IBCA/Franciscan Health Player of the Week Program

Six Players Bring in the New Year During Week-10 of the IBCA/Franciscan Health Player of the Week Program


As student-athletes head back to school to begin their Spring semester, last week saw several county tournaments and rivalry games take place. There were a number of strong performances throughout the state, including triple-doubles, a couple of near quadruple-doubles, high-scoring affairs, and a player knocked down two game-winners in the same weekend. All-in-all, we felt the six players below were most deserving of the Player of the Week title in their respective districts.

Norwell Senior Ashton Federspiel, Valparaiso Sophomore Lillian Barnes, Tipton Senior Nolan Swan, Lapel Sophomore Laniah Wills, Evansville Harrison Senior Malachi McNair, and Gibson Southern Senior Chloey Graham have been chosen for Jan. 1-Jan. 6 in the recognition program coordinated by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. Federspiel and Barnes are the boys’ and girls’ standouts, respectively, in District-1. Swan is the boys’ representative, and Wills is the girls’ representative in

District-2. McNair is the boys’ recipient, while Graham is the girls’ recipient, in District-3.

The Norwell Knights had their hands full in a Northeast 8 conference matchup with Leo on Saturday, ultimately pulling out the nailbiter, 69-63, in double overtime. In a game where every point mattered, Norwell Senior Ashton Federspiel scored 31 of them, helping lead his Knights to victory. The

6-4 forward was a solid 9-17 from the field, her buried both of his 3-point attempts, and he was 11-15 from the charity stripe in the big win. Federspiel added 5 rebounds to his tally as well.

Valparaiso had a tough week, with three games spread over four days. Wednesday, they played host to #8 Lawrence North, losing 63-61 on a pair of free throws in the final seconds. They bounced back Friday with what became an easy Duneland Conference win over Portage, and they followed that up Saturday when they traveled to West Lafayette and took care of the Harrison Raiders, 61-41. Sophomore Lillian Barnes has already proven herself to be one of the best players in the state, and last week she was key for the Vikings, as usual. Against Lawrence North, the 5-11 wing scored a career-high 33 points in the narrow loss. She also pulled down 7 rebounds and handed out 5 assists in defeat. Versus Portage, in limited time, she managed 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals in the big DAC win. Then in Saturday’s matchup with West Lafayette Harrison, Barnes again played slightly less than usual, tallying 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 steals, plus she offered up an unselfish 8 assists in that contest.

Tipton is off to a 12-0 start to the season, and last weekend Senior Nolan Swan helped the Blue Devils to a pair of triumphs at home. Friday night, Tipton hosted a good Maconaquah squad, taking care of the Braves, 91-74, in the high-scoring affair. Then, on Saturday, the Blue Devils had a tight one with Bethesda Christian, holding off the Patriots to win once again, 63-55. In Friday’s contest, Swan scored 34 points behind an impressive shooting display. He was 10-15 from the field, 8-11 from long range, and a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. He added 5 rebounds and 5 assists to his output. Saturday, the 6-1 guard was nearly equal to the task, scoring 28 points, pulling down 8 rebounds, and picking up 5 steals in the success. Swan was again accurate, making 7-11 shots, 5-7 from outside, and 9-9 from the stripe.

Fresh off a 2023 Class 2A State Finals appearance, the Lapel Bulldogs are at it again. They sit at 14-3 overall and last week won the Madison County Tournament for a second year in a row. Sophomore Laniah Wills has been the main catalyst again this season, and she was great all three games last week. Tuesday, they opened with an easy win over Elwood. Wills managed 18 points on 6-9 shooting, plus she hauled in 19 rebounds (10 offensive) in limited minutes. She chipped in 2 assists and 3 steals as well. Thursday, against a tough Pendleton Heights team, the Bulldogs narrowly escaped with a 63-59 Semi-Final victory. The 6-0 forward was again a star, posting her second double-double of the week with 22 points and 11 rebounds. She also created foul trouble for the Arabians and was 10-12 from the charity stripe. In Saturday’s county finale, the Sophomore forward was at her best, scoring 25 points on 8-11 shooting, plus she pulled down 16 caroms in the trophy-raising game, as Lapel defeated Alexandria-Monroe, 48-31. Wills again used the line as a weapon, making 9-13 free tosses.

Senior Malachi McNair had the 9-2 Harrison Warriors dialed in last week, as they picked up a pair of Southern Indiana Conference wins at home. Tuesday night, Harrison hosted Evansville Mater Dei, taming the Wildcats, 79-49. McNair posted his first double-double of the week, scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 caroms in the win. He was a highly efficient 11-13 from the field and 2-3 from 3-point range in the outing, plus he added 4 assists and a pair of blocked shots. Friday night, the Warriors had their hands full with the Huskies of Evansville North, but they found a way to prevail, 57-47. The 6-7 forward posted another double-double, scoring 21 points and hauling in 14 rebounds, as he again shot it well. McNair was 7-11 from the field, 3-4 from deep, and 4-6 from the free throw line, plus he picked up 2 steals.

Gibson Southern was tasked with a three-game week last week, not to mention against three Pocket Conference foes. At the end of it, the Titans added three more conference wins, and Senior wing Chloey Graham came up huge. Tuesday, Gibson Southern hosted Mount Vernon (Posey) in what turned out to be a lopsided win. Graham was an efficient 8-12 from the field, 4-6 from 3-point range, and scored 20 points, all in the first half due to limited minutes. She added 2 rebounds, an assist, and 2 steals in the matchup. Thursday was much of the same, as the Titans disposed of Boonville, 80-46. Graham was again key, scoring 22 points in limited time, knocking down 6-10 from deep, and making all four of her free throw attempts. Saturday was her biggest outing of the week, however. In a 73-42 win against Tell City, the 5-9 wing set a single-game program record with 11 made 3-pointers. Graham finished 13-22 overall, a sizzling 11-14 from long range, pouring in 37 points for the Titans. The Indiana Wesleyan University commit added a pair of rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals to her outstanding effort.

This is the 16th season for the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Week program, and the fourth 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 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.




2023-24 Weekly Winners


Oct. 30-Nov. 4District-1 girls: Tenley Davis, Chesterton. District-2 girls: Avery Gordon, Brownsburg. District3 girls: Hadley Crosier, Lanesville.


Nov. 6-Nov. 11District-1 girls: Ava Ziolkowski, Crown Point. District-2 girls: Kayla Lacombe, Arsenal Technical. District3 girls: Chloe Spreen, Bedford North Lawrence.


Nov. 13-Nov. 18: District-1 girls: Samantha Redinger, Argos, and Gracyn Gilliard, Munster. District-2 girls: Kaycie Warfel, Pendleton Heights. District-3 girls: Audrey Annee, Center Grove.


Nov. 20-Nov. 25: District-1 boys: Bryce Wilcox, Southwood. District-1 girls: Brooke Zartman, Warsaw. District-2 boys: Brady Koehler, Cathedral. District-2 girls: Lillie Graves, McCutcheon. District-3 boys: Kasym Nash, Borden. District-3 girls: Madalynn Shirley, Evansville Central.


Nov. 27-Dec. 2: District-1 boys: Tyler Parrish, Chesterton. District-1 girls: Sadie Marks, South Central (Union Mills). District-2 boys: Damien King, Anderson. District-2 girls: Maya Layton, Faith Christian. District-3 boys: Trent Sisley, Heritage Hills. District-3 girls: Gabby Spink, Gibson Southern.


Dec. 4-Dec. 9: District-1 boys: Sam Essegian, Whitko. District-1 girls: Kenedi Bradley, Chesterton. District-2 boys: Braylon Mullins, Greenfield-Central. District-2 girls: Jaylah Lampley, Lawrence Central. District-3 boys: Aydan Head, Henryville. District-3 girls: Julia Meyer, Jac-Cen-Del.


Dec. 11-Dec. 16: District-1 boys: Jack Smiley, Valparaiso. District-1 girls: Kahlen Robinson, Bowman Academy. District-2 boys: Josiah Cox, Tri. District-2 girls: Maya Makalusky, Hamilton Southeastern. District-3 boys: Joshua Renfro, Christian Academy. District-3 girls: Brynn Owens, Austin.


Dec. 18-Dec. 23: District-1 boys: John Malchow, Winamac Community. District-1 girls: Gracyn Gilliard, Munster. District-2 boys: Philip Randolph, Indianapolis International. District-2 girls: Jacklynn Hosier, Alexandria-Monroe. District-3 boys: Josiah Dunham, Evansville Christian. District-3 girls: Brooklynn Renn, Silver Creek.


Dec. 25-Dec. 30: District-1 boys: Josiah Ball, Maconaquah. District-1 girls: Addison Baxter, Columbia City. District-2 boys: Julius Gizzi, New Palestine. District-2 girls: Reagan Wilson, Noblesville, and Olivia Nickerson, Twin Lakes. District-3 boys: Blake Neill, Bloomfield. District-3 girls: Juliann Woodard, Jennings County.


Jan. 1-Jan. 6: District-1 boys: Ashton Federspiel, Norwell. District-1 girls: Lillian Barnes, Valparaiso. District-2 boys: Nolan Swan, Tipton. District-2 girls: Laniah Wills, Lapel. District-3 boys: Malachi McNair, Evansville Harrison. District-3 girls: Chloey Graham, Gibson Southern.

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