Archive for December 31, 2013

MISS BASKETBALL CANDIDATE WHITNEY JENNINGS SOARS TO NEW LOGANSPORT HEIGHTS

 

Whitney Jennings Signs

LOGANSPORT, Ind. - She's the type of player who normally comes along just once in a coach’s career, but Logansport head coach Jerry Hoover has been fortunate to have now coached two such players. In the late 1970's, Hoover was the boys head coach at Ben Davis and had the opportunity to coach former Indiana University great Randy Wittman. Heaven smiled down on Hoover for a second time as he now is entering his last season coaching senior Whitney Jennings, who is one of the frontrunners for this seasons prestigious Indiana Miss Basketball honor.

Hoover and the Logansport community will not want this season to end as Jennings takes her game to the University of Iowa next year to begin her career as a Hawkeye. Over her career with the Berries, Jennings has put up some amazing numbers and will only add to them this year. An average year for Jennings could place her within the top 10 all-time scorers in the state. Entering her fourth season with the Lady Berries, Jennings had already accumulated 1,778 points, 498 assists, 264 steals, and 282 rebounds. That is an average of 24.4 points, 6.8 assists, 3.6 steals and 3.9 rebounds per game – numbers certainly worthy of a Miss Basketball winner. During that three-year span, the Berries have gone 62-11 and are currently the two-time defending undefeated North Central Conference champs.

After her junior season, Jennings picked up some impressive honors that include: Associated Press All-State 1st Team, Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Underclass First Team, Hoosier Basketball Magazine 1st Team, Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association First Team. She was also a core member of the Indiana Junior All-Star Team.

The start of the 2013-2014 campaign has not been a disappointment, either. The Class 4A No. 6-ranked Berries are a perfect 12-0 and have defeated Howard County squads Kokomo and Class 3A No. 6 Western. And on Dec. 21, Jennings tossed in 45 points en route to an 84-72 win over Anderson, and in the process, passed Caleb Springer’s 2,042 career point total to become the schools all-time leading scorer. She also grabbed 11 rebounds in the Anderson game for a double-double. The previous game, she scored 39 points and swiped eight steals against Harrison and was named the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association/Subway Player of the Week for District 1.

She also earned IBCA/Subway Player of the Week honors during the second week of the season when she averaged 35.5 points, 7 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 10.5 steals. During that two-game, seven-day span, she scored a triple-double with a 30 point, 13 assist and 11 steal performance against Maconaquah. And against Kokomo, she scored 41 points and tallied 10 steals for a double-double.

Contrary to belief, there is more to Jennings than just being an unbelievable basketball player – she is also an outstanding student. She entered her senior year ranked seventh in her class with a 4.17 GPA. She is a member of Logansport High School National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

In addition to basketball, Jennings has earned four varsity letters in soccer and was named to the 2012 and the 2013 Indiana Soccer Coaches Association District 3 First Team.

And if that is not enough, she completes her athletic season as the No. 1 singles in tennis for LHS and has a career record of 68-6. The LHS girls tennis team has been the NCC champion in 2012 and sectional champion during all three of her years. Jennings was also the individual sectional champion in 2012 and 2013 and was named Honorable Mention All-State in singles by the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association in 2012 and 2013.

“This is crazy, it's all gone by so fast. I think about my freshman year and it seems just like yesterday,” said Jennings.

When asked about the possibility of being named Miss Basketball, Jennings was fairly low key about the issue.

“Winning Miss Basketball is something that I've always thought would be pretty cool,” said the sharpshooter. “It's something a lot of girls think about when they're little. But honestly, it isn't something that I think about very much. It would definitely be a great honor and a great boost to the community but it isn't something I spend time thinking about.”

Members of the Berries basketball team recently returned from a goodwill tour of China. While there, they were able to meet students from their sister school and at times display some of their basketball skills.

“It was really a neat experience,” said Jennings. “Our first stop was in Beijing and we got to see so much of the history there. Wherever we went the people were so accepting of us and treated us so well. They applauded when we came in, they had bands that played for us, and we stayed at the best hotels. It was just an amazing trip that I'm glad we made.”

The Berries are once again relying heavily on Jennings, and if she delivers as she has the past three seasons, then the Hawkeye bound senior will end her career with legendary Hoosier names like Shanna Zolman, Stephanie White, and Skylar Diggins.

(Story courtesy of the Kokomo Herald, Rick Conrad and Dean Hockney)

FORMER LADY PANTHER WENDY ALDRIDGE NAMED TO HALL OF FAME’S SILVER ANNIVESARY TEAM

Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. - Sometimes, the end result is worth the wait. Twenty-five years after being denied a position on the 1989 Indiana All-Star girls basketball squad, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame has named Western graduate Wendy Aldridge to its prestigious 2014 Silver Anniversary Team. The honor is based on outstanding accomplishments of senior basketball players 25 years ago and includes 18 former high school players.

“I want to thank Cindy Lester who took the time to think of me and nominate me,” said Aldridge, who now resides in Florida. “I also got a very nice note from (HOF President) Jim Callane. I actually attended his basketball camps in middle school even though I was at Western. He let me participate in them when he was (the head boys coach) at Haworth.”

