North trio part of Indiana basketball showcase

BLOOMINGTON — For three Columbus North girls, Tuesday night’s Indiana Junior-Senior All-Star exhibition likely wasn’t among their finest moments of basketball.

But the experience that Maliah Howard-Bass, Imani Guy and Ashlyn Huffman enjoyed as part of the Junior All-Star team won’t soon be forgotten.

“It was fun on the court, but it was also a lot of fun off the court just getting to know a bunch of the girls,” Huffman said following the Juniors’ 111-79 loss to the Seniors at Bloomington South.

Howard-Bass had a frustrating night. She went 1 of 11 from the field, including 0 of 5 from 3-point range, and 2 of 2 from the foul line to finish with four points.

Howard-Bass did have four rebounds and an assist and led the Juniors with three steals in 21 minutes of action.

“In warmups, everything was going well, but then in the game, nothing was falling, so I just found other ways to contribute to the team,” Howard-Bass said. “Hopefully, Thursday goes a lot better.”

Thursday, Howard-Bass and the rest of the Core Six Juniors will join the North Six Juniors for an exhibition against the Seniors at Lebanon. Guy and Huffman were part of the South Six Juniors that joined the Core Six on Tuesday.

Guy took only one shot, but she made it count, scoring on a putback. Besides that rebound, she also had an assist and a steal in 11 minutes.

“I wasn’t expecting to score a lot, but that basket was nice,” Guy said. “It was fun playing against that type of competition, that type of talent, from all over Indiana. I think we kept our composure.”

Huffman finished with two assists in 10 minutes.

Like Guy, Huffman took only one shot from the field. Her 3-point attempt late in the game went in and out.

“I really thought it was in,” Huffman said. “It was a nice kick (pass) from my teammate. I wish I would have gotten it.”

Karissa McLaughlin of Homestead led the Juniors with 19 points, while Madison Wise of Greenfield-Central added 16. Miss Basketball Jackie Young of Princeton led the Seniors with 26.

The Seniors built a 66-41 halftime lead but outscored the Juniors by only seven in the second half.

“I think we picked it up defensively, and offensively, we started moving the ball around a little more,” Huffman said.

Huffman, who tore her meniscus late in the high school season, returned to the court May 18. She played in a few travel-team games with her SkyDiggs Elite squad, of which Guy also is a part.

Howard-Bass is playing for the Indy Gym Rats this spring and summer. She’s looking to redeem herself with the Junior All-Stars on Thursday.

“I’m honored to be on the core team, but I felt like I didn’t do my best to prove that I was supposed to be on the core team,” Howard-Bass said. “I didn’t do as well as I hoped, but I still have Thursday.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.