News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

February 10, 2014

Who’s that girl?: Daughter making name for self by following in high-scoring father’s footsteps at Northview

TERRE HAUTE — If you’re a long-time follower of Clay County athletics, you probably don’t need to be familiarized with the last name Rowan.

But for those not acquainted with it, here’s a brief summary of how the name became synonymous with basketball success:

In the mid-1980s, a 6-foot-5, solidly built young man named Kenny Rowan burst onto the Northview High School boys scene to score 2,138 points. Highlighting his career were 19 games with at least 30 points and two games with at least 40.

As a junior in 1988, Rowan led the Knights to the South Vermillion Sectional championship during the IHSAA’s pre-class era. As a senior in 1989, he was named an Indiana All-Star. To this day, he’s still the No. 1 scorer in Northview history and his total is tied for 20th on the state’s all-time list.

Rowan then took his talents to Indiana State, where he appeared destined for greatness with the Sycamores, but a knee injury cut short his college career.

“He was one of those players where you mention his name today and people’s faces just light up,” said Scott Buell, the current Northview girls basketball coach who was a freshman at the high school when Rowan was a senior. “He was very strong and athletic, very powerful for a high school player.”

The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame hasn’t forgotten Rowan because it recently named him — along with Tony McGee of Terre Haute — to its 2014 Silver Anniversary Team. Now 43, Rowan works as director of enforcement for the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Rowan and his wife — the former Amy Reinoehl from Northview — have a daughter who’s doing pretty well at establishing her own mark in Clay County athletics.

Mikayla Rowan, a 6-1 junior, helped Northview capture the Class 3A Edgewood Sectional and Shelbyville Regional championships in volleyball back in October.

This week, she’s leading the Knights into the Class 3A West Vigo Sectional for girls basketball with team-high averages of 15.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest.

Northview (7-10) will face the winner of tonight’s Edgewood-Brown County matchup at about 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Buell’s Knights are no strangers to either possible opponent because all are members of the Western Indiana Conference. In fact, Edgewood won the WIC title this season with a 6-0 league record.

But that doesn’t mean Buell and the 16-year-old Rowan plan to back down.

“I think we’ve got as good as chance as anybody,” Buell assessed. “It’s a very competitive sectional. All five teams have a legitimate chance of winning.”

“We have a really good chance of winning the sectional this year,” Mikayla Rowan added, “if we play our hardest and we reach our full potential.”

For those hadn’t heard before, this is Northview’s first season in Class 3A. The Knights previously competed at the Class 4A level for basketball.

“In the past, the bottom of 4A was actually the worst spot you could be,” Buell insisted. “Terre Haute North had a thousand more students than we did. Now we’re in a class where it’s much closer as far as numbers go.”

For the 2013-14 Knights to accomplish their goal of winning this Class 3A sectional, they’ll need above-average performances from young Rowan.

But she and her coach strongly believe she can deliver.

“This year, I think I’ve definitely improved,” mentioned Mikayla, a Brazil resident who last summer played AAU basketball with the Hoosier Elite team for the first time ever.

“I hit the weight room hard this fall. I focused on getting stronger. And I worked on my ball handling.”

Mikayla Rowan’s self-confidence doesn’t mean that she thinks her game is as good as it’s going to get. She realizes she needs to continue to get better to earn an athletic scholarship from an NCAA Division I university in 2015.

“I think I’m making a lot better decisions with the ball and helping open up teammates,” she said. “But this coming summer, I really need to work on my outside shooting and I can still improve some more on my ball handling.”

“I think the sky’s the limit for her,” Buell pointed out. “She’s got to continue to work in the weight room. She’s got to develop her outside shot some more. Her biggest area of improvement from last year to this year is ball handling.”

One person you can count on helping Mikayla is her father.

“I know a lot about [his past success in basketball] from other people talking about it,” she noted. “My dad and I talk a lot about basketball. He gives me a lot of pointers.

“He always wants me to get better, obviously, but he’s not pushy about it. He’s been really supportive.”

Mikayla Rowan said her and her father have practiced together on the court, noting that he’s provided tips on posting up and moving opponents around inside.

Buell’s uncle, the late Jim Buell, coached Kenny Rowan in the late 1980s so Scott Buell has known the Rowan family for quite some time. Scott started noticing Mikayla’s basketball skills when she was in middle school, although he was a Northview boys assistant coach at the time.

“One of the reasons I wanted to take this job [before the 2010-11 season] was this group of [seven] juniors, including Mikayla,” he told the Tribune-Star.

Mikayla Rowan is certainly making Buell’s time on the job enjoyable.

“Here in the past month, she’s started playing a lot better,” he emphasized. “She’s turned it up a few notches. She’s more aggressive. She’s always worked hard, but she’s turned it up a couple notches in practice. She’s starting to become more vocal on the court, which we need.”

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odum.jpg

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