The featured image is of Ryan VieleRyanViele5'8" | CGHamilton Southeastern | 2022StateIN
of Hamilton Southeastern High School.
Believe it or not, after Tuesday night’s games we have reached the quarter point in the 2020-2021 season based on dates/days. While it might not seem like it for some teams who have played just a game or two (or maybe even none), several others are four, five, or six games into their seasons. In our new environments with safety protocols in place, conditions aren’t ideal for most teams, but at least we are able to take to the hardwood and get something rolling for these student-athletes. After hearing about how other states are handling things, a big "thank you" needs to be aimed at our athletic directors and school administrators who are doing their best to make athletics available to our kids throughout the state. Anyway, below is a look at a few storylines I thought stood out so far in Class 4A. We can’t talk about everyone in each article, so I tried to find what "popped" to me.
2020 State Finalists Figuring It Out
After what turned out to be a historic Class 4A State Championship Game back on February 29th, both Lawrence North and Northwestern were facing the loss of several key 2020 graduates. For the Wildcats, they lost four starters and five Seniors in total, all of which went on to college basketball opportunities. Katie DavidsonKatieDavidson5'10" | SFLawrence North | 2020StateIN
(Miami-OH), Kristian YoungKristianYoung5'4" | PGLawrence North | 2020StateIN
(Illinois-Chicago), and Lauren GunnLaurenGunn5'9" | SFLawrence North | 2020StateIN
(Valparaiso) are all at the Division-I level. As for the Tigers, they too saw five Seniors exit via the diploma, with three of them pursuing college hoops. However, both Madison LaydenMadisonLayden6'1" | SFNorthwestern | 2020StateIN
(Purdue) and Kendall BosticKendallBostic6'1" | CNorthwestern | 2020StateIN
(Michigan State) found their way to the Big Ten, and both will go down as two of the best to ever put on their uniforms. So what’s left? Well, Lawrence North is off to a 3-3 start against a brutal schedule, including games today against Columbus North and Crown Point. They have a lot of youth gaining experience on the fly, but Senior guard Jayla SmithJaylaSmith5'11" | SGLawrence North | 2021State#73NationIN
, a Purdue University commit, is back and as dangerous as ever. She was "Miss Big Shot" in the State Finals nine months ago. Additionally, Sophomore wing Monica WilliamsMonicaWilliams5'9" | SFLawrence North | 2023StateIN
continues to improve, and she has been a really nice sidekick to Smith. Based on the quality of their schedule, they could very well be 12-10 entering Sectional play, but they have the firepower and experience to knock out anyone along the way and defend their title. When it comes to Northwestern, losing so much scoring, rebounding, and experience would be tough on just about anyone, but the Tigers have turned to a trio of returnees to help them keep with their winning ways. Sophomore wing McKenna LaydenMcKennaLayden6'1" | SFNorthwestern | 2023StateIN
now takes on the go-to role, and she has been stellar thus far, averaging 20.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game, helping them to a 4-0 early season start. Senior guard Ellie Boyer and Junior post Leah CarterLeahCarter6'0" | CNorthwestern | 2022StateIN
have also elevated their games, both averaging double-figures at this point in time. The Tigers’ schedule isn’t quite as daunting as Lawrence North’s, so they very well could approach 20 wins again before tournament play.
No Parrish, No Perish?
University of Oregon Freshman Sydney ParrishSydneyParrish6'2" | SFHamilton Southeastern | 2020StateIN
had been a huge part of Hamilton Southeastern’s success the last four seasons, and with her graduation, plus the graduation of a strong 2019 class that helped the Royals win the 2019 Class 4A State Championship, Hamilton Southeastern was set to turn to a mostly new cast of characters with an uncertain set of expectations because of their inexperience. So what do the Royals do? They start the season 4-0 with wins over Center Grove, Ben Davis, Columbus East, and Fort Wayne Carroll, before finally falling yesterday at Carmel. They have also done so playing just one Senior, two Juniors, and five Sophomores a majority of the minutes. Junior guard Ryan VieleRyanViele5'8" | CGHamilton Southeastern | 2022StateIN
and Sophomore wing Riley MakaluskyRileyMakalusky5'11" | SFHamilton Southeastern | 2023StateIN
have scored in double-digits to begin the year, but while Viele is an attacker who seemingly glides to the rim with ease, Makalusky is more of a deep shooter who threatens opposing defenses outside. Senior forward Lydia SelfLydiaSelf5'10" | SFHamilton Southeastern | 2021StateIN
has been a monster on the boards so far, averaging 15.3 per game and 6.8 at the offensive end. Junior guard Makayla HinshawMakaylaHinshaw5'8" | SGHamilton Southeastern | 2022StateIN
has been her usual self defensively, and Sophomore point guard Olivia BrownOliviaBrown5'7" | PGHamilton Southeastern | 2023StateIN
has done a nice job from the helm of making the ship go. This group, collectively, has a lot of length, athleticism, and intensity. They are only going to gain confidence and learn from their mistakes as the season wears on, so watch out for them in February...each of the next three years.
