Now in its sixth week of action, a picture of Southside girls’ basketball is beginning to emerge.
Six teams – Beech Grove (7-3), Center Grove (5-4), Decatur Central (5-3), Greenwood (6-4), Roncalli (6-2), and Southport (5-4) – have winning records. Most coaches are looking to the holiday break so they can fine-tune their teams through the final regular season stretch drive and into the playoffs in February. None of the Southside teams has reached the consistency that their coaches are seeking. However, there is plenty of time for improvement.
In-season tourneys produced one surprise as 4A Center Grove’s veteran lineup fell to talented 3A Indian Creek, 48-38 in the Johnson County tourney in Edinburgh.
The Marion County tourney opened Tuesday night (results, too late for deadline) with Southside teams: Perry Meridian at Franklin Central, Southport at Beech Grove, Lutheran at North Central, Roncalli at Brebeuf, and Warren Central at Decatur Central. Any Southside team advancing to the quarter-finals Thursday at 6:30 p.m. would be on the road. Franklin Central is the host site Saturday for semifinals at 10 a.m. and the championship at 7 p.m.
Here’s a look at 12 Southside teams:
BEECH GROVE (3A) – Hornets under program-building second-year coach Amy Selk are 7-3 and are in their second three-game winning streak of the season. Quality wins against Rushville, 45-43 and Scecina, 45-38. Hornets are 2-1 in Indiana Crossroads games. Hornets came into the new season with only four returnees from last year’s varsity and a hive of newcomers.
Selk has improved the program’s reach down in the grade schools by including youth basketball players with high school team activities. They visited Purdue University for an exhibition game last month and met with 2003 Miss Indiana Basketball Katie Gearlds, who led the Hornets to a state championship.
“We are trying to rebuild the culture of Beech Grove Girls basketball, slowly laying the foundation with growing the game,” Selk said. “In addition, providing girls the opportunity/service to play hoops. During the fall we had morning workouts and opened the gym from 4th-12 grade. I am happy to report Beech Grove will have three 8th-grade teams playing in the IUSABB winter league. Other things we are trying to do is keeping the connection with coach Gearlds.”
Team leaders, through eight games, are: soph forward Mylee Boling, 14.2 points per game, 10.9 rebounds, 2.9 steals; senior guard Chanya Lambert, 11.1 ppg, 4.6 rebounds; and soph point guard Bre Veal, 2.8 assists. Boiling scored a season-high 29 points Saturday against Hauser. Hornets should keep improving as they get closer to the playoffs.
CENTER GROVE (4A) – Veteran coach Kevin Stuckmeyer has the luxury of 10 returnees from last season’s rare senior-less Trojans.
Stuckmeyer will have 100th CG win with four more wins. No longer MIC members, CG still faces a rugged schedule. Trojans are 5-4 with quality wins against Roncalli, 53-43 and Cathedral, 49-32 with junior Audree Annee putting up 16 points as eight Trojans scored. Trojans reached Johnson County title game before bowing out to 3A Indian Creek.
The Trojans leaders are: Annee, 12.9 points; 6-3 junior Rachel Wirts, 7.4 rebounds; and Ella Hobson, 3.2 assists. Home games coming up Dec. 8 against Bloomington South, Dec. 13 Martinsville, and Dec. 17 Avon. CG has not won a sectional title since 2019.
CHRISTEL HOUSE MANUAL (3A) – Second season for Eagles under combined banner of Christel House and Manual. The young Eagles have had it rough early this season, going winless in first eight games and scoring no more than 28 points in any game. Meanwhile, their opponents are putting up at an average of 41 points per game. Tough road ahead for coach Andrew Moore in his second year at the helm.
DECATUR CENTRAL (4A) – Hawks won first four games, three of those triumphs against Southside teams, under first-year coach Nic Carothers but then lost three of their next four games. DC is still aiming at first winning season since 2018-2019.
If nothing else, Hawks offense has improved dramatically, averaging 56.3 points compared to last year’s 32.0 per-game production.
Hawks are a combo of newcomers and veterans. Freshman 5-9 point guard Kamrah Banks leads with 16.6 points, 5-9 soph guard Soriah Gourd 14.0 points, and freshman Naja Winston 8.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists. Four seniors – Marier Fuller, Cadence Thomas, Aliseonna Garnett, Kyra VanScoy – add depth and experience.
FRANKLIN CENTRAL (4A) – Flashes have only two wins (Whiteland and New Palestine) in the first eight games and are struggling through a four-game losing skid. Tough schedule ahead this month features Hoosier Crossroads games at Zionsville and Westfield.
“We have been competitive in every game and we’re happy with the progress we have made both offensively and defensively,” coach Vince Cerbone said, “We just need to take better care of the ball down the stretch and play a full 32 minutes of fundamental basketball to get us over the hump in some of the close games.”
Team leaders are sophomore guard Lilly Graves 11.7 points; senior center Abby Steinhofer 5.9 rebounds; sophomore guard Emma McVey, 2.6 steals; and senior Mattie Finney, 2.1 assists.
Flashes are trying to shake loose from capturing only five games in each of the last two seasons.
GREENWOOD (4A) – Coach Justin Bennett finally has a veteran team that’s paying dividends for a program on the rise. After winning only 12 games in his first three campaigns at the helm, the Woodmen snared 14 wins last season.
