Sara Dickey and Paige Yando were freshman starters in June 2010 when Riverton Parke captured the IHSAA Class A state championship in softball.
And they were junior starters on the Panthers’ girls basketball team that advanced to the Class A semistate last season.
Now seniors, along with teammates and longtime friends Kenzie Pollard and Kori Wood, they want to go out with a bang in 2013.
Judging by the way the current girls basketball season has gone so far, Parke County residents should prepare to cover their ears.
Ranked No. 6 in the state in Class A this week, Riverton Parke carries an 11-1 record after defeating South Vermillion 56-21 Friday for its school-record 11th straight victory.
Attaching their names to school records seems to be the norm for this group of Panthers. Here’s a partial list from this season:
n Dickey, a 5-foot-11 guard signed to play basketball for the University of Evansville next season, seized the RP career marks for points (1,401), rebounds (539), assists (237) and steals (310).
Riverton Parke graduates Traci Ball (points and steals) and Amy Wheeler (rebounds and assists) were the previous owners of these records, although fifth-year coach Josh Douglass indicated Yando may pass Dickey on the all-time rebounds list before the season ends.
Incidentally, Dickey is averaging 23.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game this season.
n In an 84-33 triumph at Rockville on Nov. 16, the Panthers established a school record for most points in one game. The previous mark was 77, originally set in 1987 and tied in 2003.
n In a 53-18 win at Turkey Run last week — even though Dickey twisted her ankle and missed most of the contest — the 5-9 Yando stepped up and sank seven 3-point goals, most in one game in RP history. On that same night, the 5-8 Pollard set the single-game mark for blocked shots with eight.
“It’s nice to set records,” Yando told the Tribune-Star later in the week. “But we can’t stop there. We have to keep pushing.”
Yes, regardless of how many school records they end up breaking, these Panthers won’t be completely satisfied unless they win the state championship March 2 in Terre Haute’s Hulman Center.
Douglass, a relatively young head coach at 31, thinks his squad’s stingy defense could lead to that result.
“We run a lot of half-court traps with Sara on the front,” he explained. “She’s got very good hand-eye coordination and causes a lot of deflections.”
Dickey and Yando, who tallies 16.7 ppg, also are believers.
“We can go all the way,” emphasized Dickey, who also plays volleyball and runs track for the school located near Mecca. “We just have to play hard every single day and stay healthy … We’ve grown up. We’re figuring things out. We’re just playing really well together right now.”
“We have matured as a group,” added Yando, a volleyball, basketball and softball standout who is undecided on a college choice. “We got a taste of [basketball success] last season and now we’ve got to make it happen … We have to remember to stay focused every game and make every possession count. We need to execute.”
Told that her comments sound like the kind a coach would make, Yando quickly replied: “I learned from the best,” referring to Douglass while he was within earshot.
On a more serious note, Douglass expects Dickey to be recovered from her ankle injury when Riverton Parke returns to action Dec. 27-28 in the Toby Yoho Tournament at Eastern Greene. The Panthers most likely will need her healthy when they face tougher competition down the road.
“Sara involves all of her teammates in the game,” Douglass pointed out. “She’s always trying to set them up to do good things on the court. She’s also a good shooter. That comes from her showing up at the gym at 5 a.m. to do a shooting regimen on her own. So she’s put in the time.”
Douglass also praised Yando, a former inside specialist who has been moved to the perimeter this season.
“She’s really worked hard on her outside shooting,” the Panthers’ coach said. “She has more confidence now.”
Douglass described the 5-5 Wood as someone who’s able to bring “a defensive intangible.”
“She can just shut down a player,” he noted.
The Panthers’ only loss came in the season opener — a 48-45 decision to Sullivan way back on Nov. 6. That won’t happen again because the Golden Arrows are not on Riverton Parke’s schedule for a rematch and they compete in the Class 2A state tournament.
Although a few other bigger schools appear on the Panthers’ regular-season slate, one more crack at the Class A state tournament is what they’re looking forward to the most.
“If we stay healthy,” Douglass assessed, “I really, truly believe we can go all the way.”
And if that actually happens, how would a 31-year-old coach react?
“Words wouldn’t be able to describe it,” he admitted.
Sara Dickey and Paige Yando were freshman starters in June 2010 when Riverton Parke captured the IHSAA Class A state championship in softball.
- High School
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Terre Haute North’s girls tennis team swept its opening match of the high school season as it defeated Plainfield 5-0 on Wednesday.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Loss of Coach Bennett leaves hole in Marshall
My email box is a little less busy now, and there’ll be a familiar face missing on basketball trips to Marshall in the future.
Roncalli fights past North Central in extra innings on way to Braves Bash title
Roncalli became a three-time Gold Bracket champion of the sixth annual Braves Bash high school softball tournament at Terre Haute’s Miss Softball America complex Saturday night by defeating Evansville Mater Dei 7-1 in the title game.
The 12-team round-robin tournament, which started Friday evening with three pools, and concluded with bracket championships Saturday night.
Sullivan enjoys record golf day at Northview Invitational
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TH North loses to McCutcheon, beats Harrison (West Lafayette)
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The Mavericks defeated the Patriots 17-7 early Saturday, but North beat the Raiders 9-4 later in the day.
West Vigo baseball drops first two in Center Grove Classic
West Vigo hammered the baseball all over the field and had a double-digit lead through three innings early in the week at Seeger before rain washed it out short of a complete game.
TH South sweeps MIC baseball doubleheader
Justin Jenkins and Timmy Herrin led visiting Terre Haute South to a sweep of a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school baseball doubleheader Saturday at Indianapolis North Central.
Opening their final MIC season, the Braves won the opener 9-6 and the nightcap 8-6.