Early Season Stat Leaders: Seniors Shining in Class 4A
While it’s still really early in the season, there are nine young ladies scoring at or above the 20-point threshold in Class 4A, per MaxPreps. Anderson Senior wing Tyra FordTyraFord5'9" | SFAnderson | 2021StateIN
has been outstanding all season, and she tops the list averaging 34.6 points per game. Roncalli Senior guard Madelyn BischoffMadelynBischoff5'10" | SGRoncalli | 2021StateIN
(25.5), Michigan City Senior forward Trinity ThompsonTrinityThompson6'0" | PFMichigan City | 2021StateIN
(24.2), Fishers Senior guard Katie BurtonKatieBurton5'9" | SGFishers | 2021StateIN
(23.3), and Valparaiso Senior wing Kiana OellingKianaOelling5'10" | SFValparaiso | 2021StateIN
(21.3) all come in above 21.0 points per game early this season. Just seven players are averaging double-digit rebounds in Class 4A, led by Michigan City Senior forward Trinity ThompsonTrinityThompson6'0" | PFMichigan City | 2021StateIN
at 17.0 per game. Hamilton Southeastern Senior wing Lydia SelfLydiaSelf5'10" | SFHamilton Southeastern | 2021StateIN
has been strong on the glass, averaging 15.3 rebounds, while Muncie Central Junior athlete Jasiah Scaife has posted 13.7 rebounds per game thus far. Northwestern Sophomore wing McKenna LaydenMcKennaLayden6'1" | SFNorthwestern | 2023StateIN
is dishing out the assists at a 9.5 assist per game clip. Lawrence Central Senior forward Da’Naria WashingtonDa’NariaWashington5'9" | SFLawrence Central | 2021StateIN
(6.0), Noblesville Sophomore guard Ashlynn ShadeAshlynnShade5'11" | CGNoblesville | 2023State#33NationIN
(5.8), Franklin Community Junior wing Kuryn BrunsonKurynBrunson5'9" | SFFranklin Community | 2022StateIN
(5.5), and East Central Senior wing Kyla Maxwell (5.3) are all helping on more than five team baskets per game each time out. Noblesville Sophomore guard Ashlynn ShadeAshlynnShade5'11" | CGNoblesville | 2023State#33NationIN
has been quite the thief, averaging 6.0 steals per game. Michigan City Junior guard Jaden Smallwood isn’t far behind at 5.2 per game, while ten more young ladies are at or above 4.0 steals per game. Northwestern Junior front-liner Leah CarterLeahCarter6'0" | CNorthwestern | 2022StateIN
and Columbus East Sophomore post Gabrielle DeanGabrielleDean6'4" | CColumbus East | 2023StateIN
lead Class 4A in blocked shots at 3.5 per game, while Center Grove Senior wing Mary WilsonMaryWilson5'10" | SFCenter Grove | 2021StateIN
(23) and Franklin Community Freshman guard Scarlett KimbrellScarlettKimbrell5'10" | SGFranklin Community | 2024StateIN
(20) have each made 20 or more 3-pointers in this young season. Kimbrell is shooting 47% outside as well (20-43).
Sectional #8 Best In State?
Of the six teams in Sectional #8, five of them are currently in the Top-25 of the first release of Jeff Sagarin’s rankings, which figure in a team’s strength of schedule, home vs. away games, etc. While I realize it’s way too early to rely solely on that, I have a feeling because of these schools’ strengths of schedule, they will all be up near the top at the end of the season as well. Carmel sits at 4-0 right now, with wins already against Hamilton Southeastern and Zionsville. They rely heavily on the inside-out duo of 6-1 Junior Wing Kate ClarkeKateClarke6'1" | SFCarmel | 2022State#56NationIN
, a University of Michigan commit, and 6-3 Senior forward Bridget DunnBridgetDunn6'3" | PFCarmel | 2021StateIN
, a Kent State University signee. Fishers is off to a 6-1 start, and they have knocked off Zionsville as well. They rely on superb guard depth, most notably Senior Katie BurtonKatieBurton5'9" | SGFishers | 2021StateIN
, Senior Audra EmmersonAudraEmmerson5'6" | PGFishers | 2021StateIN
, and Sophomore Hailey SmithHaileySmith5'8" | SGFishers | 2023StateIN
. Burton has committed to Saint John’s University in New York, while Emmerson has committed to Purdue University-Fort Wayne. Hamilton Southeastern checks in at 4-1, and we addressed them earlier in this article. Noblesville is 3-1 out of the gate, and they are heavily reliant on Sophomore star Ashlynn ShadeAshlynnShade5'11" | CGNoblesville | 2023State#33NationIN
, while Freshman guard Reagan WilsonReaganWilson5'7" | PGNoblesville | 2024StateIN
and Senior wing Jayla Jones are also off to nice starts. Westfield is 2-1 right now, but they are currently in the middle of a number of unfortunate postponements. They turn to talented Junior wing Alyssa CrockettAlyssaCrockett6'2" | SFWestfield | 2022State#62NationIN
. Junior guard Chesney TebbeChesneyTebbe5'7" | CGWestfield | 2022StateIN
and Senior guard Jessica CastorJessicaCastor5'6" | CGWestfield | 2021StateIN
have continued their strong play from the Summer. And after an abnormal and injury plagued 6-17 season in 2019-2020, Zionsville is happy to have Senior forward Katey RichasonKateyRichason6'0" | PFZionsville Community | 2021StateIN
back and healthy. The Miami University (OH) commit missed much of last season injured. The Eagles are 3-3 right now, but they have also seen a number of youngsters step up, including Sophomore forward Laila HullLailaHull6'1" | PFZionsville | 2023State#49NationIN
, who continues to score the ball consistently at all three levels.
