The featured image is of (2025) of South Bend’s Washington High School.
The IHSAA recently released updated enrollment numbers and Sectional assignments for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 girls’ basketball seasons. As we enter the middle of June and school teams are in full swing with open gyms, shootouts, and local league games, I wanted to have a little fun and spend some time on a way too early look at potentially the top five teams in each enrollment classification, as it relates to the 2022-2023 season. A lot of this is more dependent on returnees than newcomers, but here is a look at how I think Class 4A could stack up once the high school season rolls around in November.
1. Noblesville (25-4 in 2021-2022)
The Lady Millers are the defending Class 4A State Champs, they have three of the top guards in the state, regardless of class, and they didn’t roster a Senior a season ago. Because of their incredible guard depth and talent, they have the ability to play a variety of different ways, control tempo, and find weaknesses in each opponent. 5-10 Senior guard (20.9p, 8.3r, 4.1a, 3.7s) leads the way for Noblesville, and the University of Connecticut commit has remained our top 2023 since we first ranked the class three Summers ago. She is tough, strong, athletic, and she can score the ball consistently from all three levels. 5-9 Sophomore guard (9.5p, 6.2r, 2.3a, 2.6s) has been impressive all Spring, playing in the 17U division. She is another tough-nosed athlete, plus she has nice length, fluidity, and the skill to play either guard spot equally well. 5-7 Junior point guard (10.0p, 3.2r, 4.4a, 2.3s) is yet another guard with Division-I offers in hand, and she is the energy-giver every coach dreams of. She can shoot/score it from all over, but it’s her ability to take care of the ball and defend the ball that stand out. 5-4 Senior guard (9.1p, 2.2r) is somewhat overlooked at times because of the talent the trio above possess, but Kaitlyn can play too. She is scrappy, feisty, quick/fast, and she can shoot it with deep range. She hurts teams who help off of her. 5-9 Junior forward (5.0p, 2.6r), Kaitlyn’s younger sister, is another high-motor player who chases down rebounds, plays bigger than she is, but can also score it from all over the floor. 5-11 Senior power forward (3.4p, 3.8r) and 6-4 Senior post (3.1p, 3.2r) offer the Millers some sizeable options when they need to match up with bigger opponents. Mendez is a strong, physical hard-worker who is a nice defender/rebounder, while Smitherman has improved each year, plus she brings nice length and a shot-altering presence in the paint.
2. South Bend Washington (27-3)
South Bend Washington has moved to Class 4A, following two consecutive appearances in the Class 3A title game, and a 2022 Class 3A State Championship. The Lady Panthers will need to replace the production of graduates Mila Reynolds (21.5p, 8.1r), Shamarah Allen (5.7p, 3.2r), and Lauren Gillon (2.5p, 2.5r), but they still have plenty of talent in reserve. The oldest Reynolds sister was a 2022 Indiana All-Star and is headed to the University of Maryland this Fall. What remains are Seniors and Sophomores. 5-7 Senior point guard (11.6p, 4.2r, 3.8a, 3.2s) will likely see a major increase in scoring this season, as she’s the likely candidate to see a significant increase in shots. She is extremely athletic, a creative offensive player, plus one of the best on-ball defenders in the state. 6-0 Senior point guard (9.2p, 5.2r, 4.9a, 2.8s) also has the potential to score it a lot more, though she has sacrificed her scoring to facilitate and make the offense go. She is long, fluid, and smooth, and she has really nice upside, but it will be key for her to maintain her health throughout the season. Jones is already committed to Purdue University, while the middle Reynolds is another University of Maryland commit. From there, four Sophomores stand out. 6-3 Sophomore front-liner (10.2p, 10.0r, 2.2a, 4.7b) had a nice rookie season, patrolling the paint and cleaning up the glass. I’d expect those numbers to jump in year-two, especially with sister Mila off to college. 5-11 Sophomore forward (5.6p, 4.4r) and 6-0 Sophomore front-liner Jamiyah Parahams will help the younger Reynolds in the frontcourt. Mitchell is a talented athlete who plays with tremendous energy. 5-7 Sophomore guard (6.5p, 2.7r, 3.3s) will be the x-factor, as she showed flashes of brilliance last year, and she brings both the ability to score and defend at a high level.
