West Terre Haute —
West Vigo grad Lauren Dailey helped the Lady Vikings basketball program to a lot of success at the end of the 1990s, and went on to play for Eastern Illinois from 2001-2004.
She still ranks as EIU’s all-time leading three-point shooter and is 14th on the Panther career scoring list.
Since that time, though, the Viking program hasn’t turned out a lot of collegians. Recruiters didn’t exactly flock to the Green Dome during a three-year period that produced only four victories in the mid-2000s, but Coach Ryan Easton is turning those trends around.
Two members of this year’s Viking squad are headed out to play collegiately next winter, and Easton couldn’t be happier at what Brooklyn Waters and Erin Barton have done for his program past, present and future.
Waters, an energetic 5-foot-1 point guard, is headed to Missouri Baptist, an NAIA school in St. Louis. Barton, a rebounding machine of a forward, is bound for Olney Central College in Illinois.
“It’s big for both of them and our program,” Easton said. “It allows the younger girls, who dream of playing college basketball, know that those dreams can come true. What makes it even better is when our high school girls work with the young ones at summer camp, Community Center clinics, etc. and they get to interact with them.
“Girls in grades K-8 look up to our high schoolers.”
Waters has been a starter for the Vikings since her freshman year, and Easton recognizes her importance.
“She has been a fixture of our program since day one,” he said. “That was not given to her. She has worked extremely hard for many years, in and out of season. She leads by words and action.”
He sees her fitting in well at the collegiate level.
“She will be a great point guard for MBU,” Easton said. “She knows how to get the ball to people who are open, and she would rather do that than score.
“She often sees a play, a cut, a lane, two or three passes before they actually happen. She has very high basketball IQ and a great work ethic, which only translates into success at the next level.”
Easton thinks that, like all college-bound players, there are some things Waters needs to work on for the next level.
“She will need to continue to work on her mid-range jumper,” he said. “She’ll have to knock it down when given to her. She has the capability to getting to the free throw line quite often and her FT percentage will need to continue to increase. She will only continue to grow and improve each and every year.”
Waters considered Olney Central, Stephens College, Columbia College, Washington University (Mo.) and Gardner-Webb.
She chose MBU for many things besides its basketball program.
“They have a great academic record as well as the perfect religious atmosphere,” she said. “Attending MBU will not only help me reach my goals of playing basketball at the next level and succeeding academically, but it will also help me become closer to God. Many people lose faith in life and I think being a part of MBU will help me hold on to that faith and become a better person.
“I loved the coaching staff and I can see my teammates becoming my best friends,” Waters added. “I was very comfortable on the campus and in the gym as soon as I stepped foot on the campus. It felt like “home” to me.”
It’s hard to get noticed on a basketball court at just 5-1, but Waters proactively marketed herself to potential schools and is happy to reap the rewards of that work.
“Playing AAU, making personal game films and DVDs of me in action both helped me get the attention I needed,” she said. “I got noticed by MBU through sending out game film. I had an idea of what area I wanted to attend college, and just sent game film to every college with a decent basketball program.
“After that, I had e-mails pouring in like crazy. It was a lot of work, time and praying, of course, but it all paid off.”
Waters had knee surgery in her sophomore year, and has gradually increased her statistics each season. She averaged 5.3 points per game as a freshman, and has increased that to 11.6 this season along with 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
“My style of game has one speed – fast!” she said. “I love pushing the ball and finding the open person. What I really need to work on though is being more of an outside threat.
“I need to get my outside shot down and really work on pulling that defense out so I can have the opportunity to do what I do best -- is drive the lane.”
Barton also had several suitors for her services, but felt Olney was the perfect fit for her.
“Olney is a small area like the one I live in now, maybe a little larger,” she said. “It has a great basketball program that I believe will keep growing as the years go on. Everyone involved in the basketball program and everyone in the community are great people and fun to be around.
“The group of girls that will be returning are already welcoming my family and me.”
