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Tourney time hoops test for local teams

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It’s from one big event to another for the Columbus North girls basketball team, and this time, it’s as big as it gets during the regular season.

Five days after wrapping up a title in the inaugural Subway/Columbus North Invitational, the Class 4A No. 2 Bull Dogs will play in possibly the best girls Hall of Fame Tournament in the event’s history. The four teams are a combined 45-0.

North (12-0) will play Class 4A No. 1 Hamilton Southeastern (11-0) in the semifinals at 11 a.m. today at New Castle High School. Class 4A No. 4 Logansport (11-0) will meet Class 2A No. 1 Evansville Mater Dei (11-0) at 1 p.m.

The consolation game will be at 6 p.m., and the championship game will be at 8 p.m.

“It’s a great honor that we were selected for the Hall of Fame,” North coach Pat McKee said. “I hope that we can play well and live up to the standard of play that they’ve had in their event over the years.”

Hamilton Southeastern features Miss Basketball favorite and Notre Dame recruit Taya Reimer, a 6-foot-4 forward. The Royals also have 6-2 post player Jessica Pongonis, a St. Joseph’s (Pa.) recruit.

“They’re very, very talented, and we hope we can do some things to be effective,” McKee said. “The second game, it doesn’t matter who you play there, they’re very, very strong teams. You’ll have to play well to have a chance to win.”

Logansport has an Iowa recruit in junior Whitney Jennings. Mater Dei is led by junior Maura Munsterman, who also is being heavily recruited.

Sophomore Ali Patberg (18.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.1 bpg) and junior Tayler Goodall (13.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.9 spg) lead the Bull Dogs. Junior Kelsey Cunningham adds 8.3 points.

Olympians playing without star

The Columbus East girls basketball team thought it was going to get a shot in the arm in an attempt to snap a three-game losing streak, but it turns out junior standout Allyson Bunch won’t be available.

Bunch, who tore an ACL this summer, was cleared last week to begin practicing. But she won’t have the required six practices in before the Rumble on the River Tournament begins Friday at Southwestern (Hanover).

The Olympians (5-4) will face McCutcheon (2-7) at 2 p.m. Friday. Scottsburg (7-1) and Connersville (6-4) will play in the 10 a.m. opener, Mitchell (7-2) will meet Southwestern (3-8) at noon, and Silver Creek (8-2) will face Fishers (7-3) at 4 p.m.

The first-round losers will play at 6 and 8 p.m. Friday, and first-round winners will play at 10 a.m. and noon Saturday. The seventh-place game will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by the fifth-place game at 4 p.m., the third-place game at 6 p.m. and the championship at 8 p.m.

“The thing I like about it, there are good teams from each of the classes,” East coach Danny Brown said. “They’re all pretty good teams.”

The Olympians lost to Fishers in the championship game of last year’s tournament.

“Scottsburg is pretty good, and Fishers is pretty good again,” Brown said. “They’d probably be the favorite going in.”

East is led by senior Mikala Lomax (12.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and freshman Audrey Wetzel (10.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg). Other leaders are juniors Courtney Hunter (3.3 assists), Molly Macy (3.6 steals) and Sarah Loesch (1.7 blocks).

Bull Dogs look to repeat

The highlight of the North boys basketball season last year came when it won three games in four days to capture Richmond’s 16-team Bob Wettig Tournament.

The Bull Dogs will attempt to duplicate that effort beginning today at Richmond High School. North (5-1) will meet Louisville Moore (9-4) at 4 p.m. in the opening round.

“The last couple days, the coaching staff really wanted to remind the kids how tough it was to win that tournament,” North coach Jason Speer said. “For us to go back up there and have a good showing will be very important for our season.”

The Bull Dogs will play either 2A No. 2 Tipton (6-0) or Connersville (4-3) on Friday. The losers will meet at noon, and the winners will play at 7 p.m.

Jennings County (5-2) will play Rock Creek Academy (4-4) in today’s 9 a.m. opener and will face either Portage (4-3) or 3A No. 7 Guerin Catholic (7-1) on Friday. The losers will meet at 9 a.m., and the winners will play at 4 p.m.

Action continues with championship and consolation rounds Saturday at Richmond High School and Earlham College.

North has four players averaging between 13 and 14 points. Junior Evan Henry and sophomore Josh Speidel each average 14.0 points, while senior Sawyer Glick adds 13.3 points, 2.3 assists and 2.8 steals, and senior Tori Jackson averages 13.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocks.

East faces tough task

The East boys will play two games Saturday in the Lawrence Central Shootout. The games were scheduled for today, but were postponed until Saturday because of the weather.

The Olympians (4-1) will face Lawrence Central (1-4) at 11:30 a.m. and Ben Davis (6-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We know they’re two very quality opponents,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “Ben Davis is a very quality team. They’re both very good. They have good size. They both have good athleticism. It will be a good challenge for our kids as we strive to get better.”

Junior Bryce Lienhoop leads the Olympians with 13.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. Senior Zach Martindale averages 12.0 points, while senior Ridge Harris adds 11.2 points and 1.8 steals. Senior Kyle Taylor averages 5.0 assists.

Other tournaments

The Hauser and Brown County girls will play in the Toby Yoho Classic at Eastern Greene today and Friday. The Jets will face Eastern Greene at 9:30 a.m. today at Eastern Greene High School and Forest Park at 1 p.m. at the middle school. The Eagles will play Clay City at 9:30 a.m. and Paoli at 4:30 p.m., both at the middle school. Teams will play two games again on Friday, based on their pool placements.

The Columbus Christian boys will play in the Cannelton Invitational Friday and Saturday. The Trinity Lutheran boys will play in the Springs Valley Tournament Friday and Saturday. The Seymour boys will play in the Eminence Hoilday Hoops Classic beginning at noon Saturday.

The Seymour girls will play in the Bedford North Lawrence Holiday Tourney on Friday and Saturday.

Ted Schultz is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at

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