Week-15 Saw the Girls’ Tourney Play Catch-Up; Six More Named IBCA/Franciscan Health Players of the Week
Thanks to ice, snow, and whatever else we had thrown our way, the girls’ Sectionals all concluded early last week, while the Regional round took place as scheduled all day Saturday. Additionally, there were a number of strong boys’ matchups throughout the state, as their regular season enters the home stretch. With that said, we have selected three boys and three girls as the Week-15 IBCA/Franciscan Health Players of the Week.
Boone Grove Senior Trey Steinhilber, Kokomo Sophomore Flory Bidunga, Evansville Bosse Senior Jameer Ajibade, Crown Point Senior Jessica Carrothers, Northwestern Junior McKenna Layden, and East Central Junior Josie Trabel were selected as honorees for Feb. 7-Feb. 12 in the recognition program coordinated by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. Steinhilber is the boys’ representative, and Carrothers is the girls’ representative in District-1. Bidunga and Layden take home boys’ and girls’ honors, respectively, in District-2. Ajibade is the boys’ recipient, while Trabel is the girls’ recipient in District-3.
Boone Grove executed a flawless week last week, going 3-0 overall and extending their current winning streak to five games. Tuesday, in a Porter County Conference matchup with Westville, Senior Trey Steinhilber was outstanding from the charity stripe, knocking down 21-22 shots from 15-feet, on his way to 44 points overall. The Wolves won by an 89-78 margin, but Steinhilber was effective in other ways as well. He also grabbed four rebounds, handed out seven assists, and collected a steal.
They returned to the court Friday and narrowly escaped with a 70-67 victory against Lake Station Edison. Steinhilber, a 6-1 point guard, was not as impactful scoring the ball, as he had just eight points in the contest. However, he was a key facilitator, finding teammates on eight other occasions for scores, plus he collected two more caroms and three steals, and he added a blocked shot.
Saturday, as Boone Grove traveled to Hanover Central, the Wolves needed nearly all of his scoring, as the Senior guard went for 20 points in another tightly contested game, winning 49-42. Steinhilber knocked down a pair of triples and was a perfect 4-4 from the line in this triumph, but he again added eight rebounds, a pair of assists, and a steal to his stat-line.
Crown Point Senior Jessica Carrothers had a somewhat similar week; however, she saved her best for last. Tuesday, Carrothers and the Bulldogs had some unfinished business, as they had to secure a Sectional title first. While it wasn’t as easy as their regular season matchup with Merrillville, they did secure a narrow, 50-48 win, over the neighboring Pirates. Carrothers scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in the outing.
Saturday saw the Bulldogs head to LaPorte for the Regional, as they squared off with rival Penn early in the day. Carrothers was a solid 6-13 from the field and 5-6 from the line, scoring 17 points in total. The 5-7 guard also grabbed four rebounds, handed out four assists, and collected four steals, as Crown Point advanced with a hard-fought, 47-42 victory.
Saturday night was another rivalry game for Crown Point, taking on another Duneland Conference opponent in Lake Central. And as I said earlier, Carrothers saved the best for last. The Senior guard made 19-29 shots from the field, she knocked down a 3-pointer, and she was a perfect 3-3 from the free throw line, scoring a whopping 42 points, as the Bulldogs won the Regional title, 59-38, over the Lady Indians. The IUPUI commit added five rebounds, two assists, and four steals in success.
The Kokomo boys played just one game last week, knocking off Richmond in a North Central Conference matchup, 59-45. Sophomore front-liner Flory Bidunga continued his dominant season, posting the rare triple-double, and he did so in an even rarer fashion. The 6-10 post scored 32 points, he grabbed 20 rebounds (7 offensive), and he blocked 11 shots to reach the mark. The Wildkats’ big man was 16-24 from the floor, and he didn’t attempt a 3-pointer or a free throw on the evening.
Nearby, Northwestern Junior McKenna Layden continued her strong campaign, helping the Tigers to a pair of wins in three games. Monday, in the Sectional Semi-Final, Northwestern knocked off West Lafayette Harrison in a close one, 66-62. Layden was 6-11 from the field and a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line, scoring 20 points that evening. She also grabbed eight rebounds, handed out 10 assists, and collected four steals in her first double-double of the week.
The very next night, the Tigers took on Logansport in the Marion Sectional finale. In a fairly comfortable, 57-38 win over the Berries, Layden scored 29 points behind 7-12 shooting from long range. The 6-2 wing again reached the double-double mark, this time with her 10 rebounds, plus she contributed five assists, a pair of steals, and a blocked shot, as the Tigers advanced to the Regional.