Olney Coach Clint Burris had talked with Easton about prospective players, and Barton’s name came up immediately.
“Not too long after Coach Easton and I had a conversation, Coach Burris approached me after a game in the Terre Haute Savings Bank Tournament,” Barton recalled. “He gave me a lot of information about the school and how things worked with being an athlete in college. From that time on, I was interested in visiting there, meeting the girls on the team, and touring the campus.”
Barton dressed for the varsity team as a freshman but did not get to start her career as early as Waters did.
“There were a lot of post players above me that had obviously earned their position on the team, much more than I,” she said. “Since I knew this, I pushed myself to become better and better every year and pushed even harder in the off-season.
“Because of the hard work and dedication I had for basketball and my team at West Vigo, I improved and was able to start some games as a sophomore and increased my playing level.”
While Waters has dreamed of playing college basketball since her younger days, Barton played four different sports as a freshman and spent some time sorting them out to choose the ones best for her.
“As a freshman I played volleyball, basketball, softball, and I threw in track,” Barton said. “As my years decreased in high school, so did the sports I played.”
This year she only played volleyball and basketball.
“Over the past four years in high school, I have grown to love basketball more and more each year,” Barton said. “I could not imagine this being my last year playing.”
Barton also has things she knows she needs to improve about her game.
“I need to be stronger with the ball and taking advantage of the opportunities I have when I have the ball,” she said. “No one is perfect, but practicing can make you as close as you’ll ever get.”
Easton also recognizes Barton’s great contributions to the Viking program over the past four years and will miss her in the future as well.
“First and foremost Erin is a great young lady,” Easton said. “She works very hard in practice and in the classroom and she is very involved in the school and community.
“The young girls look up to her in many ways,” he said. “Going to play college ball is a great thing and a goal for many of the young girls because of what Erin is doing, but her impact on the younger girls is much more long term beneficial.”
Barton averages 8.5 points and 6.0 rebounds this season.
“Having her and Brooklyn going on to play at the college level is a step in the right direction for our program,” Easton said. “It shows a lot of the young girls, that if this is your dream...it comes down to you. These two, along with the other two seniors have helped move our program forward.”
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at email@example.com.
West Terre Haute —
West Vigo grad Lauren Dailey helped the Lady Vikings basketball program to a lot of success at the end of the 1990s, and went on to play for Eastern Illinois from 2001-2004.
- College Report
College report: Former Patriot runner Mundy is ‘proud to be a Hoosier’
After redshirting the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons this year, Chanli Mundy was eager to do one thing recently as she prepared to compete in the USATF Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Eugene, Oregon. “The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is being able to wear an IU uniform,” she said last week prior to making her cross-country trip.
College report: Wabash College relay team earns All-America honors
Some summertime notes from here and there:
College Report: Brazil’s Baysinger navigates college tennis waters
Garrett Baysinger of Brazil played his senior season of tennis at Rockville, one of the smallest high schools in the state to field a team in the sport.
In a sport dominated by foreign players for teams in both genders at most levels, the competition for any college roster spot is extremely difficult. Baysinger did well at Rockville and on the summer circuit and earned a spot on the team at Kaskaskia Junior College in Illinois.
College Report: Former Oblong standout helping VU baseball in Junior College World Series
Ryan Cheek of Oblong, Ill., helped pace the Vincennes University baseball team to a regional championship and was the winning pitcher as the Trail Blazers won their opening game Saturday in the National Junior College World Series at Enid, Okla.
Cheek pitched 5.1 innings to pick up the victory as the Trail Blazers won 9-4 over top-ranked Mesa Community College in a rain-delayed contest that took more than five hours to complete.
College Report: Behind former Valley standout, SIU-Edwardsville back on national softball scene
Southern Illinois-Edwardsville dominated softball at the NCAA Division II level for many years, and knew it would take a little while to get back on the national stage after moving up to Division I three years ago.
