Boys’ Sectional Play Begins in Week-18; Jenkins & Smith Repeat as IBCA/Franciscan Health Players of the Week
With crowds in full force last week, the boys’ IHSAA state tournament got underway with Sectional play at 64 different sites. While we are now down to a “Sweet-16” in each class, and Regionals are set to begin this coming Saturday, three players have earned Week-18 IBCA/Franciscan Health Player of the Week honors for their strong play during the early rounds of tourney play.
Fort Wayne Snider Senior Karson Jenkins, Westfield Senior Braden Smith, and Bloomington North Junior JaQualon Roberts have been selected as winners for Feb. 28-Mar. 5 in the recognition program coordinated by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. Jenkins is the recipient in District-1, Smith takes home honors in District-2, while Roberts is the winner in District-3. This is the second time this season that Jenkins and Smith have received this award for their accomplishments.
Fort Wayne Snider Senior Karson Jenkins helped the Panthers to three wins last week, including their second Sectional title in three seasons. Tuesday, in their matchup with Fort Wayne North Side, the Panthers escaped with a narrow 60-59 outcome. Jenkins was dialed in, scoring 26 of his team’s points, including knocking down a pair of shots from deep and 4-5 from the free throw line. He added nine rebounds, three assists, and a steal in the first-round victory.
Friday, the Panthers took on host DeKalb. Jenkins, a 6-1 guard, managed to again affect more than half of his team’s offense, scoring 25 points and dishing out three assists, as Snider defeated DeKalb, 60-52. Jenkins knocked down three more shots from long range, and he again had a well-rounded game, adding nine rebounds, three steals, and a pair of blocked shots in the effort.
The next night, in the championship game, Snider and Jenkins held off a tough Northrop squad, winning a nail-biter, 72-69. Jenkins was electric, scoring 39 points on 13-23 shooting, he made 6-10 3-point attempts, and he was a near perfect 7-8 from the charity stripe. The Division-II Barry University commit added six rebounds, five of them offensive, and he handed out three assists in the triumph.
The #11 Westfield Shamrocks were a bit of a surprise winner, playing the role of underdog in two of their three Sectional contests in a loaded Sectional #8. Senior Braden Smith has been a key cog the last four seasons, and last week he extended his career, as he helped the ‘Rocks to three wins. Tuesday, Westfield took on #2 Fishers. Not only did the Shamrocks win, but they won by a convincing 62-44 margin. Smith was instrumental, knocking down a scorching 11-16 shots, including 5-9 from deep, and scoring 28 in the opener. He posted a double-double with his 10 assists, plus he added six rebounds and four steals to his stat line.
In their Semi-Final game on Friday, Westfield was a solid favorite, and they took care of Hamilton Southeastern with relative ease, 77-50. Smith, a 6-0 point guard, was again locked in, making 8-11 shots from the floor and 5-8 from outside, scoring 22 points in victory. He handed out seven assists, collected three rebounds and a pair of steals, plus he even blocked a shot.
Saturday, in the championship game, the ‘Rocks took on backyard rival and #4 Carmel. In what proved to be their toughest matchup of the week, Westfield prevailed in a tight one, 59-54. Smith continued his strong shooting, making 9-13 shots, including a 3-4 effort from behind the arc, and scoring 22 points for the second night in a row. The Purdue University commit again contributed in multiple ways, dishing out seven assists, pulling down seven rebounds, and picking off a steal.
Junior JaQualon Roberts is a talented underclassman, and last week he helped #17 Bloomington North to their first Sectional title since 2014 by dominating the glass each game. Tuesday, the Cougars took on Columbus East, and in what proved to be their easiest matchup of the week, they won a tough one, 48-37. Roberts posted his first double-double of the week, scoring 23 points and grabbing an impressive 21 caroms (7 offensive). He also handed out an assist and blocked a shot for good measure.
Friday proved much tougher for Bloomington North, as it took them two extra periods to knock off the Columbus North Bulldogs, 60-55, in double overtime. The 6-7 Roberts was a modest 4-6 from the field, but he made 6-8 free throws, scoring 14 points in the contest. The Junior forward came through with another double-double, pulling down 15 more rebounds, plus he contributed three assists, two seals, and blocked another shot in the 40-minute game.
