by Beau Wicker
Logansport’s Whitney Jennings impressed in her debut for the Indiana Junior All-Star team.
Jennings scored a game-high 23 points to lead Indiana to a 79-67 win over Kentucky Friday at Greenfield-Central High School.
“I had a blast out there,” Jenning said. “It was so much fun just playing with everyone. A lot of the girls I knew coming into it, and the last couple days we’ve just gotten to know each other more. It was just so much fun out there playing with them.”
Indiana and Kentucky will play again at 5 p.m. today at St. Xavier High School in Louisville.
Jennings scored 17 of her 23 points in the first half to help Indiana jump out to a 47-37 halftime lead.
“On any team I play on I always try to take a leadership role and I tried to do the same thing out there today,” Jennings said.
Jennings made the first basket of the game — a 3-pointer from the left wing — and followed that with a stop-and-pop jumper from the left elbow to give Indiana a quick 5-0 lead.
She then led a quick 5-0 surge right before the half. She buried a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key with 9 seconds to go, then recorded a steal, was fouled and sank two free throws with 2.9 seconds left for a 10-point margin at intermission.
“I think we picked up our defense, our intensity and that towards the end we got that 10-point lead at halftime and we just built on that in the second half,” Jennings said.
Kentucky made a brief comeback early in the second half, but Indiana responded with a burst capped by a 3-pointer by Warsaw’s Nikki Grose for a 62-47 edge. The Bluegrass girls rallied one last time to cut its deficit to 66-56, but Jennings and Evansville Mater Dei’s Maura Muensterman countered with consecutive layups and the outcome never was in doubt from there.
Jennings added four steals and one assist for Indiana. She scored 23 points in about 23 minutes of playing time.
“I think Whitney did a great job,” Indiana coach Michelle Harter of Warsaw said. “She came out, she looked to attack the basket when she had the opportunity. She had her open shots, she looked to take those. And she does such a great job of getting her teammates involved. Defensively we came out with our press and she got a couple quick picks there with her quick hands and looked to take the ball to the basket.”
Kellie Kirkhoff of Roncalli scored 15 of her 17 points in the first half for Indiana. Maura Muensterman scored all eight of her points in the second half. Gross added eight points in the contest as well. Tayler Goodall of Columbus North contributed nine rebounds, five assists and three steals to go along with two points.
Eriel McKee of Anderson County scored 14 points and Ivy Brown of LaRue tallied 10 points to pace Kentucky.
In the boys game, James Blackmon Jr. drilled a huge 3-point shot in overtime to lead Indiana to a 108-102 victory.
Blackmon, a 6-2 guard who will play at Marion as a senior, poured in a game-high 27 points and Trevon Bluiett of Park Tudor chipped in 17 points.