Seniors share the wealth during 94-69 scrimmage victory over Juniors

BROWNSBURG – BNL’s Chloe McKnight attacks the defense during Wednesday’s scrimmage with the Junior All-Stars. McKnight and the Indiana All-Stars smacked the Juniors 94-69.

By Justin Sokeland

BROWNSBURG – The major challenge for any All-Star coach, aside from finding sufficient minutes for 13 talented players on the roster, is melding individuals – especially those who are accustomed to the limelight – into a cohesive unit. Remember, there is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’

Bedford North Lawrence coach Jeff Allen believes his Indiana All-Stars have discarded the glory of the one for success of the whole, and it showed during an impressive 94-69 victory over the Junior All-Stars during the preparation scrimmage on Wednesday night at Brownsburg.

Miss Basketball Jayla Smith scored 16 points while Arizona State recruit Meg Newman added 14 to pace the Seniors to their 10th straight win in the series with their younger counterparts. They hope it’s the perfect springboard into the opening game of the home-and-home series with Kentucky when the annual series renews in Owensboro on Friday.

With five scorers in double figures, with 23 assists on 35 made baskets, the Seniors displayed the kind of teamwork Allen teaches. The wealth was certainly shared. Katie Burton and Michigan-bound Ariana Wiggins totaled 12 points each, and Ally Becki added 11 for the Seniors, who stretched their series lead over the Juniors to 40-10. BNL’s Chloe McKnight didn’t score, missing two shots, but she added 2 rebounds and 1 assist during her 8 1/2 minutes of action.

“Our togetherness was good, our enthusiasm for each other,” Allen said. “All-Star games can be tough if you don’t share the basketball and everyone is self-centered. These kids shared the ball well, and they celebrated each other’s success. When you have skilled kids, that makes you very good.

“They executed some of the stuff we tried to do, and I don’t think we shot the ball that well as a team (41 percent overall). But we played really hard. I was happy with the effort and the way they played with passion.”

BROWNSBURG – North Central star Meg Newman elevates over Homestead’s Ayanna Patterson for a basket. Newman scored 14 points.

The Juniors were competitive for the first 15 minutes. Silver Creek’s Kynidi Striverson scored twice, the latter a fadeaway that gave the Juniors their last lead at 26-25. That’s when Newman went to work in the post, when Becki bolted in transition for two layups and a 3-pointer. The Seniors closed the half with a 9-0 burst to a 43-30 advantage.

“That Junior group is very talented,” Allen said. “They have some big-time players. A lot of things they did were hustle plays. But those two kids (Newman and Becki) are competitors. Meg did a good job on the interior, taking advantage when she had an opening.”

The Seniors opened the second half with another burst, pushing to a 54-35 lead on back-to-back breakaways by Wiggins. The elders put the outcome out of reach, thanks to fatigue and sudden disinterest from the competition, with a 17-2 run to an 81-53 edge. The biggest lead was 33 points.

Kaitlyn Costner, a Ohio State recruit, added 9 points and 7 steals, and Linton’s Vanessa Shafford grabbed 10 rebounds for the Seniors. North Central’s Tanyuel Welch had 11 points and Carmel’s Kate Clarke totaled 10 for the Juniors.

McKnight misfired on two long treys (the first, which rattled out, from near the volleyball line).

“It was a cool experience, playing with all those good players,” McKnight said. “That’s what it will be like in college. We played well as a team, we passed the ball well, and I’m excited for Friday.

“I just should have made that shot.”

The pressure will intensify this weekend when the Hoosiers head south. Indiana leads that series 50-38 since the rivalry started in 1976. The rematch is scheduled for Saturday at Southport.

“I hope we clean some stuff up, and have the same type of energy,” Allen said. “It’s a long bus ride, that’s tough. But I like this group from the standpoint they’re team oriented. They all look to attack individually because they’re outstanding players, but for the most part they’re sharing the ball well. If we do that, I like our chances.”

BROWNSBURG – Heritage Christian star Ariana Wiggins slides between Junior defenders.

In the boys scrimmage, the Seniors had to sweat a little harder than expected before pulling away to a 127-106 victory. The Seniors bolted to a quick 18-5 advantage, threatening a blowout, but the Juniors battled back within 56-55 at the half and owned the lead as late as 63-62 before falling away.

Notre Dame recruit Blake Wisley paced the Seniors with 24 points while Mr. Basketball Caleb Furst and Silver Creek strongman Trey Kaufman (both bound for Purdue) had 22 points each. Leland Walker had 24 points for the Juniors.