With more than four decades of coaching both genders in basketball at the high school and college levels, Jerry Hoover jokes that he has seen almost everything. That is, until Whitney Jennings came along.
"In three years, I haven't seen anybody who can guard her," Hoover, the Logansport coach, said of his junior standout. "I don't brag on players, but she's worth the price of admission. In Logansport, they don't even cheer her 3-pointers anymore; they just try to figure out how long they were."
Jennings, a 5-5 guard who has committed to Iowa, is part of a star-studded field of teams and individuals for Friday's City Securities Hall of Fame Classic in New Castle. Consider:
The four participating teams -- Logansport (11-0), Evansville Mater Dei (11-0), Hamilton Southeastern (11-0) and Columbus North (12-0) -- are a combined 45-0.
The next three Indianapolis Star Indiana Miss Basketball winners could be playing Friday. Hamilton Southeastern senior Taya Reimer (Notre Dame) is considered a front-runner for this year's honor, while Jennings and Mater Dei's Maura Muensterman will be among the top candidates next year. Columbus North's Ali Patberg is one of the top sophomores in the state.
HSE and Columbus North are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in Class 4A respectively, while Evansville Mater Dei is No. 1 in 2A. Logansport is ranked fourth in 4A.
"I don't think you could have asked for a better situation," said Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame director Chris May, "not only with the teams being undefeated, but with the individuals that are coming in."
Wednesday's snowstorm created some havoc with the schedule. The girls tournament was originally scheduled for today, but was pushed back to Friday. Now the girls and boys tournaments will be played on the same day.
The HSE-Columbus North game is set for 9 a.m., followed by the Mater Dei-Logansport game at 10:45 a.m. The Cathedral boys (3-2) will play Jay County (6-0) at 12:30 p.m., followed by Tech (6-1) and Fort Wayne Northrop (6-1) at 2:15 p.m. The girls consolation (4 p.m.) and championship game (5:45 p.m.) will precede the boys consolation (7:30 p.m.) and championship game (9:15 p.m.).
Hoover is looking forward to seeing Jennings perform on a bigger stage Friday.
"She's just a very unusual talent," Hoover said. "Now that people have started to figure out who she is, we draw big crowds all the time."
The boys basketball Lawrence Central Shootout scheduled for today has been pushed to Saturday. Bowman Academy will play Ben Davis at 10 a.m., followed by Columbus East vs. Lawrence Central at 11:30 a.m., Bowman Academy vs. Lawrence Central at 6 p.m., and Ben Davis vs. Columbus East at 7:30 p.m. . . . North Central's boys and girls basketball tournaments have been pushed back to Friday and Saturday. North Central will play Fishers at 4 p.m. on Friday, followed by East Chicago Central vs. Castle in the boys tourney. The North Central girls will play New Albany at noon, followed by the Springboro (Ohio) girls against Warren Central. The championship and consolation games will be played on Saturday.
Magazine is out
The 43rd annual Hoosier Basketball Magazine, published by Garry Donna, will be available Friday at New Castle for the Hall of Fame Classic. The 312-page publication is a comprehensive look at all of the boys and girls basketball teams in the state, as well as state college teams, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever.