Last week, more than 390 girls’ basketball programs around the state began postseason play in hopes of something as simple as a single victory, or as complicated as a state title. By the time the dust settled late Saturday night, just 64 teams remained as sectional champions.
Meanwhile, in between the boys were entertaining as well, and below we will celebrate a 50-point outing, a 45-point outing, plus several records being set. All in all, seven hoopers have been selected as the Week-14 IBCA/Franciscan Health Players of the Week.
Maconaquah Junior Josiah Ball, Marquette Catholic Sophomore Laniah Davis, Wapahani Senior Isaac Andrews, Kokomo Senior Flory Bidunga, Eastbrook Senior Sophia Morrison, Providence Senior Noah Lovan, and Bedford North Lawrence Senior Madisyn Bailey have been selected For Jan. 29-Feb. 3 in the recognition program coordinated by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. Ball, a boys’ winner, and Davis, a girls’ winner, represent District-1. Andrews and Bidunga share boys’ honors, while Morrison picks up girls’ honors, in District-2. Lovan is the boys’ recipient, and Bailey is the girls’ recipient in District-3.
Maconaquah Junior Josiah Ball has put together an outstanding season, and it continued last week in a 98-78 victory over Western. The 6-5 forward erupted for 50 points on 19-35 shooting, which included a 4-8 performance from deep and an 8-10 outing from the free throw line. In addition to his explosive scoring effort, the Junior forward also managed to pull down 9 rebounds, he handed out a pair of assists, and he collected a pair of steals at the defensive end of the floor.
Sophomore Laniah Davis has been an explosive scorer for two seasons now, and last week she scored her 900th point in just the 48th game of her career. Additionally, the 5-8 guard helped Marquette Catholic to a Sectional 50 crown. Tuesday, Marquette took care of host Culver Community by an easy margin, Friday it was Oregon-Davis, 66-44, and while Saturday was a bit tougher, they knocked off Triton, 52-39. For the week, the youngster averaged 23.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 5.7 steals per game, with a double-double against Oregon-Davis and 30 points versus Triton.
Wapahani Senior sharpshooter Isaac Andrews has been strong all four years of his career, and last week he set the school’s single-game scoring record with a 45-point effort in their hard-fought, 81-73 triple overtime win against Cowan Thursday night. The 6-1 guard added 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, plus a blocked shot to his effort. Saturday, in an easy victory over Union (Modoc), Andrews managed another 30 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals in limited time.
In his only game last week, Kokomo Senior Flory Bidunga reached the 1400-point plateau, plus he collected his 1000th rebound, joining the rare 1000-point/1000-rebound club. Even more impressive, the 6-10 University of Kansas commit has done it in just three seasons. The Wildkats won their eighth game in a row by defeating Cathedral, 91-74. Bidunga finished 9-10 from the field, he scored 23 points, pulled down 17 rebounds, handed out 5 assists, and blocked 5 shots in the triumph.
Senior Sophia Morrison helped Eastbrook to their second consecutive Sectional 39 title, but it wasn’t all easy for the Panthers. Tuesday, they knocked off the host Elwood Panthers with ease. Friday, in the Sectional Semi-Final, it was more of the same against Madison-Grant. But in Saturday’s title game, it took Eastbrook four overtimes…yes, four…to avenge a loss to Blackford from the week prior, 62-58. All in all, Morrison, a Grace College commit, was outstanding, averaging 25.7 points, 2.3 assists, and 5.0 steals per game. She poured in 32 points versus Blackford, plus she surpassed the 1400-point mark.
Providence Senior Noah Lovan was critical for the Pioneers in a pair of games last week, but none more so than a 30-point performance in a 67-34 win over now 12-5 South Central (Elizabeth) on Thursday night. Lovan buried 14-19 shots, including knocking down two of his three 3-point attempts. He followed that Saturday with a 28-point outing in a 75-40 success against Henryville. The 6-3 guard was highly effective at the charity stripe this time, making 11-12 shots from 15-feet. He added 9 rebounds and 6 assists in the win, helping move the Pioneers to 14-3 on the year.
The Bailey name is synonymous with Bedford North Lawrence basketball, and last week Senior Madisyn Bailey helped the Lady Stars to a huge upset and a Sectional 15 crown. The Stars began their week Wednesday night with a 58-24 win against New Albany. It continued Friday, as they took care of a very good Silver Creek program, 60-41. But Saturday was the big one, as Bedford avenged a 17-point loss from earlier this season, this time using key defensive stops to knock off IBCA #6 Jennings County, 43-39. The 5-9 Bailey was a huge catalyst each game defensively, often defending the other team’s best player, limiting them to single digits. Additionally, the Marian University commit averaged 18.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 3.7 steals per game,plus she was 19-29 from the field and an impressive 8-11 from downtown.
This is the 16th season for the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Week program, andthe 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.