Saturday, Northwestern took on a tough Fort Wayne Snider team at the Marion Regional site, but their season unfortunately came to an end, 72-43. Still, Layden knocked down four 3-pointers and was a solid 7-8 from the free throw line, scoring 29 points for the second time in the week. The Purdue commit also collected four rebounds and picked off two steals in defeat.
Down in Evansville, Senior Jameer Ajibade helped the Bosse Bulldogs to a pair of wins. Wednesday, they headed to Evansville North, where they snuck out of there with a 65-60, Southern Indiana Conference victory. Ajibade was a highly efficient 9-10 from the floor, 2-3 from deep, and 4-5 from the free throw line, scoring 25 points on the evening. He added eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the nice all-around effort.
Two nights later, the Bulldogs hosted Evansville Mater Dei in yet another Southern Indiana Conference game. Bosse won this one by a 63-54 margin, but they did so while dealing with significant foul trouble. Ajibade, a 6-4 wing, had to run the offense at times, but he again managed 25 points on another hot shooting night, going 10-13 from the field and 2-4 from deep. Add three made free throws, nine rebounds, and five assists, and he did a little of everything in this game.
East Central Junior Josie Trabel had a spectacular week, as the Lady Trojans split a pair of games in the state tournament. Tuesday night, East Central took on a strong Columbus East squad, winning the Sectional crown by a slight 72-67 edge. Trabel scored exactly half their points (36) on 15-22 shooting, she was 3-6 from 3-point range, and she buried all three of her free tosses. She posted a double-double with 11 rebounds, but she also handed out four assists and blocked a shot.
Saturday, Trabel and the Trojans took on a tough Franklin Community squad in the Regional opener, losing 78-65 in a game they fought back hard in, unfortunately ending their season. The 6-0 forward was again efficient, knocking down 8-13 shots, 4-7 from deep, and 11-13 from the line, scoring 31 points in total. She again posted a double-double with 10 more rebounds, and she added two assists and three steals.
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 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-15 (2021-22)
District-1 Boys: Markus Burton, Penn; Logan Gard, Central Noble; Ben Garwood, LaCrosse; Karson Jenkins, Fort Wayne Snider; Kyle Kirkham, LaPorte; Fletcher Loyer, Homestead; Hayden Maiben, Maconaquah; Eric Martin, Calumet New Tech; Luke McBride, Norwell; Marcus Northern, South Bend Washington.
District-1 Girls: Aniyah Bishop, Lake Central; Ashlynn Brooke, Pioneer; Caitlin Conn, North White; RaShunda Jones, South Bend Washington; Bailey Kelham, Garrett; Clair Klinger, Washington Township; Lyndsey Kobza, Kouts; Logan Mouser, North Miami; Jordyn Poole, Fort Wayne Snider; Kylie Wells, Merrillville.
District-2 Boys: Isaac Andrews, Wapahani; Reggie Bass, Arsenal Tech; Landon Biegel, Oak Hill; Xavier Booker, Cathedral; Jake Chapman, Tri-Central; Ryan Conwell, Pike; Chrishon McCray, Avon; David Meriwether, Indianapolis Metropolitan; Harrison Schwinn, Frankton; Ty Wills, Anderson.
District-2 Girls: Patty Chikamba, University; Kenzie Fulks, Bethesda Christian; Rachel Harshman, Mooresville; Kenna Kirby, Tri-West; Ally Madden, Blue River Valley; Camryn Runner, Hamilton Heights; Ashlynn Shade, Noblesville; Kaleah Toomer, Ben Davis; Madison Wagner, Carroll (Flora); Kyla Willis, North Putnam.
District-3 Boys: Jack Benter, Brownstown Central; Peyton Bledsoe, Loogootee; Josiah Dunham, Evansville Christian; Coy Gilbert, Shakamak; Hunter Johnson, South Decatur; Anthony Martin, Corydon Central; Bryan Rippy, Eastern Greene; Ollie Sandman, Shelbyville; Gavin Schippert, Evansville Reitz; Trent Sisley, Heritage Hills.
District-3 Girls: Chloey Graham, Gibson Southern; Koryn Greiwe, Columbus East; Kaybree Oxley, Tecumseh; Chloe Spreen, Bedford North Lawrence; Alaina Thorne, Washington; Ashlyn Traylor, Franklin Community; Amber Tretter, Forest Park; Ava Weber, Corydon Central; Linzie Wernert, Lanesville; Juliann Woodard, Jennings County.
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.