If the condensed summer basketball season is an indication of what might happen next winter, good things could be in store for the Columbus North and Columbus East girls.
The Bull Dogs and Olympians both had big months of June, when IHSAA rules allow coaches to hold practices and schedule games. North’s varsity, its “Gold” team, went 10-1, and East’s varsity went 18-8.
“We really like this team and the way we all came together toward the end,” East coach Danny Brown said. “It’s going to be an exciting season.”
North’s lone loss came against a Homestead team that went 23-2 last season. The Bull Dogs trailed 19-4 midway through the first quarter, cut the lead to five with five minutes left and ended up falling 63-53.
“That’s the beauty of summer games,” North coach Pat McKee said. “They don’t really count. They’re learning opportunities.”
North, which didn’t play in a league this summer because of the late ending of its school year, went 5-0 in the Indiana State Team Shootout.
“I feel good about how the kids played,” McKee said. “They worked hard. We had a compressed time to play, and they accomplished a lot of things.”
North’s Silver team, which consisted of potential varsity players, went 7-4 against mostly varsity and some JV competition. The Bronze team, made up of incoming freshmen, went 5-6 against mostly JV squads and a couple of freshmen-level teams.
The Gold team featured returning starters in Ali Patberg and Debie Gedeon, who will be seniors, and incoming junior Paige Littrell, along with returning letter winners in sophomores Imani Guy and Maliah Howard-Bass, juniors Elle Williams and Emily Kim and seniors Sheyanne Street and Sydney Patberg. Senior Hannah Poindexter missed the summer season with an injury.
Sophomore Karli Reynolds and freshman Kat Norman played a couple of Gold games, and freshman Liz Tynan played a couple of games when the Silver was equivalent to the Gold. Freshmen Kenzie Patberg, Kelsey Patberg and Jenna Borger saw some action with the Silver.
“I saw lots of good things from our kids on all three teams,” McKee said. “Probably the biggest thing that needs attention is free-throw shooting. We ran the floor pretty well, made a lot of good reads, hustled and experimented with some new things defensively.
“If we stay healthy and work hard and do what we’re supposed to, we’ll be a good team,” he said.
East, meanwhile, went 8-4 in the Lady Mac League and 4-0 in the Hanover Tournament. Six of the Olympians’ eight losses were by five points or fewer.
“We competed every game,” Brown said.
East’s JV team went 20-2, with the losses by one and three points.
The Olympians varsity
featured returning full-time starter Audrey Wetzel, who will be a junior, and part-time starters in seniors Brooke Ballard and Megan Galle and sophomore Gracie Hatton, along with returning letter winners in junior Bryn Eudy and senior Abigail Wilson.
The other six varsity players were incoming freshmen. Britney Ballard and Kristen Lyons played with the varsity the entire month, while Addy Galarno, Riley Meade, Esta Morrison and Kendal Williams also saw varsity action.
“We got some good experience for the young kids,” Brown said. “Our varsity team gelled pretty good with the mixture of the youth and the experience.
“I really like the chemistry of this team,” he said. “I like the attitude of this team. This team has worked harder than any team I’ve had in a long time, as far as the summer goes. I’m looking forward to coaching them again in August.”
Varsity assistant Willie Humes guided the East squad for much of the summer while Brown was ill. Humes was the Olympians’ varsity assistant the first eight of Brown’s 11 years at East before spending the past three as the head coach at Madison.
“It’s very exciting to all of us that coach Humes is back with us since he had three very successful seasons at Madison,” Brown said. “When we had an opening, there was no doubt who I was going after.”