Unranked? No Problem
East Central, Fort Wayne Snider, Franklin Community, Michigan City, and Roncalli all began the season outside of our Preseason Top-10, but all have started this season with an undefeated mark of 3-0 or better, plus all are currently among the Top-50 teams in the state in the initial Sagarin ratings. East Central has typically used a great deal of size to overwhelm opponents in the past, and while they still have a little size, they are doing so this year with more of a balanced attack. Junior guard Hope FoxHopeFox5'7" | CGEast Central | 2022StateIN
has been outstanding to begin the year, and her versatility is apparent. Sophomore forward Josie TrabelJosieTrabel6'0" | PFEast Central | 2023StateIN
is another multidimensional kid who can play inside-out. Junior guard Ashley Nobbe transferred in from Batesville this year, and she brings more stability to the backcourt, as does Senior wing Kyla Maxwell. The Trojans are 4-0 to begin the year, with a big game tonight at Mount Vernon (Fortville). Fort Wayne Snider is very much on the young side of things as a program. With a new head coach and a number of Freshmen impacting the rotation, they could be a team that sustains success the next several years. Freshman point guard Jordyn PooleJordynPoole5'5" | PGFort Wayne Snider | 2024StateIN
was a thrill to watch all Summer, and she headlines this young team. Senior forward Destiny JacksonDestinyJackson5'10" | SFFort Wayne Snider | 2021StateIN
, a Loyola University (Chicago) signee, transferred in from Northrop, and she gives them a boost in both scoring and rebounding. Freshmen Destini CraigDestiniCraig5'10" | SFFort Wayne Snider | 2024StateIN
and Joh’nea DonahueJoh’neaDonahue5'7" | SGFort Wayne Snider | 2024StateIN
bring a great deal of talent and potential for Panther fans to be excited about as well. They are 3-0 right now, but it doesn’t get any easier with games next weekend against Fort Wayne South Side and Warsaw. I’ve touched on Franklin Community in recent weeks, and they are 4-0 right now with early season wins against Mount Vernon (Fortville) and Columbus North. Having Senior guard Kyra BakerKyraBaker5'5" | PGFranklin Community | 2021StateIN
and Junior wing Kuryn BrunsonKurynBrunson5'9" | SFFranklin Community | 2022StateIN
both back in the fold and healthy absolutely helps. But the additions of Freshmen guards Scarlett KimbrellScarlettKimbrell5'10" | SGFranklin Community | 2024StateIN
and Lauren KlemLaurenKlem5'0" | PGFranklin Community | 2024IN
have also been huge. All four players are averaging double-digits so far this season, and they are lighting up the nets from beyond the arc. Their next big test looks to be December 12, when they travel to Plainfield (5-1) for a conference matchup. I haven’t heard anyone mention Michigan City this year, but they are 5-0 and have gotten superb play from Senior forward Trinity ThompsonTrinityThompson6'0" | PFMichigan City | 2021StateIN
and Senior guard Katelyn HalfacreKatelynHalfacre5'4" | CGMichigan City | 2021StateIN
. Thompson has committed to play at Northern Kentucky University, and she is averaging an impressive 24.2 points and 17.0 rebounds this season. Halfacre is at a robust 18.0 points per game herself. They have already beaten typically strong Plymouth and Portage squads, and they have a big stretch coming up with three of their next five games against conference foes Chesterton, Lake Central, and Merrillville. Roncalli has put together some really nice years in its history, but I feel like lately they have been a bit under the radar because of the number of strong teams in Central Indiana. This Roncalli group is off to a 4-0 start, however, with a big game today against Center Grove. Senior guard Madelyn BischoffMadelynBischoff5'10" | SGRoncalli | 2021StateIN
has been unbelievable so far this season, averaging 25.5 points and 4.5 steals per game. Senior forward Sofie Carr and Sophomore guards Savanna BischoffSavannaBischoff5'8" | SGRoncalli | 2023StateIN
and Sydney HortonSydneyHorton5'7" | CGRoncalli | 2023StateIN
have been solid as well early this season. Their schedule will get tougher quickly, though, as they have Heritage Christian, Ben Davis, and Lawrence North all on the docket in December.