KELSEY Cunningham didn’t go into Sunday’s Hoosier Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Classic intending to win MVP honors.
But after the Columbus North senior’s performance, she was the hands-down choice as the game’s top player.
Cunningham scored a game-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. She also had four rebounds, four assists and five steals in leading the East to an 86-70 win against the West squad at Tecumseh High School.
“I’m always working to get better,” Cunningham said. “I could have made my other shots, but I’m happy with what our team did. We pulled out the win. I had a great time, and it was an awesome opportunity to get to play with those girls.”
The East trailed 43-35 at halftime, but Cunningham scored 12 points after the break to help bring her team back. Some of her assists came on penetration and kick-out passes for 3-pointers.
“It was fun to watch her play,” North coach Pat McKee said. “She was good not only shooting the ball, but defensively and some of the invisible things like getting in the passing lanes. I’m really happy for her.”
Cunningham, who has signed to play at Wisconsin-Milwaukee next season, has another All-Star game on the horizon. She will play in the Hoosiers Reunion game June 6 at Knightstown’s Hoosier Gym.
Bull Dogs seek track titles
When Lawrence Central and Pike left Conference Indiana for the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference at the beginning of the school year, it opened the door for other Conference Indiana schools to win track and field titles.
LC and Pike had won 13 of the 16 boys track titles and 10 of the 16 girls track titles since Conference Indiana was formed in the 1997-98 school year. Columbus North has never won a Conference Indiana boys track title, and its only girls crown came in 2008.
The North girls, who have finished second behind LC the past two years, could be the favorite going into Friday night’s conference meet at Southport. The Bull Dogs are ranked No. 9, while Bloomington South is No. 13 and Bloomington North is No. 20.
“Conference Indiana is a great conference, especially in track and field,” Columbus North coach Lou Sipe said. “We have to come out and compete at a very high level to be in the mix to win the conference,” Sipe said.
Seniors Tessa and Mara Krempel are seeded 1-2 in the discus and 1-3 in the shot put, and senior Mackenzie Caldwell and sophomore Sierra Lax are 1-2 in the 3,200 meters. Senior Gabby Sims is seeded first in the 400, and sophomore Katrina May is tied for first in the pole vault. Junior Debie Gedeon in the 100 hurdles and Caldwell in the 1,600 are seeded second, while junior Olivia Malone is third in the 300 hurdles and the Bull Dogs are third in the 4x800 and 4x400 relays.
On the boys side, senior Chris Sublette and junior Michael Behling are seeded 1-2 in the 300 hurdles, while senior Kamal Maharjan in the discus, Kaden Eaton in the 1,600 and the 4x800 relay team are top seeds. Junior Joe Wright in the 800 and senior Andy Carr in the 3,200 are second seeds, and freshman Mitchell Burton is seeded third in the long jump.
No. 9 Bloomington North is the only ranked boys team in the field.
“We’re going to go in there and try to win it,” Sipe said. “Obviously, we want to place as many as we can, but ultimately, we want to go in and try to win. Bloomington South has a very good program. Bloomington North has a very good program. The teams in Conference Indiana are very, very good, so to come out on top would be great.”
Shakeup at Brown County
Brown County will have new boys and girls basketball coaches next season following the resignations of Roger Fleetwood and Shane Billingsley.
Chuck Hutchins has been named boys basketball coach. Hutchins has spent the past eight years at Attica, where he compiled a 72-98 record.
A graduate of Providence High School and Ball State University, Hutchins was the JV coach at Covington for six years before coming to Attica. At Attica, he worked with current Brown County athletics director Matt Tuggle for a couple of years.
“I know Matt a little bit, and he spoke highly of the position,” Hutchins said. “I came down and got to know the area a little bit, saw the facilities and got excited about what I heard about the program and liked it more and more.”
“I’ve worked with him in the past and know what his skills are, and those are skills we were looking for,” Tuggle said. “He’s very positive with kids, he sees himself as a teacher of the game and is willing to spend countless hours on individual development.”
Hutchins will finish the school year teaching at Attica and begin at Brown County in the fall. He will teach English.
Meanwhile, Tuggle said the girls basketball coaching job will be posted this week.
IHSAA board to meet Monday
The IHSAA Board of Directors will consider 35 rules proposals at is annual meeting on Monday.
The proposal that has received the most attention comes from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. The IBCA is proposing that the four-class system be changed to three classes, with each of the three divided into two sub-classes at the sectional level.
One proposal, brought by Jennings County principal Tim Taylor, calls for the addition of two boys and girls basketball games in a season. Currently, teams are limited to 20 games in a season or 18 games, plus one tournament.
Another interesting proposal calls for the volleyball season to be condensed by a week and end a week earlier. The girls basketball season would then start a week earlier and end a week earlier, meaning the girls state finals would be the Saturday before the boys sectionals begin. Currently, the girls state finals and the boys sectional finals are on the same day.
East adds baseball game
Columbus East has added a baseball game for May 9 at Mooresville. The game will begin at 6 p.m.
Ted Schultz is a sports reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.