TERRE HAUTE —
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.
The vagaries of Tribune-Star sports scheduling this winter — not to mention postponements — resulted in me seeing two West Vigo games, against Northview and Owen Valley, and the Terre Haute North-Terre Haute South game. I also saw all but one of the North Vermillion girls play their junior varsity quarters against South Vermillion.
That was it, which is why the Andy Amey teams are a little smaller than usual. (It will be up to you to determine if they are less accurate as a result.) I am including a few Marshall girls because their coach, Kathy Miller, sends us more complete stats than anybody else, which enables me to know a few things.
Captain of the Clutch Team, therefore, is Kaydie Grooms of Miller’s Lions, the driving force behind an unbeaten regular season. Her teammates are Kylie Cardinal of West Vigo, Lauren Hambrock of South, Abby Howes of North and Mikayla Rowan of Northview.
The Competitors Team is led by two senior scrappers, Layne Curley of North and Kylie Fendrick of South.
Other hard-nosed players were Riley Davis, Lauren Perrelle and Cassidy Wood of South; Shyanne Elkins of West Vigo; and MacKenzie Latta, Adrienne Pritchard and Sierra Sykes of North.
The girl I saw do the most things that didn’t show up in the boxscore was Kenzi Kumpf of Northview, who is captain of an Unsung Team that also includes Tonia Bishop and Breah Keim of Marshall; Maddie Callahan and Kayla Speth of South; Paxton Granda and Lacie Pratt of North; Charity Lane and McKenzie Little of West Vigo; and Mallory Smith and Abbey Timberman of Northview.
The Most Unselfish player I’m aware of was Abbie Switzer of Marshall, who is joined by Shelby Byrley of West Vigo, Miranda Lucas and Olivia Sacopulos of North and Jordan Meng of South.
Futures are bright for all five teams thanks to members of the Most Promising Team led by Stacy Payton of Northview and Kennedy Williams of South, not to mention Marshall’s Demi Burdick, North’s Lauren Curley, South’s Meaghan Etling and West Vigo’s Brooke Houser.
And the biggest list is on the Most Improved Team, much of it coming from the most improved team — West Vigo, with a winning varsity season and a 14-3 junior varsity. Lexus Elkins of the Vikings is my captain, joined by her teammates Lizzie Barton, Mary Curley, Shelby Edington, Macayla Hudson, Leah Morrison and Abby Pointer; Jennifer Bendickson and Libby Ward of North; Sydney Buell and Brittany Fagg of Northview; Ali Danielson and Bailee Williams of South; and Cheyenne Thompson of Marshall.
The only left-hander I can come up with is Rowan, although I’m guessing South Vermillion’s Jamaica Wright would also still qualify even if I didn’t get to watch her this year.
And a team of injured players that’s way too long includes two of the point guards I could have been watching, Whitney Halfhill of Northview and Brittany Voils of West Vigo (not a lucky school year for her family, you probably know), plus the leading scorers on two up-and-coming teams, Kyleigh Decker of Casey and Alisha Steward of Clay City. Emily Cottom’s absence didn’t help an otherwise inexperienced Sullivan team either.
With any luck I’ll get to see the Warriors and Eels next year, although I know Clay City will be without Alex Wolfe, Kylee Truax, Mahayle Durga and my almost-relative Claire Miller. Sullivan will have a lot of new faces again next year, with Kiersey Judson, Kaiti Basinger and Jenni Wilkes among the Arrows about to graduate.
Another senior I’ll miss is North Vermillion’s Taylen Balding, one of my all-time favorites, but the rest of the Falcons should be back and maybe I’ll get to see them compete in varsity play next winter.
Our team that lasted longest was White River Valley, which was a point away from playing a Class A semistate game this weekend. I’m still hoping to see Allison Wininger play for coach A.J. Graves, and also looking forward to another look at Shakamak’s Sierra Hudson. I was thrilled to see Union’s last girls team go out with a winning season thanks to Hallie Smith, Cali Hale, Autumn Secrest and their younger teammates.
Virtually all of the Riverton Parke girls I got to know were gone this year, but I have a hunch Tayler Vauters would have been on the Most Promising Team if I’d gotten to see her, and cousins Emily and Shelby Virostko plus Shelby Benell were players I missed seeing. I’m totally out of the loop with Rockville and Turkey Run by now, although I know some players from both teams because of volleyball.
With no Terre Haute Savings Bank Tip-Off Tournament on my assignment list this year, I couldn’t reacquaint myself with North Central or South Vermillion, even though Gabby Kreischer of the Thunderbirds and Taylor Andrew of the Wildcats are also favorites of mine. The Wildcats, in fact, nearly extended their season thanks to a solid sectional showing.
And I don’t know much about Robinson, but I know that the Maroons improved and that Emily Calip turned into one of the Valley’s top scorers.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. at 812-231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at 812-231-4321. Follow TribStarAndy on Twitter.