WEST TERRE HAUTE —
As I’ve stated in this space before, I don’t like change.
Somehow I’ve learned to use the Internet, Facebook and a cell phone over the last 15 years, but most changes I try to avoid because I tend to think the old-school way of doing things is better.
OK, who stole my typewriter? I want it back now!
Seriously, we’re all forced to make adjustments when society and life situations evolve.
On that note, West Vigo High School senior Alicyn Woodward makes adjustments about as well as anybody I’ve met recently.
Two years ago, for example, Woodward batted right-handed for the Vikings’ softball team. But in the summer of 2009, she was convinced that she would hit more effectively as a lefty.
So she moved to the other side of the batter’s box and her 2011 offensive statistics indicate it was the correct decision.
“I was a power hitter right-handed,” Woodward explained. “But when I switched travel teams to the one I’m on now [in the summer], they told me that with my speed, I should be left-handed and I’d be quicker out of the box.”
Before West Vigo’s game at North Vermillion on Friday, Woodward owned a .554 batting average with 24 runs scored and 28 stolen bases this season.
Usually occupying the lead-off spot in the Vikings’ lineup, she posted at least three hits in five of their first 16 games, including a 3-for-3 performance in a loss to Terre Haute South last week.
“Before my junior year, I played around with [batting left-handed] but didn’t really think I’d ever switch,” Woodward recalled. “I like it now.”
“She’s fast,” West Vigo coach Cherish Easton said as she started to rattle off Woodward’s attributes on offense. “She can put the ball in play. She’s smart. She knows the game. She has experience with the game. She’d do anything to help the team. If I needed her at catcher, she’d get back there at catcher and she’d do a good job.”
Beating out bunts has become one of Woodward’s trademarks since she transformed into a lefty. That’s probably because she lays the ball down with pinpoint accuracy and — as Easton mentioned — she runs fast for a high school girl.
South coach Steve Woerner thinks she is one of the best high school bunters he’s seen in recent years.
“There are a couple good bunters who play for Ben Davis in the MIC [Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference],” he noted, “but Alicyn and Haley Chambers up there at Riverton Parke are the two best I’ve seen.”
Easton described Woodward as a triple-threat hitter.
“She can bunt, she can slap and she can hit,” Easton said. “A lot of teams aren’t quite sure where to play her [defensively] because if they move in one direction, she’s going to do something else and still get on base.”
Back to the subject of “change,” Woodward showed her commitment to the team by going from a full-time center fielder to serving as West Vigo’s No. 1 pitcher in 2011, even though she hadn’t pitched regularly since doing it for a 14-and-under summer team a few years ago.
“I’m definitely not the best pitcher,” she admitted with a chuckle. “I love pitching. It’s fun. I like to be in control of the game the whole game. I’m not the best, but I work at it.”
Woodward still excels as a center fielder when she’s not pitching. In fact, that’s what she’ll do when she goes to Olney Central College to play next season.
“I never have any doubts with Woody in the outfield,” Easton emphasized. “She’s quick. She’s not afraid to dive after the ball. She has a good arm. I love to see when runners want to test her and she gets them out.”
Woodward chose Olney Central for a variety of reasons.
“I like Nick Short as a coach and I like how he sets up everything,” she mentioned. “I liked the school when I went there [for a visit] and it’s not that far from home.”
“I definitely think she can be a significant college player,” Easton added. “She’s going to turn some heads. She’s going to be a key player for Olney.”
But for now, Woodward is focused on getting West Vigo turned around from a 6-10 start (1-2 in the Western Indiana Conference).
“It does get frustrating,” she said about losing so often. “It’s real frustrating when we have the game on the line and we know we can win or we’re ahead and we make silly, mental errors and physical errors. That puts us behind, then we lose all focus and we’re out of the game.”
Easton said Woodward has remained a positive influence on the team, despite her frustration with losing.
“Alicyn has a really good mental game,” the Vikings’ coach noted. “So she sets a good example for the other players.”
Asked about the team’s goals for the rest of the season, Woodward didn’t hesitate to answer.
“We hope to win conference and win as many games as we can from here on out,” she stressed.
For Woodward and the rest of the Vikings, that would be the most fun change of all.
David Hughes can be reached after 4 p.m. by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at email@example.com; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
WEST TERRE HAUTE —
As I’ve stated in this space before, I don’t like change.
- High School
Class 2A girls: Rick Risinger coaches Heritage to fifth state title
Rick Risinger spoke this past week about defense being the key to securing a win against a talented Fort Wayne Canterbury girls basketball squad in the Class 2A state championship game.
Coach Risinger’s Heritage Christian squad rose to the occasion Saturday in Hulman Center, holding the Cavaliers to 33-percent shooting to claim the school’s fifth state title since joining the IHSAA in 2003.
