by Beau Wicker
Logansport’s girls basketball team likely faces its biggest test to date when the Berries travel to Anderson on Saturday.
The Indians enter with a 6-1 record which includes wins over defending Class 4A state champion Indianapolis North Central (67-64) and Class 3A No. 8-ranked Mount Vernon of Fortville (83-75, overtime). The Indians are 2-0 in North Central Conference play with lopsided wins over Muncie Central (82-25) and Richmond (87-52).
“The winner there is really going to have a leg up in the conference,” Logan coach Jerry Hoover said.
The game looks to be an interesting chess match for the coaches. Anderson goes 10-deep and is known for having one of the best fullcourt presses in the state. But Anderson coach Chad Cook thought he might have stuck with the press too long in last year’s 65-51 loss at Logansport.
“They’ve got a good press, but listen, we’ve got people that can break presses,” Hoover said.
But coaches usually like to stick with their team’s strengths. Either way, the Indians look to be an improved team from a year ago.
“No question. They’ve got everybody back,” Hoover said.
Class 4A No. 5 Logansport (9-0, 2-0 NCC) usually goes only seven-deep but has also displayed a very effective press this season. The Berries utilized a 2-3 zone in last year’s win over Anderson.
No matter what defense the Berries have played this season, they’ve been good at it as they’ve held teams to 33 points per game this season, 19th in the state.
At the same time they’re averaging 72.3 ppg, which ranks sixth. Their average margin of plus-39.3 ppg is tops in the state.
Whitney Jennings is averaging 25.7 points, 9.0 assists and 4.9 steals per game to lead the Berries. She is shooting 55.9 percent from the field and is 21 of 40 from 3-point range (52.5 percent).
Rachel Jennings is averaging 17.0 ppg and is 31 of 67 from 3-point land (46.3 percent). Nakeya Penny adds 15.4 ppg and 6.3 rebounds per contest. She is shooting 62.2 percent from the field.
Kiley Victor (4.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Madyson Price (3.7 ppg), Krista Kyyroenen (3.1 ppg) and Seanna Redman (2.6 ppg) are also greatly contributing to the success of the team on both ends of the court.
The Indians are led by Darien Thompson (13.4 ppg), Chelsea Bentley (11.6), Taylor Potts (10.9), Da’Sha Boyd (9.1) and Samia Carter (7.3).
“They have got 10 players that can really play,” Hoover said. “But we’ll show up and we’ve got some players that can play, too. So we’ll just have to see. Anderson is a tough place to play. We haven’t been particularly successful down there. But the girls know what’s at stake. We’re going to show up and do the very best we can.”
The Indians have gotten a boost from Potts, a transfer from Fishers. She is one of two members of the team that is the daughter of a former Indianapolis Colts running back. Her father is Roosevelt Potts, and Bentley’s father is Albert Bentley.
“They’re great athletes,” Hoover said. “They’re their two big people. They’re tough.”
The Indians’ lone loss was at Class 4A No. 7 Lawrence North (74-50) their second game of the season. Lawrence North is ranked No. 1 in the Sagarin Ratings, where the Berries are ranked just 28 due to strength of schedule despite playing against teams with a strong tradition in girls basketball. Anderson is ranked 20th in the Sagarin’s.
Regardless of rankings, which Hoover doesn’t put any emphasis in, the Logan-Anderson matchup is a great one for high school basketball fans. Hoover is hoping some Logan fans make the 1-hour, 50-minute drive to Anderson High School for the 1:30 p.m. matinée on Saturday.
“It’ll be worth it,” he said. “They’ve got a good team, we’ve got a good team. They’ve got Division-I players, we’ve got Division-I players. They run, we run. It’ll be a good game.”