South baseball cruises past Robinson
Terre Haute South swept Robinson in high school baseball Saturday at the South diamond.
College Report: Haley Chambers making noise in OVC softball circles
Two Wabash Valley natives are again making big news for the Southern Illlinois-Edwardsville softball team.
Former Riverton Parke and Cascade standout pitcher Haley Chambers was recognized for a string of dominant performances in the circle by being named Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday.
College Report: Valley athletes helping Wabash College
Two Wabash Valley hurdlers helped the Division III Wabash College track and field team go head to head against talent from NCAA Division I schools in the Vanderbilt University Black and Gold Invitational this past weekend.
The Little Giants produced several quality times, including a first-place finish by Northview grad Joel Whittington in the men’s 400-meter hurdles. The junior captured the title with a top time of 54.4 seconds, the fourth quickest recorded for NCAA DIII men this season. Cole Seward, a freshman from Terre Haute North, took third place, crossing the finish line in 55.7.
College report: Former Terre Haute South player Conrady returns to coaching
Former Terre Haute South and Furman University basketball standout David Conrady has re-entered the coaching world after a short hiatus. Conrady was recently named head coach of the boys team at Chattanooga Christian, a prep school in eastern Tennessee.
College report: Valley softball pair help Ball State start off with 12-2 record
Two Wabash Valley products have helped the Ball State softball team get off to a 12-2 start, including five straight wins last weekend to capture the Louisville Slugger Invitational at Arizona State.
College Report: Valley pair square off in softball pitching duel
Administrators and coaches long ago scheduled the East Tennessee State and Indiana University softball teams to both compete in the Georgia State Panther Invitational in Atlanta last weekend. Little could they have realized, however, that a Sunday afternoon pitching matchup between the two teams would pair two successful, blonde, and versatile performers from western Indiana in a head-to-head clash.
College report: Versatile Vicars set to help VU baseball program
Chris Barney knew what qualities he wanted as he was searching this winter for a new assistant baseball coach at Vincennes University. He wanted someone familiar with his program and his coaching style, someone from the Wabash Valley area who understood the state’s high school and American Legion programs, someone who had played several different positions in the field and also someone who had made a successful transition from junior college to Division I baseball. It didn’t take him long to realize that Cole Vicars was his man.
College report: Terre Haute pair Berry, Comer to boost Sycamores’ lines
While many people have varying opinions on the most important position on a football team, most old-school gridiron veterans would consider strong line play as a necessity for anything else to work — kind of like pitching in baseball and guard play in basketball.
College report: Wabash Valley hoops pair earn MVC weekly honors
Two Wabash Valley natives picked up big honors this week from the Missouri Valley Conference for their excellence on the basketball court. Evansville freshman Sara Dickey of Riverton Parke earned the league’s Newcomer of the Week for the third time while Loyola sophomore Matt O’Leary of Terre Haute North was chosen as the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the week.
College Report: Mahurins playing major role for Indiana Wesleyan
R.J. Mahurin, a senior at Indiana Wesleyan, was selected as the Crossroads League’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the period of Nov. 24-30.
The fifth-year senior from Rockville led Indiana Wesleyan, then ranked No. 2 in NAIA Division II, to an 88-82 win over No. 9 Bethel last month in the Crossroads League opener.
Mahurin scored 33 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the field, including 7 of 10 from 3 point range. He also recorded seven rebounds and two assists while knocking down both free throws in the contest.
COLLEGE REPORT: Former WRC football standouts playing key roles for No. 1 Mount Union
It’s a huge jump from the Wabash River Conference, one of the smallest leagues that plays high school football in Indiana, to Division III national powerhouse.
But two Wabash Valley standouts have made that leap and are significant contributors for top-ranked and defending national champion Mount Union (Ohio).
College Report: North grad enjoying sophomore season at Virginia Tech
A.J. Hughes had an admittedly up and down freshman season as the punter for Virginia Tech’s football team, but the sophomore from Terre Haute North High School has elevated his game like one of his long, hanging left-footed punts.
