January 14, 2014

Tough stretch for Berries

Logan girls host Class 3A No. 4 Benton Central tonight

By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune

---- — Logansport’s girls basketball team is facing another tough stretch of the season starting tonight when the Class 4A No. 8 Berries host Class 3A No. 4 Benton Central.

The Bison (12-1) are the third ranked Class 3A opponent the Berries (12-1) have faced in the last three weeks. The Berries defeated Western and Western Boone at the Twin Lakes Holiday Tournament.

Benton Central has won Lafayette J&C Hoops Classic and Zionsville Holiday Tournament titles this season. The Bison enter on a seven-game winning streak. Their lone loss was at Class 2A No. 5 Tipton back on Dec. 7.

“They’re good. They’ve been good. They have a good program, they have a good coach,” Logansport coach Jerry Hoover said. “They’ve got at least one Division I player, so they’re good. And we’ve had trouble with them. They’ve beat us more times than we’ve beat them. But having said that, we’ve got a couple Division I players, too, and we’ve got a good team so it ought to be a dickens of a game. I worry about us being out of shape a little bit because we didn’t practice a bit last week.”

Last week’s blizzard and polar freeze may have cancelled school and practice, but it could not keep Logan star guard Whitney Jennings away from the gym.

“I went to the Y several times,” she said. “It definitely hurt us not being able to practice last week at all. But we didn’t get a break at all since we had so many games over Christmas break, so I guess you can consider that a little break. Hoover talks about sometimes you can get mentally tired during the year, so hopefully that little break has everyone back and ready to go at it.”

Before last week’s downtime, the Berries played six games during their Christmas break. They had wins over Anderson, Evansville Memorial, Western, Western Boone and Lafayette Central Catholic during that time. Their lone loss was to Class 4A Gary West on New Year’s Day, which was their fourth game in six days. They didn’t start or finish particularly well that game and lost 52-51 on a last-second 3-pointer.

The Berries’ tough stretch this week includes a game at Marion Friday that will showcase Jennings’ Berries’ squad in the 6 p.m. girls game followed by the Logan boys taking on James Blackmon Jr.’s Marion Giants team at 7:30.

The Lady Berries will then have a quick turnaround as they travel to Carmel for a 1:30 p.m. varsity tip on Saturday.

The Lady Berries travel to Richmond a week from Friday. The Berries’ senior night is Jan. 28 against Twin Lakes. The game at Huntington North that was postponed last Saturday has been moved to Feb. 1 with a 1:30 p.m. varsity start.

Jennings is averaging 35.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 5.8 steals per game this season. She is shooting 51 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the foul line.

Nakeya Penny is averaging 18.2 ppg and 5.9 rpg. Madison Dalton is scoring 5.7 ppg. Sydney Bullard adds 4.5 ppg and 5.3 rpg.

The Bison are led by 6-2 sophomore Kaylan Coffman, who averages 18.1 ppg and 8.2 rpg. Evonnie Payne adds 6.8 rpg, and Tessa Brouillette adds 3.2 apg.

Madison Tolen, the younger sister of last year’s Indiana All-Star from Benton Central, Caitlyn Tolen, now at IUPUI, has made 15 of 50 3-pointers on the season and adds 2.6 spg.

The last time they played in the Berry Bowl, the Bison handed the Berries a 57-41 defeat two years ago. The Berries won at Benton Central 56-40 last season when the Bison entered ranked No. 1 in Class 3A.