2 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.
Donnie Abrams, Fr., Marian – Has played in eight games, starting none, averaging 2.4 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.
Mike Newell, men’s head coach, Arkansas-Monticello – Has coached team to a 12-9 record this season, and picked up his 300th career head coaching victory on Thursday in an overtime win over Henderson State.
Derryn Axtell, Fr., St. Mary-of-the-Woods – Statistics not available.
Josiah Brock, So., Lincoln Christian – Scored 10 points on Thursday in an 80-64 loss to Eureka.
Lexee Hayes, So., SMWC – Statistics not available.
Kirstin Kimball, Fr., Danville Area CC – Has played in 24 games, averaging 1.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Austin Akers, Fr., Olney Central – Leads team in scoring at 11.6 points per game and in assists at 3.5 per game. Shooting 43 percent from field and 35 percent from 3-point range.
Kirsten Henry, Fr., Olney Central – No statistics available.
Harry Marshall, Sr., Indiana State – Leads team in scoring at 13.9 points per game, and averages 4.0 rebounds per game.
Samantha Stahl, Jr., Oakland City – Leads team in scoring at 15.6 per game and passes out 1.7 assists per game.
Jared Maners, Jr., Wabash Valley – Ranks second on team in scoring at 15.3 points.
Antonio Marshall, So., Olivet Nazarene – Ranks fourth on team in scoring at 10.9 points per game.
Callie Matsel, So., Lake Land – Averaging 8.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.
Heather Gonser, Fr., Indianapolis – Averaging 3.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.
Nickole Gonser, Fr., Indianapolis – Averaging 3.0 and 1.8 rebounds per game.
Randy Lientz, Fr., Lake Land – Averaging 0.8 points and 1.0 rebounds per game in 17 games.
Mitch Stahl, Fr., Lake Land – Had two points and three rebounds in only game of season.
Rodney Watson, head men’s coach, Southern Indiana – Has coached team to 23-2 record and No. 2 national ranking.
Emily Maggert, Jr., Ball State – Leads team in scoring at 18.3 points and in rebounding at 10.9. Was named the Mid-American Conference Western Division Player of the Week in December after leading the Cardinals with 17 points and 14 rebounds against undefeated Wisconsin-Green Bay and after getting 21 points and eight rebounds in a win over Illinois State.
Chase Brinkley, Fr., Olney Central – Averaging 6.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
Stephen Jones, Fr., St. Louis Christian College – No statistics available.
Josh Reed, Fr., Lincoln Trail – Averages 0.9 and 2.3 rebounds per game in 11 games.
R.J. Mahurin, Fr., Indiana State – Sitting out season as a redshirt.
Jared Rehmel, Jr., Central Arkansas – Ranks fifth on team in scoring at 9.3 points per game and averages 1.6 assists per game. Has scored 16 and 14 points in his last two games.
Jessica Canary, Sr., Indianapolis – Ranks second on team in scoring at 14.3 and leads in rebounding at 5.5 points per game.
Leeah Butts, Fr., Trine – No statistics listed.
Louie Gudino, men’s ass’t coach, Indiana State – Has helped coach team to 16-11 record.
Jenni McLeish, So., Lake Land – Averaging 0.5 points and 1.0 rebounds per game.
Terre Haute North
John Grimes (Gerstmeyer H.S), men’s head coach, Marian – Has coached team to 12-14 record.
Clint Weddle, women’s head coach, Indiana State – Has helped coach team to 13-11 record.
Nate Blank, Jr., Indianapolis – Ranks third on team in scoring at 11.0 and third in rebounds at 4.7. Had high game of 24 points against Lewis last month.
Samantha Meissel, Jr., Indianapolis – Leads team in scoring at 19.4 points and is second in rebounding at 5.1. Team has lost last two games after winning first 24 of season to earn No. 4 national ranking. Was named school’s “Student Athlete of the Month” for January.
Molly Martin, Jr., Hanover – Leads Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in scoring at 18.0 and in rebounding at 10.5. Had 19 points and eight rebounds on Wednesday in a win over Rose-Hulman.
Zach Harrison, Fr., Wabash – Transferred from Ball State following first semester after playing two minutes in two games with no statistics.
Terre Haute South
Jim Shaw, men’s head coach, Rose-Hulman – Has coached team to 7-17 record.
David Conrady, men’s associate head coach, Tennessee-Chattanooga – Has helped coach team to 13-14 record.
Melanie Boeglin, assistant women’s head coach, Indiana State – Has helped coach team to 13-11 record.
Jay Smith, Sr., Eastern Illinois – Averaging 2.2 points per game.
Brooke Daugherty, Jr., Indiana-South Bend – Sitting out season due to injury.
Armon Bassett, Jr., Ohio – Leads team in scoring at 15.0 points per game, also averaging 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Had high game of 27 points against Delaware in December.
Spencer Harlan, So., Rose-Hulman – Has played in 22 games, averaging 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Megan Craft, So., Vincennes – Averaging 9.0 points, 1.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. Shooting 44.2 percent from 3-point range (31 of 70).
Dragana Grbic, Fr., Butler – Sitting out season as a redshirt.
Randa Rector, Fr., Vincennes – Averaging 2.6 points, 1.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game.
Tessa Johnson, Fr., Lincoln Trail – Ranks second on team in scoring at 15.0 points per game, also getting 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game this year. Shooting hitting 41.9 percent of 3-pointers (24 of 60).
Jake Odum, Fr., Indiana State – Sitting out season as a redshirt.
Krista Smith, Fr., Indiana State – Has played in 14 games, averaging 1.2 points and 0.9 rebounds.
Ian McIntyre, Fr., Lincoln Trail – Has played in 12 games, averaging 1.8 points and 0.7 rebounds per game.
Colin Brown, Fr., Franklin – Has played in eight games off the bench, scoring four points.
Meghan Doss, Fr., Vincennes – Averaging 0.5 points, 0.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.8 steals per game.
White River Valley
Matthew Graves, men’s ass’t coach, Butler – Has helped coach Bulldogs to 24-4 record.