As the boys’ season is in full-swing and the girls’ season begins to wind down, several players throughout this basketball-rich state are finishing strong and posting outstanding performances on a regular basis. The Week-12 awards are highlighted by a pair of repeat winners, as well as a high school teammate of someone who already won earlier this season.
Merrillville Junior Keon Thompson, Lafayette Jefferson Junior Brooks Barnhizer, North Harrison Junior Langdon Hatton, Hammond Noll Junior Courtney Blakely, West Lafayette Harrison Senior Sydney Jacobsen, and Triton Central Senior Rylie Stephens were selected as recipients for the week of Jan. 20-Jan. 25 in the recognition program coordinated by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
Thompson and Blakely are the boys’ and girls’ winners, respectively, in District-1. Barnhizer takes the boys’ honor in District-2, while Jacobsen takes the girls’ honor in District-2. Hatton is the District-3 boys’ recipient, and Stephens is the District-3 girls’ recipient.
Merrillville Junior Keon Thompson makes his second appearance this season, following one of this season’s most outstanding performances.In his only game of the week,the 6-1 guard helped the Pirates to a high-scoring, 104-73 win against Portage on Friday evening. During the contest, Thompson erupted for 52 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, and three steals. He was 22-36 from the field, he buried four 3-pointers, and he was a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line.
Hammond Noll’s Courtney Blakely put together a nice trio of games last week. Monday, in a tough 73-64 loss to Wayne Memorial out of Michigan, Blakely, a Junior, scored 31 points, grabbed seven rebounds, handed out four assists, and collected three steals.
The 5-8 point guard was back at it the next night, Tuesday, scoring 20 points in a narrow 49-45 loss to Chesterton. Blakely added seven rebounds, five assists, and a steal in the effort. Third time was the charm, apparently, as Friday night the Warriors won at conference rival Whiting, 58-55. In her third contest of the week, Blakely went for 27 points, four rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
Brooks Barnhizer made his presence felt in a pair of nice victories for Lafayette Jefferson last weekend. On Friday, the Bronchos traveled to Marion, where they defeated their North Central Conference opponent 86-73. Barnhizer was a solid 10-19 from the field, 3-5 from 3-point range, and 8-10 from the line to total 31 points on the night. His 11 rebounds helped him post a double-double.
The 6-6 Junior wing returned the next day to help Jefferson take down cross-town rival Lafayette Central Catholic, 63-53. He was even more efficient from the field, making seven of ten shots. He was also a perfect 5-5 from the charity stripe, giving him 20 points in the contest. He nearly reached a double-double once again, posting nine rebounds, to go along with six assists and a steal.
Sydney Jacobsen, from nearby West Lafayette Harrison, wins District-2 girls’ honors for the second time this season. She helped the Raiders to a perfect 4-0 record over a five-day span. Tuesday evening, they knocked off Gary Lighthouse CPA in a high-scoring affair, 101-72. Jacobsen was 9-14 from the field, a hot 7-10 from 3-point range, and 7-9 from the free throw line for 32 points. She added six rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Two days later, they traveled to Seeger for a decisive win, and the 5-9 guard scored 23 points, grabbed six rebounds, and handed out six assists.
Saturday was record-setting, though, for the Ashland University signee. In the first of two games, Jacobsen torched the nets for a single-game record 45 points. She was a scalding 16-22 from the field, 10-15 from 3-point range, and 3-4 from the free throw line. The ten made 3-pointers is also a single-game record for the Raiders, as they knocked off Muncie Central with ease. She added eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals in the contest. Later Saturday, Jacobsen went for 23 more points, while contributing eight rebounds, seven assists, and eight steals, in another easy win against Arsenal Technical.
North Harrison’s Langdon Hatton was a force at both ends of the floor last weekend. Friday evening, in a 70-59 win at Lanesville, Hatton posted his first double-double of the week, with 20 points and 16 rebounds. He went on to add four assists and six blocked shots.