They are 6-4 and 3-0 in the Mid-State with showdown games coming Friday at Franklin and Dec. 13 at Mooresville. They have key wins over Greenfield and New Palestine. Woodmen thumped Martinsville, 43-20 and Speedway, 66-39 last weekend.
Bennett has nine players back from last year’s squad plus four newcomers after graduating only one senior, Quinn Kelly.
Three seniors – forward Ella Stivers and guards Lily Howe and Emily Metzger – have combined for 26 points per game. Stivers has 5.6 rebounds and Howe has 2.6 steals. The Woodmen are hitting only 24 percent of their 3-point tries.
Defensively, the Woodmen are holding foes to 37.1 points per game with an improving offense at 40.5 points.
GREENWOOD CHRISTIAN (A) – The Alan Weems Era (11 seasons, 146-105) ended with his retirement from coaching last year after four sectional championships and two semi-state trips. The Cougars are now under first-year coach Tiffany Smith-Clements who guided the Cougars to a season-opening win but have lost six straight games.
The Cougars need help for an offense that only averages 22.2 points per game and a defense that has allowed 50 or more points in four games. GCA’s schedule has nine teams above Class A which has been a staple of their playoff success in past seasons.
LUTHERAN (A) – Saints downed visiting Ritter, 52-41 Saturday to snap slow start with only one win in six outings. Second-year coach Will Ferris was 7-17 in first campaign succeeding longtime coach Joe Morgan, a former sprint car owner, who retired. Ferris has good 1-2 punch with leading scorer, junior guard Caitlyn Brooks, 15.0 points, 3.4 steals, and junior Grace King, 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds. Soph C. Rose adds 6.0 points, 6.8 rebounds. Must find more punch from the squad that has one senior, four juniors, two sophomores, and two freshmen. Saints have fallen to rival Greenwood Christian Academy for three straight sectionals.
PERRY MERIDIAN (4A) – Young Falcons are winless in eight games; including one-point loss at Beech Grove, 39-38 and five points against visiting Decatur Central, 54-49. PM offense producing 34.6 points while giving up 54.1 points.
Solid senior Maya Mundy leads with 13.2 points and 2.4 steals. Reagan Rhea is the only other senior on the young squad that also features 5-2 freshman Aubrey Hall, 8.4 points, and 5-9 sophomore Mariah Thomas, 5.8 points, 5.8 rebounds.
Sophomore point guard Owen Harvey is in his second season. He averages 1.2 points and 1.8 rebounds, averaging 15 minutes per game. Second-year coach Amanda Anderson observed, “He plays a great role. He stepped up and is really focused. We all support him.” Davidson and the Falcons get a timely break between the Marion County tourney Tuesday and Dec. 23 tourney at Whiteland to improve. Program has seen five straight losing seasons.
RONCALLI (4A) – Second-year coach Jason Sims and the Royals are riding a three-game winning streak with a 6-2 record. Sims was 12-13 last year. “We’re off to a good start,” Sims stated.
Seniors Sydney Horton, 12.1 points and Josie Origer, 3.4 rebounds provide Royals with leadership on the court. Sims has a steadily improving band of juniors: Claire Lindsey, 11.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.6 steals, Taylor Turk, 8.1 points, Jasmine Horsman, 4.1 rebounds, Heaven Thompson, 7.5 points, and Natalie Lehner.
Sims commended sophomores Sara Rosko and Eva Hurrle “who are bringing great energy and defense to the group.” Freshman Brennah Cerny, 6.3 points, has had two double-figure games. No holiday for the Royals who travel to Ben Davis on Dec. 21 and then compete in Plainfield Classic Dec. 29.
SOUTHPORT (4A) – Cardinals are 5-4 with a three-game winning streak, including a thrilling overtime win against visiting Greenwood on Nov. 29. Sixth-year coach Adam Morelock and Cardinals are eager for long-awaited winning season.
“We have had a solid start to the year,” Morelock said. “We’re playing better every week and sharing the basketball with three girls averaging nine-plus points a game and multiple girls chipping in rebounds, assists and steals every night.”
“The eight-man rotation knows their responsibilities and roles, and continues to improve as a team. We are rounding into form and hope to be playing our best basketball when tournament time approaches.”
The Cardinals are led by 1-2-3 punch of sophomore guard Kassie McMasters, 15.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 3.1 steals, senior Cece Mitchell, 10.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and senior Lela Scott, 8.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.8 steals. Ball-hawking Cards averaging 12 steals per game. Scott and McMasters combined for 39 points in 67-57 win against Bloomington North.
WHITELAND (4A) – Coach Kellie Kirkhoff, a former standout player at Roncalli, is in her second year at Whiteland helm. Warriors won six games last season but can surpass that with two more wins this time around. Warriors (4-6) are 2-0 in the Mid-State with a key league matchup Saturday at Martinsville.
Young Warriors are led by junior forward Gwen Higdon, 14.1 points, sophomore guard Addison Emberton, 9.4 points, 2.1 steals, freshman Carly Vondielingen, 6.4 rebounds, sophomore Sukhmain Bains, 3.4 assists. Kirkhoff has a young roster with only two seniors, Emma Piercy, 6.3 points and Brooklyn Taylor.