The Eagles won their first title since 2009 by a score of 64-61.
Class A girls: Oregon-Davis holds off Vincennes Rivet
Oregon-Davis jumped out to a 15-2 lead when senior Alicia McIntosh drilled a 3-pointer in Saturday’s Class A state championship for girls high school basketball.
The Bobcats stretched that lead to as large as 17 before halftime, and still led by double figures with three minutes remaining.
Class 3A girls: Western over Evansville Mater Dei 38-35
Like Fort Wayne Canterbury in the Class 2A championship, two-time defending Class 2A champion Evansville Mater Dei found the going much more tough when moving up one class due to the IHSAA’s “Team Success Factor” legislation.
Mater Dei (26-2), which had an average margin of victory of 27 points throughout the season, struggled against Western’s 2-3 zone all night long in falling to the Panthers 38-35.
Class 4A girls: Bedford North Lawrence wins second straight title
Damon Bailey guided Bedford North Lawrence to a second straight state championship in his first year as head coach.
Bailey, an assistant on the Stars’ unbeaten Class 4A champions in 2013, watched his team hold off a scrappy Penn squad for a 51-41 victory Saturday night.
Central Catholic rallies to defeat Rockville
It was an old story in a new location Saturday for the boys basketball team from Lafayette Central Catholic High School.
Clay City wins third straight sectional
Clay City, the two-time defending champion of the IHSAA Class A Sectional No. 57, took the floor at White River Valley High School with a chip on its shoulder Saturday night.
Linton pulls away late to win at North Knox
Defending smartly and playing the offensive tempo like a finely tuned violin, Linton’s Miners dominated the fourth quarter of a previously air-tight high school basketball game to defeat South Knox 57-45 and repeat as Class 2A Sectional 47 champions.
Damon Bailey among coaches directing daughters at Hulman Center on Saturday
Father-daughter bonding was among the themes Saturday at Hulman Center as Terre Haute played host to the IHSAA girls basketball state finals for a third straight year.
Class 4A title favorite Bedford North Lawrence looked to repeat as champions late Saturday night. Former BNL state champion and Indiana Hoosier great Damon Bailey led his Stars into the game with a pair of daughters on the court. Junior Alexa Bailey, wearing No. 22 of course, is a Butler recruit and sophomore Loren is a reserve for the Stars.
Owen Valley, Edgewood in sectional final again
Things haven’t changed that much in the Class 3A boys basketball sectional. Northview was in the field for the first time and hosted the semifinals Friday night. But for the second year in a row, Edgewood and Owen Valley will play for the Sectional 28 championship tonight.
Temples’ 3-pointers help Paris advance
The prudent thing would have been to pull the basketball out, wait for an opponent to foul and run as much clock as possible in the final minute of the Illinois Class 2A Westville Sectional on Friday night. Audie Temples was thinking dagger.
Ailing Wilkey helps Rockville advance to title game
For part of Friday, doubt existed about whether flu-stricken Rockville standout Keiontre’ Wilkey would be able to play in the first semifinal game of the Class A North Vermillion Sectional for boys basketball. The junior guard gutted it out, however, and tallied 17 points to help lead the Rox over the host high school 61-53. That sent them into tonight’s sectional championship game against No. 7-ranked Lafayette Central Catholic.
Preps: Late free throws help Linton beat North Knox
Linton hit 4 of 5 free throws in the final minute and hung on to defeat streaking North Knox 47-46 in the semifinals of the Class 2A North Knox Sectional for boys high school basketball.
Former Terre Haute resident Rick Risinger looking for fifth state title in Hulman Center
An accomplished group of girls basketball coaches will make their way into Hulman Center on Saturday for the IHSAA state finals.
Damon Bailey, 1990 Mr. Basketball for state champion Bedford North Lawrence and former Indiana University great, is the most familiar name to Hoosier basketball fanatics. In his first year as a girls varsity coach, Bailey leads BNL into action in the 4A state championship game.
With 590 career wins, Fort Wayne Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger is already a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Behind senior Miss Basketball candidate Maura Muensterman, Steve Goans leads Evansville Mater Dei into the Class 3A title game on the heels of consecutive 2A titles.
No answer: Spears scores 30 as Martinsvlle ends TH South’s season
Terre Haute South ran into a championship performance Wednesday night in Game 2 of the Class 4A Avon Sectional for boys high school basketball. Martinsville’s Troy Spears scored 30 points while leading the Artesians to a 65-44 victory that ended South’s season.
North falls to No. 5 Brownsburg in Class 4A Avon Sectional
Terre Haute North did not bow out of the boys high school basketball tournament Tuesday night like a team on a seven-game losing streak.