Braves Softball Bash a 'premier' early-season tournament
The Braves Softball Bash has grown to 12 schools in 2014, with high school teams looking to gauge their early-season progress against quality competition.
The host Braves have put together a solid 3-1 start that includes a doubleheader sweep of Casey, Ill., a newcomer to the field along with West Vigo.
Golf season gets going Saturday with Northview Invitational
Most high school boys golf teams in the area will get the season started Saturday in the Northview Invitational at Forest Park.
New players will be in the lineups for many of the teams. Sullivan and Greencastle are the leaders in returning players.
PREP ROUNDUP: Allen homers in North softball win
Jazmine Allen had her first home run of the season and she and Conner Nelson combined for five hits and four RBIs as Terre Haute North defeated Sullivan 8-1 on Thursday in nonconference high school softball.
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Justin Jenkins had three hits and Jacob Johnson and Zach Donnelly drove in four runs apiece as Terre Haute South rolled to a 15-2 high school baseball victory Wednesday at Vincennes Lincoln.
Terre Haute North tops Sullivan, falls to Class A No. 1 Shakamak
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Prep roundup: West Vigo softball wins in 4 1/2 innings
Charity Lane, Shelby Edington, Baylee Waters and Leah Morrison each had two hits and Lane knocked in three runs to lead West Vigo past visiting Turkey Run 13-2 in a run-rule high school softball game that went 4 1/2 innings Tuesday.
Terre Haute South cruises to Braves Bash title
Terre Haute South knew it had a deep pitching staff going into the 11th annual Braves Bash baseball tournament and that proved to be true. But the Braves’ offense surprised everyone but the players Saturday as South won two 10-run-rule games en route to the championship.
South defeated Mount Vernon 10-0 Saturday morning and capped the championship with a 14-4, come-from-behind victory over Munster in the finale.
PREP ROUNDUP: Collett homers as North splits doubleheader
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The Patriots lost the nightcap 6-0 after three first-inning errors led to three unearned runs.
Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium
The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
PREP TRACK PREVIEW: Raetz, Holman among new coaches
Two new coaches are in charge among the eight Vigo County and Northview high school track teams in 2014, although one of them isn’t really that new.
Mark Raetz has taken over the Northview boys for Chad Smith, who is battling an illness. Raetz formerly headed the Terre Haute South boys program for two seasons.
Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings
Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.
Season preview: Vigo County, Northview baseball teams ready to roll
To no one’s surprise, Wabash Valley baseball fans don’t have to leave Vigo County — although they certainly could, as described later in this article — to find talented baseball players on the high school diamond this spring.
Terre Haute North has a quartet of .300 hitters returning — Zach Milam, Jonathan Eilbracht, Nathan Will and Lane Dransfield — in addition to super sophomore T.J. Collett, who led the Patriots with a team-best 50 runs batted in for the 24-7 Patriots last season. Collett hit .424 with six doubles, two triples and nine home runs as a freshman.
PREP ROUNDUP: Marlow's 10 RBI leads Braves' softball at Casey
Terre Haute South’s Kelsey Marlow had 10 runs-batted-in during a doubleheader sweep at Casey.
Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC
Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.
Girls state finals leaving Terre Haute
The IHSAA and city of Terre Haute are still on excellent terms, insists Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Dave Patterson. But that didn’t keep the girls basketball state finals from returning to Indianapolis in 2015 after a three-year stint with Terre Haute’s Hulman Center serving as the host venue.
TH South comes out swinging in softball opener
The combination of experience and talent has created great expectations, from both the fans and players, for the Terre Haute South High School softball team. The Braves displayed both Friday afternoon in an impressive 11-4 season-opening victory over host Southmont.
SOFTBALL PREVIEW: Big Four teams looking to build off strong 2013 seasons
Although any of the four would have liked more postseason success, the spring of 2013 was a good one for the Big Four high school softball teams. That’s good news.
Even better news for the three Vigo County teams is that very few seniors who contributed to that success are missing, and hopes are even higher this year.
Til it's over: Long wait finally over for first-year West Vigo baseball coach
My sincerest apology if I jinx it, but winter should be done now. This means, first and foremost, baseball season has arrived. It’s been a long winter for Culley DeGroote, in particular. He takes over the West Vigo program that his father Steve DeGroote built into a perennial winner.
Metro sports: Silver Crown field filling up for Action Track
More than a dozen drivers are scheduled to seek their initial U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown championship victory April 6 when the Sumar Classic is run at the Terre Haute Action Track.
Amey Takes Aim: Columnist’s boys basketball tradition continues
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.
Some might suggest that was a mixed blessing, since a few of our teams weren’t as successful as they are used to being (particularly in the 2014 portion of the season), but the Tribune-Star was still involved with two teams that came within a game of the state finals, one of them in an Indiana final four (no capitalization anymore, new system) and two teams that were in the top eight of their class. That’s only three great teams — Paris was both a game away and in the final eight — but that’s still a pretty good haul.
Metro sports: Rose's Stull, Schultheis earn HCAC honors
Rose-Hulman took two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors this week, with Andrew Stull and Austin Schultheis recognized for their work over the weekend.
Clay City's special season ends in semistate loss to No. 1 Barr-Reeve
A slow start led to a quick end of the Clay City boys high school basketball season on Saturday afternoon.
Top-ranked Barr-Reeve scored the first eight points of the game, led 22-4 after one quarter and hit 34 of 40 free throws to win the Class A semistate title 75-55 over Clay City at Seymour.
Lombard leads ISU baseball to win at Evansville
Brad Lombard pitched a complete game Saturday at Braun Field as Indiana State knotted up its first Missouri Valley Conference baseball series of the season by beating Evansville 4-1.
- More High School Headlines
- PREP ROUNDUP: North girls tennis wins 5-0 at Plainfield