Week-7 of the IBCA/Franciscan Health Player of the Week Program

Renfro & Owens Each Top 40 Points During Week-7 of the IBCA/Franciscan Health Player of the Week Program


With Christmas right around the corner, and only traces of snow in Northern Indiana, players are heating up the gyms with big outputs just about every night of the week. We saw several high-scoring affairs during Week-7, a few triple-doubles, and some overtimes and buzzer-beaters as well, and from those performances we were able to find six individuals who stood out amongst their peers, as we honor them for their strong weeks.

Valparaiso Junior Jack Smiley, Bowman Academy Junior Kahlen Robinson, Tri Senior Josiah Cox, Hamilton Southeastern Junior Maya Makalusky, Christian Academy Junior Joshua Renfro, and Austin Sophomore Brynn Owens have been selected as recipients for Dec. 11-Dec. 16 in the recognition program coordinated by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. Smiley is the boys’ winner, and Robinson is the girls’ winner in District-1. Cox is the boys’ honoree, while Makalusky is the girls’ honoree for District-2. Renfro and Owens each eclipse the 40-point mark to take home boys’ and girls’ awards, respectively, in District-3.

Valparaiso Junior Jack Smiley had a rather eventful week, helping the Vikings to a 2-0 record. On Tuesday, Smiley overcame illness and helped Valparaiso battle back from a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat a strong Gary 21st Century squad, 68-64 in overtime. The 6-2 guard managed 35 points on 10-17 shooting, plus he was 15-18 from the free throw line. He added 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots for good measure. Saturday was an emotional time in Valparaiso, as the Vikings honored the late Virgil Sweet and all of his accomplishments. Smiley produced once again, scoring 28 points in the 70-52 win against visiting Elkhart. The Junior guard was again efficient, knocking down 13-21 shots from the field, while also contributing 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocked shots in the triumph.

Bowman Academy split their games last week, going 1-1 overall, but Junior Kahlen Robinson was stellar in each, and she put together all-around efforts both times out. In a 51-45-win Wednesday night over East Chicago Central, the 5-6 guard scored 32 points, she grabbed 7 rebounds, she handed out 3 assists, and she picked off 7 steals in victory. Then on Saturday, although they lost a tough one, 62-44 at Valparaiso, the Junior guard was again a key catalyst in the Eagle attack. She tossed in another 23 points on 8-15 shooting, plus she was 4-7 from long range. She again added to her performance in other ways, grabbing 6 rebounds, dishing out 2 assists, and gathering up 5 more steals in defeat.

Tri High tends to make a lot of noise when it comes to basketball in Henry County, and last week Senior Josiah Cox was on it, helping the Titans to a pair of nice victories. Friday, the Titans visited Cowan, knocking off the Blackhawks on the road, 69-59. The next day the Titans played host to a solid Union City team, defeating the Indians, 57-44. Against Cowan, the 6-2 guard scored 32 points, including a 5-9 performance from behind the arc, to go along with a near-perfect 10-11 from the charity stripe. Add to that 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and a blocked shot, and Cox put forth a well-rounded effort in the win. Saturday, the Senior guard scored 34 points against Union City, including 4-8 from 3-point range. He posted a double-double with his 10 rebounds, plus he added 4 assists, 4 steals, and a blocked shot in the success.

Hamilton Southeastern Junior Maya Makalusky has had an outstanding season, but last week in their lone game, the 6-3 Junior wing was the hero twice over the final four-plus minutes. The now 11-1 Royals faced backyard rival Fishers in the annual Mudsock game, and it took an extra frame to win, 70-67 in overtime. Not only did Makalusky score 28 points, but she buried the two free throws that pushed the game into OT, then proceeded to score 8 of HSE’s 10 points in the overtime period. In addition to her scoring, the Indiana University commit added 7 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a blocked shot to her effort. If that wasn’t enough, the Junior wing topped the 1000-point mark for her career.

Christian Academy and Junior Joshua Renfro had just one game last week, but it was a memorable one, for sure. The 6-2 guard erupted against South Central (Elizabeth) Friday night, scoring a career-high 43 points on 12-15 shooting. He was 3-5 from deep and a perfect 16-16 from the free throw line in the lopsided win. Renfro didn’t just score it either. The Junior guard pulled down 9 rebounds, he handed out 3 assists, and he collected a steal in victory, as the Warriors remain undefeated on the year.

Last, but definitely not least, Austin Sophomore Brynn Owens had a memorable performance Thursday in a 78-56 win at Clarksville. The youngster poured in 47 points on a solid 16-30 from the field. She was an impressive 8-13 from behind the arc and a near-perfect 7-8 from the free throw stripe. Owens added 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal in the road win. Tuesday, the 5-7 guard helped her Eagles to a nice 53-38 success against the Providence Pioneers. She scored a modest 15 points that night, but still shot an efficient 5-9 from the field and a perfect 5-5 on charity tosses. She added 8 rebounds and 8 assists to nearly pull off the triple-double on the evening.

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.

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