The 6-9 front-liner was equally good, if not better, when the Cougars took care of conference rival Salem Saturday on the road, 83-69. Hatton, a Junior, posted another double-double with 28 points and ten rebounds, plus he added three assists and seven blocked shots.
To win, you need players, and the 20-0 Triton Central girls’ team has just that, as a second member of their undefeated squad makes an appearance as a District-3 girls’ winner. Rylie Stephens helped the Tigers to a pair of big wins last week, to help keep their record without a blemish. On Wednesday evening, Triton Central traveled to Covenant Christian (Indianapolis), where they won a tough one 64-51. Stephens helped a balanced attack, scoring 18 points, grabbing six rebounds, collecting a pair of steals, and blocking three shots on the night.
Friday, the 5-11 Senior wing was even better against a very good Cathedral team, posting 24 points on 8-12 shooting, including making her only 3-point attempt, and knocking down 7-10 free throws. She posted a double-double with 11 rebounds on the evening, and she nearly reached a triple-double with her eight steals. The Indiana University-East commit also handed out four assists, as the Tigers knocked off the Irish in convincing fashion, 89-63.
This is the 12th season for the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Week program, and the eighth season it is presented by Subway Restaurants of Indiana, a banner sponsor of the IBCA. Subway, in its eighth season as an IBCA sponsor, encourages athletes to “train hard and eat fresh”.
Player of the Week winners are chosen each week from each of the IHSAA’s three districts. Girls winners will be chosen through the Monday following the IHSAA Girls State Finals. Boys winners will be chosen through the Monday following the IHSAA Boys State Finals.
Other Top Nominees for Week-12 (2019-20)
District-1 Boys:Nick Anderson, Lake Central; Koron Davis, Gary Bowman; Caleb Furst, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian; Trey Galloway, Culver Academy; Hayden Jones, East Noble; Christopher Mantis, Lowell; Owen Miller, Fairfield; Joe Reidy, Woodlan; Blake Wesley, South Bend Riley; Charlie Yoder, Westview.
District-1 Girls:Nevaeh Foster, Mishawaka Marian; LilliannFrasure, North Judson-San Pierre; Carly Holley, Adams Central; Bailey Keim, North Miami; Lilly Maple, Maconaquah; Ally McConnell, Marquette Catholic; Mercedes Rhodes, Oregon-Davis; Keegan Sullivan, South Bend Saint Joseph; Trinity Thompson, Michigan City; Sydney Van Meter, Rensselaer Central.
District-2 Boys:Mason Brooks, North Putnam; Grant Brown, Madison-Grant; Luke Brown, Blackford; Champ Ellis, Union (Modoc); Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn, McCutcheon; Maximus Gizzi, New Palestine; Sincere McMahon, Crispus Attucks; Jayden Taylor, Perry Meridian; Jordan Walters, West Lafayette Harrison; Brody Whitaker, Greencastle.
District-2 Girls:Jaleigh Crawford, Elwood; KenadieFernung, Tri-Central; Tyra Ford, Anderson; Erikka Hill, Shenandoah; RaShaya Kyle, Marion; Madison Layden, Northwestern; Ally Madden, Blue River Valley; Alaina Omonodé, West Lafayette; Ashlynn Shade, Noblesville; Taylor Westgate, Oak Hill.
District-3 Boys:Stephen Atkinson, Owen Valley; Drew Byerly, Franklin Community; Luke Collinsworth, East Central; Logan Hinton, Hagerstown; Hagen Knepp, Barr-Reeve; Foster Mefford, Southwestern (Hanover); Simon Scherry, Heritage Hills; KoldenVanlandingham, Northeastern; Andrew Welage, Greensburg; Gavin Yoon, Lawrenceburg.
District-3 Girls:Lana Bell, South Decatur; Averi Davidson, North Central (Farmersburg); Gabrielle Dean, Columbus East; Lily Ernstes, Jennings County; Zayda Hatfield, Terre Haute South Vigo; Brooke Nottingham, Jasper; Kaybree Oxley, Tecumseh; Destiney Ramey, Edinburgh; Isabella Reed, Greenwood Christian; Macie Zink, Forest Park.