Hughes ranks first in the Atlantic Coast Conference in punting with a 44.8-yard average per punt, a 4.7 increase over last year and a lofty number that ranks him ninth nationally.
College Report: South graduate becomes Wabash College swim coach
Brent Noble’s climb up the collegiate swimming coaches has taken another big step, after the Terre Haute South grad was recently named the new head swimming and diving coach at Wabash College in Crawfordsville.
Noble joins the Wabash program after serving for a year as the women’s head swimming coach at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.
College Report: People with Valley ties getting up-close look at top-ranked Crimson Tide
Trivia question: What do Trent Miles, A.J. Hughes and Johnny Manziel have in common?
Maybe nothing right now, but after Saturday they will all have played against the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide already this season.
Manziel has no known local ties, but was involved in the most-hyped game of the year last month as Texas A&M fell just short in a late comeback against Alabama.
Hughes, a sophomore punter for Virginia Tech from Terre Haute North, did his part in the Hokies’ 35-10 season–opening loss to the Tide.
Turner hoping to prove himself in junior college
Jeffrey Turner hopes a couple of years at junior college will do for his basketball career what it did for Derek Shouse.
COLLEGE REPORT: Watson, Seliger move on in strength and conditioning careers
Three members of the Indiana State athletics strength and conditioning staff, including two from Terre Haute, have advanced their careers and moved on to other opportunities.
Daniel Watson, former graduate assistant from Terre Haute North, has been hired by Rocky Mountain College to serve an assistant football coach and the head strength and conditioning coach.
Matt Seliger, also a former graduate assistant and North Patriot, has been hired by Athletes’ Performance in Frisco, Texas, to serve as an intern.
Longtime Butler assistant stays loyal to new job
Matthew Graves waited patiently for nine years as a member of the Butler men’s basketball staff for his chance to be a head coach.
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Several of the Wabash Valley area standouts now in college baseball are busy with summer league teams.
COLLEGE REPORT: Kentucky baseball star Reed earns All-SEC
Kentucky sophomore baseball standout A.J. Reed of Terre Haute South Vigo High School earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors in voting by the league coaches for the recently completed season.
- COLLEGE REPORT: Wabash College All-American relay team has TH flavor
Catching up as the school year winds down
Odds and ends from here and there as the school year quickly winds down. For starters, high jumper Nick Jaeger of Terre Haute South was named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s male track & field newcomer of the year:
College Report: Lively earned collegiate upgrade with strong play
Hillary Lively signed to play Division II basketball at Maryville (Mo.) during her senior year at North Vermillion, but those plans changed and she would up at nearby Danville Area Community College — where she recently concluded an outstanding two-year career.
Lively was impressive enough to earn a Division I scholarship to Southeast Missouri State of the Ohio Valley Conference, and both her future and past college coaches think she will continue to succeed there.
“She fits what we need,” SEMO coach Ty Margenthaler said. “She has college experience, she is strong and physical and plays well around the basket and moves well.
“Her strength, rebounding and touch around the basket will be a big help. On the defensive end, she’ll be able to guard a true center.”
COLLEGE REPORT: Valley prep athletes getting ready for next level
The NCAA “regular” signing period begins Wednesday for all sports except football, field hockey, soccer, track and field, cross country and men’s water polo.
COLLEGE REPORT: Conferences honor Valley softball players
Several Wabash Valley area college softball players have been honored by their respective conferences for outstanding play this spring.
COLLEGE REPORT: Jake Newton makes big impact for Lincoln Trail College
Jake Newton had a long time between playing in competitive basketball games, a span of about 18 months, and used the frustration from that long dry spell to produce a stellar freshman season for Lincoln Trail College this winter.
- More College Report Headlines
- College report: Former Patriot runner Mundy is ‘proud to be a Hoosier’