The Patriots executed their gameplan, battled back from a double-digit deficit and forced Class 4A No. 5-ranked Brownsburg to hit free throws to win the opener of the Class 4A Avon Sectional.
Brownsburg (19-2) hit six straight free throws in the final 1 minute, 15 seconds to hold off the Patriots 51-47.
Two sets of Eels win at WRV Sectional
There’ll be no Cinderella story in Dugger to end this boys high school basketball season, and a spirited upset bid also fell short Tuesday night at the Class A White River Valley Sectional.
Defensive pressure and depth made the difference in both games, as Eminence ended the Union season — perhaps its last, at least as a public school — by a 59-46 score and Clay City pulled away in the second half for a 53-44 win over Shakamak.
Paris knocks off 23-2 Clinton Central in overtime sectional thriller
Paris’ boys basketball team has learned a lot in a late-season run of success, but the one thing that set the Tigers apart on Tuesday in Class 2A Westville Sectional semifinal game was composure.
The Tigers never got rattled, never flinched and got the ultimate reward.
BOYS SECTIONAL ROUNDUP: Linton holds off Sullivan at North Knox
Linton and Eastern posted victories in the opening round of the North Knox Class 2A Sectional on Tuesday.
Linton led most of the way to defeat Sullivan 51-43 in the first game. Eastern Greene bested North Central 62-42 in the nightcap.
Linton is 16-6 and will take on North Knox and Eastern Greene faces South Knox in the semifinals on Friday. North Knox takes an 11-game winning streak into the action.
Tough roads ahead: Terre Haute North faces big challenges in its sectional
With the hope that the obligatory snow is already on the ground, high school boys basketball sectionals begin today in Indiana, and for one Wabash Valley team in Illinois.
South swimmers fall short of lofty goals at state finals
Sometimes the journey is more rewarding than the destination.
That would best describe Terre Haute South’s performances Saturday in the 77th annual IHSAA boys swimming and diving state championships at the IU Natatorium.
Center Grove deals Terre Haute North 7th loss in row
Terre Haute North and Center Grove – two teams that haven’t won much lately – struggled to put the finishing touch against the other on Friday at North.
Prep roundup: Casey falls at Robinson Regional; Paris posts upset win at home
Teutopolis finished strong Friday night to defeat Casey 47-36 and win the Robinson Class 2A Regional for boys basketball teams.
Casey, Paris to play in regional title games
Championships of Illinois regional boys high school basketball tournaments will be decided tonight.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Bringing you the Amey Teams for girls basketball
Our Wabash Valley teams won’t be represented when the Indiana girls state basketball finals return again to Hulman Center on March 8 (even though the Class 4A title will probably be decided this weekend when Lawrence North plays Bedford North Lawrence in a semistate game).
I wish some of our girls teams had been able to play longer for a purely selfish reason: that might have given me an opportunity to see one or two of their games.
South boys fall to Southport, finish regular season 8-14
Terre Haute South got an up-close look Thursday night at what a Conference Indiana championship boys basketball team looks like. And Southport is big and quick.
Southport, led by 6-foot-10 sophomore Joey Brunk and junior guard Malik Bennett overpowered South’s Braves 61-49 at Southport Fieldhouse. Brunk had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Bennett scored 21 points.
VIDEO: Wilhelm leads South swimmers into state finals
Christian Wilhelm plans to compete in the distance freestyle when he gets to the University of Illinois-Chicago’s downtown campus.
Wilhelm emerged as a state qualifier in the 500-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle as a junior for Terre Haute South. But his senior season took a different turn and he’s hoping to make a big splash in a new event.
Casey advances to regional title game
Casey will be in the championship game of the Class 2A Robinson Regional for boys high school basketball teams Friday night. The Warriors gained their spot in the title tilt with a 55-42 victory over Marshall on Wednesday.
Cloverdale joins Pizza Hut Classic field
The Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic has a new team, but the newcomer for the 2014 tournament is led by a familiar name to Terre Haute basketball. Pat Rady’s Cloverdale Clovers, currently 19-1 this season, will join the field as a likely contender.
Preps: Northview rallies past Linton in boys basketball
Ethan Whitson, Christian Ellis and Jim Mace tallied 19, 18 and 10 points respectively as host Northview overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat Linton 62-57 in boys high school basketball Wednesday night.
Terre Haute North plays well but doesn't finish at Bedford North Lawrence
Visiting Terre Haute North did everything but win a nonconference high school basketball game Tuesday at Bedford North Lawrence.
The Patriots shot better, dominated the boards and reversed the game’s momentum with a second-half defensive adjustment, but only once got the lead above a one-possession one. That cost North in the end, when the Stars scored the last six points to win 42-38.
- More High School Headlines
- Class 2A girls: Rick Risinger coaches Heritage to fifth state title