Saturday’s championship game saw the Cougars take on cross-town rival Bloomington South, and in a game played at a much slower pace, Bloomington North survived the Panthers, 32-28, in a matchup that even saw one overtime period added. Despite the low-scoring outcome, Roberts somehow managed his third double-double in as many tries on the week. He scored 10 points, even knocked down a 3-pointer, plus he collected another 11 rebounds, giving him 47 in the three tourney games. He also made some key defensive plays, stealing the ball three times and blocking a pair of shots.
This is the 14th season for the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Week program, but just the second season it is being presented by Franciscan Health, a corporate sponsor of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
Player of the Week winners are chosen each week from each of the IHSAA’s three districts. Girls’ winners were 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-18 (2021-22)
District-1 Boys: Markus Burton, Penn; Chris Hood, East Noble; Fletcher Loyer, Homestead, Kaden Manna, Marquette Catholic; Jacob Miller, Covenant Christian (DeMotte); Willie Miller, Lake Station Edison; Dominique Murphy, East Chicago Central; Hunter Pogue, North White; Joe Reidy, Woodlan; Brandon Trilli, Munster.
District-2 Boys: Anthony Ball, Beech Grove; Clark Barrett, Lafayette Central Catholic; Flory Bidunga, Kokomo; Landon Biegel, Oak Hill; Javan Buchanan, Lafayette Jefferson; Tayshawn Comer, Cathedral; Armon Jarrard, Mount Vernon (Fortville); Landon O’Neal, Eastern Hancock; Nate Powell, Tipton; Brady Ruggles, Danville.
District-3 Boys: Matthew Arthur, New Washington; Jack Benter, Brownstown Central; Jackson Bobo, Lawrenceburg; Ryan Caddell, Evansville North; Caleb Dewey, Edinburgh; Drew Howard, Forest Park; Randy Kelley, Sullivan; Nolan Laster, Morristown; Trent Sisley, Heritage Hills; Matthew Wagner, Evansville Bosse.
2021-22 Weekly Winners
Nov. 1-Nov. 6: District-1 girls: Mila Reynolds, South Bend Washington. District-2 girls: Emily Livingston, Union City. District–3 girls: Kyia McKinley, Eastern (Pekin).
Nov. 8-Nov. 13: District-1 girls: Julia Mantyla, Northridge. District-2 girls: Isabella Gizzi, New Palestine. District–3 girls: Zoe Stewart, Terre Haute North Vigo.
Nov. 15-Nov. 20: District-1 girls: Asia Donald, Hobart. District-2 girls: Adrianne Tolen, West Lafayette. District–3 girls: Bailey Tabeling, Trinity Lutheran.
Nov. 22-Nov. 27: District-1 boys: Joe Reidy, Woodlan. District-1 girls: RaShunda Jones, South Bend Washington. District–2 boys: Ryan Conwell, Pike. District-2 girls: Camryn Wise, Wapahani. District-3 boys: Hunter Johnson, South Decatur. District–3 girls: Saige Stahl, Columbus East.
Nov. 29-Dec. 4: District-1 boys: Fletcher Loyer, Homestead. District-1 girls: Nevaeh Foster, Mishawaka Marian. District–2 boys: Brady Ruggles, Danville. District-2 girls: Ashlynn Shade, Noblesville. District-3 boys: Wes Aigner, Castle. District–3 girls: Macey Timberman, Northview.
Dec. 6-Dec. 11: District-1 boys: Markus Burton, Penn. District-1 girls: Ayanna Patterson, Homestead. District–2 boys: Jake Chapman, Tri-Central. District-2 girls: Caitlyn Campbell, Winchester, and McKenna Layden, Northwestern. District-3 boys: Caleb Dewey, Edinburgh. District–3 girls: Reagan Martin, Owen Valley.
Dec. 13-Dec. 18: District-1 boys: Brauntae Johnson, Fort Wayne North Side. District-1 girls: Ashlynn Brooke, Pioneer. District–2 boys: Isaac Andrews, Wapahani. District-2 girls: Alli Harness, Carroll (Flora). District-3 boys: Branden Northern, Silver Creek. District–3 girls: Faith Wiseman, Indian Creek.