When Aldridge was graduated from Western in 1989, many thought she would become the first female Indiana All-Star from Western. Unfortunately, that did not pan out despite a worthy resume. The 6-footer averaged 22.9 points per game her senior season and left as Howard County and Western’s all-time career scoring leader with 1,403 points. She also grabbed 9.7 rebounds, dished five assists, hit 43 percent of her field goals and 80 percent from the charity stripe.

But like any athlete, she will tell you that winning, not individual numbers, are why one plays the game. And that highlight came when the Panthers won the 1989 IHSAA Northwestern Girls Basketball Sectional during the one-class basketball era. The Lady Panthers knocked off Kokomo 64-48 for the school’s fourth, and final, one-class sectional title for Western en route to an 18-4 season. After Aldridge was graduated, the Lady Wildkats defeated Western 24 consecutive times, with the streak finally broken in 2010.

Following her senior season, she was named First Team All-State, Huntington Tipoff Club All-State and the two-time Kokomo Kiwanis Area Most Valuable Player. She was also a four-time Mid-Indiana Conference performer.

Aldridge also became the first female basketball player from Western to earn an NCAA Division I scholarship when she signed to play at Butler University. After redshirting her freshman season because of stress fractures in both legs, she never fully recovered. She stayed on the Bulldogs squad and eventually was a player/assistant coach prior to graduating in 1993.

Aldridge now serves as the program coordinator at the Englewood Sports Complex in Florida – a 136-acre Sarasota County park complex that includes eight Little League fields, two softball fields, four soccer fields, eight tennis courts and two playgrounds. The complex also includes an 11,000 square foot multi-purpose gymnasium, weight room and seven fishing ponds.

The 2014 Silver Anniversary Team includes 10 members of the 1989 Indiana All-Star squad, among them Indiana’s Miss Basketball. Eight other all-state players are included to comprise the best of Indiana’s high school class of 1989.

Joining Aldridge on the Silver Anniversary Team are 1989 Miss Basketball Renee Westmoreland of Scottsburg; Aldridge; Krista Blunk, Tell City; Andresa (Smith) Brown, Marion; Courtney (Cox) Cole, Noblesville; Jennifer (Cole) Davis, Valarasio; Tricia Cullop, North Knox; Sheryl (Klemme) Christmas, Benton Central; Sabrina (Slone) Duncan, Alexandria; Courtney (Sands) Gault, Logansport; Michelle (Harris) Hoskins, Gary Wallace; Heather (Youngman) Jaynes, Brebeuf Jesuit; Nancy (Hoover) Larkey, Huntington North; Karen McCaa, Columbus North; Bridget Pettis, East Chicago Central; Kellie (Moran) Sade, Penn; Julie (VonDielingen) Shelton, Seymour; and Sloan (Haughey) Swanson, Hamilton.

All Women’s Silver Anniversary Team members will be honored at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s 13th Annual Women’s Banquet on April 26, 2014. The ceremony will take place at the Primo Banquet Hall, which is located on the south side of Indianapolis.  Tickets will be made available to the public in coming weeks or can be reserved through the Hall’s website at www.hoopshall.com. Call the Hall at (765) 529-1891 or email info@hoopshall.com for more information.

GUERIN CATHOLIC, ARSENAL TECH OFFICIALLY UNDER CONSIDERATION TO JOIN THE NORTH CENTRAL CONFERENCE

North Central Conference

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – It has been well documented that the North Central Conference will be at an odd nine teams starting with the 2015-2016 school year. With New Castle leaving this year and Huntington North at the end of 2014-2015 – and three Lafayette schools joining next year – the addition of at least one school to the blue collar conference is expected. But the blue collar aspect of the conference could come to a screeching halt if a private Catholic school is admitted. Could that happen? The answer is yes, and it is a real possibility as the addition of the private Guerin Catholic High School in Noblesville is under consideration by conference administrators.

“The principals and athletic directors of the North Central Conference met on December 12, 2013, at the IHSAA building at the request of representatives from Arsenal Technical High School and St Theodore Guerin High School to discuss the possible membership of those schools into the NCC.  Each school made a presentation to the group and discussed their interest in becoming a member of the NCC,” said NCC Sports Information Director Michael Austin in a prepared statement. “As a result of the meeting, the principals and athletic directors of the conference will request to visit each of the two schools in the near future in order to make the best possible decision for the NCC.

Founded in 2004, Guerin is a Roman Catholic college preparatory school with 750 students and a tuition of $12,450 per year. It is currently a Class 3A school in boys basketball and won a state title in 2012. Arsenal Tech is a Class 4A school in boys basketball and was an original member of the North Central Conference. Austin said there is no decision on admitting Guerin Catholic or Tech.

“There is no commitment to either school or from the conference at this point,” his statement read. “The visits are the next step in the lengthy process of making a formal invitation to any school that may wish to become a member of the conference.”

With changes happening in dozens of conference in Indiana, Austin said the NCC wants to ensure what is best for its student-athletes.

“As events unfold throughout the state among athletic conferences, the principals and athletic directors of the NCC will continue to focus on what is best for the student athletes, coaches, schools and communities of the member schools in the NCC,” Austin’s release stated. “The goal for the NCC remains the same; bigger, better, stronger and more exciting than ever.”

Current members of the North Central Conference include Kokomo, Logansport, Marion, Anderson, Muncie Central, Huntington North and Richmond. Lafayette Jefferson, McCutcheon and Harrison will join next school year while Huntington drops out – leaving room for at least one new school to keep the conference at an even number of competitors.