3. Fishers (20-5)
Fishers, like Noblesville (above), did not roster a Senior last season, and they have given the Millers fits over the last couple of years because of their ability to match up in the backcourt. That all starts with the Senior sister duo of (10.4p, 6.3r, 2.8a) and (9.4p, 5.1r). The twin guards are strong, tough-nosed, athletic, end-to-end on-ball defenders who can disrupt a game defensively as well as any pair of guards in the state right now. At the same time, they are tremendous downhill scorers who constantly get to the rim and/or the free throw line. They have been strong all Spring and should only continue that play during the 2022-2023 season. If that isn’t enough, Junior guards (8.7p) and (5.7p, 4.2r), plus Senior guard (6.4p), all have significant experience, skill, and ability. The younger Smith can both shoot/score and create for others, Harris is a more natural point guard who has figured out how to contribute at both ends of the floor, and Scott is another tough-nosed, athletic, two-way player as well. They all feed off of the twins and make several plays off the ball. 5-11 Senior forward (6.0p, 5.2r) moved in from Illinois last year, and she is a long, bouncy, versatile forward who can defend multiple positions, plus she’s an effective rebounder at both ends of the floor. 6-0 Junior power forward (3.5p, 3.8r) is a high-motor, dive-on-the-floor, do-everything hustler who will come up with all of the loose balls and rebounds no one else can get to. She is always on the floor, but for good reason. 5-11 Sophomore forward (4.2p) and 5-11 Junior wing (3.2p) also saw significant time last season and look to improve their opportunity this time around. Carter is an athletic, bouncy, and active inside-out scorer, while Roberts is a long, point forward type who can shoot it as well. Look for Sophomores , a guard, and , a power forward, to potentially find a role this time around, as both have been strong all Spring.
4. Zionsville (16-7)
Zionsville is kind of that sneaky good team who no one talks a lot about, but they knocked off Noblesville late last year in the regular season, showing people they have that potential. They only played two Seniors a year ago, but those two only accounted for about 2.5 points per game. Their top six scorers all return, led by 6-1 Senior forward (20.3p, 9.6r, 2.3a, 2.3s). Hull is a tremendous athlete, and she has worked incredibly hard on her skillset over the years. She can play inside and dominate the mid-post, but she can also handle it a little and knock down the occasional open jumper outside. Look for her to continue her dominance in the Eagle lineup. The Junior backcourt of 5-10 guard (11.6p, 2.6r, 3.0a), 5-7 wing (9.3p, 2.3r), and 5-4 point guard (6.5p, 3.3r, 2.3a) all return for their third year of action, and each brings something a little different. Caldwell is a long, smooth, skillful guard who can really shoot it, but she can also pass the ball at a high level, and she plays with a creative instinct for the game. Haan is a tough-nosed, high-motor, run-through-walls type of kid who has greatly improved her jumper. I’d expect her to make somewhat of a jump statistically this year. Leedy is another tough-nosed, strong, and physical lead guard. She sees the floor well, can knock down an open shot, but it’s her ability to bring physicality to a position which tends to lack it that stands out. She can absolutely frustrate opponents that way. 6-0 Senior front-liner (4.7p, 4.2r) is another skillful, high IQ ballplayer who does a lot of the little things to help her team. She can knock down shots at each level, but she’s also physical and plays with a nice motor. The “twin tower” tandem of Junior forwards (4.1p, 2.8r) and (2.0r) add to the Eagles’ frontline depth, as both are capable of affecting the game around the paint, plus both can knock down shots to the perimeter and stretch defenses.
5. Lake Central (24-4)
Lake Central is talented, and they have a number of really nice 2024 and 2025 prospects spread throughout their roster. But a 24-4 season in 2021-2022, with wins against Penn and Valparaiso, plus an overtime loss against Crown Point, and a single-digit loss to South Bend Washington, indicate they are probably a little ahead of schedule and on the rise as a top program in the state. They aren’t very big, but they play much more physical than you’d expect, and they are athletic from top to bottom. 5-9 Junior wing (14.0p, 5.0r, 2.2s) is the leading returning scorer. She is long, bouncy, and quick/fast, plus she plays much bigger than she is. 5-7 sharpshooting Junior (11.0p, 2.9r) can bury shots from range with limited space. If need be, she also has a nice handle and can slide over to take on point guard duties as well. 5-5 Sophomore point guard (8.5p, 3.5r, 3.4a, 3.3s) did a nice job in the primary ball-handler role, until a late-season injury cancelled her Spring grassroots season. She is extremely quick/fast, highly skilled, and she plays much bigger than she is. 5-11 Sophomore forward (6.4p, 3.8r) is another one of those players who outworks her matchup with her energy and effort. She can shoot it around the arc, but she’s great in the mid-post, and she’ll hit the boards hard as well. 5-8 Junior forward (4.5p, 2.0a) played the sixth person role a season ago, but she might be asked to slide into the starting lineup this time around due to the graduation of Essence Johnson (4.8p, 5.0r, 2.2a, 2.0s). Clayton is a hard-working, tough-nosed defender who can make plays offensively off the bounce. The Lady Indians’ Junior Varsity was talented as well, and depth can come from a variety of options. But make no mistake, they will be a Sectional favorite who can give South Bend Washington a run for their money come Regional time.
OTHERS TO CONSIDER: Bedford North Lawrence (24-3), Ben Davis (15-10), Carmel (15-8), Columbia City (20-3), East Central (22-5), Fort Wayne Northrop (15-8), Fort Wayne Snider (20-4), Hamilton Southeastern (14-8), Homestead (23-2), Lawrence Central (12-11), Penn (19-7)