Dec. 20-Dec. 25: District-1 boys: Ashton Johnson, Fort Wayne South Side. District-1 girls: Kacilyn Krebs, Warsaw. District–2 boys: Armon Jarrard, Mount Vernon (Fortville). District-2 girls: Laila Hull, Zionsville. District-3 boys: Hagen Knepp, Barr-Reeve. District–3 girls: Chloe Spreen, Bedford North Lawrence.
Dec. 27-Jan. 1: District-1 boys: Karson Jenkins, Fort Wayne Snider. District-1 girls: MaKaya Porter, Mishawaka Marian. District–2 boys: Reggie Bass, Arsenal Tech. District-2 girls: Ally Madden, Blue River Valley. District-3 boys: Jack Benter, Brownstown Central. District–3 girls: Juliann Woodard, Jennings County.
Jan. 3-Jan. 8: District-1 boys: Travis Grayson, Chesterton. District-1 girls: Lilly Maple, Maconaquah. District–2 boys: Braden Smith, Westfield. District-2 girls: Maddy Meek, New Castle. District-3 boys: Brysen Montgomery, Austin. District–3 girls: Kendall Hale, Cannelton.
Jan. 10-Jan. 15: District-1 boys: Connor Essegian, Central Noble. District-1 girls: Kelly Ratigan, South Bend St. Joseph. District–2 boys: Kyle Thomas, Cloverdale. District-2 girls: Teresa Maggio, McCutcheon. District-3 boys: Hunter Johnson, South Decatur. District–3 girls: Zoe Stewart, Terre Haute North Vigo.
Jan. 17-Jan. 22: District-1 boys: Ashton Williamson, Gary 21st Century. District-1 girls: Jyah LoVett, Fort Wayne Snider. District–2 boys: Ahmere Carson, Anderson. District-2 girls: Bailey Parham, Tri. District-3 boys: Tucker Biven, New Albany. District–3 girls: Ava Weber, Corydon Central.
Jan. 24-Jan. 29: District-1 boys: Markus Burton, Penn. District-1 girls: Hailey Cripe, Pioneer. District–2 boys: Chrishon McCray, Avon. District-2 girls: Kaycie Warfel, Pendleton Heights. District-3 boys: Josiah Dunham, Evansville Christian. District–3 girls: Saige Stahl, Columbus East.
Jan. 31-Feb. 5: District-1 boys: Connor Essegian, Central Noble. District-1 girls: Mila Reynolds, South Bend Washington. District–2 boys: Jordan Turner, Cardinal Ritter. District-2 girls: Ashlynn Shade, Noblesville. District-3 boys: Branden Northern, Silver Creek. District–3 girls: Ava Weber, Corydon Central.
Feb. 7-Feb. 12: District-1 boys: Trey Steinhilber, Boone Grove. District-1 girls: Jessica Carrothers, Crown Point. District–2 boys: Flory Bidunga, Kokomo. District-2 girls: McKenna Layden, Northwestern. District-3 boys: Jameer Ajibade, Evansville Bosse. District–3 girls: Josie Trabel, East Central.
Feb. 14-Feb. 19: District-1 boys: Travis Grayson, Chesterton. District-1 girls: RaShunda Jones, South Bend Washington. District–2 boys: Logan Imes, Zionsville. District-2 girls: Karsyn Cherry, Lafayette Central Catholic. District-3 boys: Jack Benter, Brownstown Central. District–3 girls: Kaybree Oxley, Tecumseh.
Feb. 21-Feb. 26: District-1 boys: Ben Garwood, LaCrosse. District-1 girls: Kira Reynolds, South Bend Washington. District–2 boys: Jake Chapman, Tri-Central. District-2 girls: Ashlynn Shade, Noblesville. District-3 boys: Hunter Johnson, South Decatur. District–3 girls: Amber Tretter, Forest Park, and Jenna Donohoo, Tecumseh.
Feb. 28-Mar. 5: District-1 boys: Karson Jenkins, Fort Wayne Snider. District–2 boys: Braden Smith, Westfield. District-3 boys: JaQualon Roberts, Bloomington North.