At Benton Central, Caitlyn Tolen was asked to score — and she did.
In fact, Tolen scored 1,648 points, more than any Bison player in history.
On an Indiana All-Star roster that includes two of the nation’s top players, Tolen does not have to be the dominant scorer she was during her high school career.
“It’s nice that I can just go out there and play ball,” Tolen said after Monday’s victory over the Indiana Junior All-Stars at Sullivan High School. “There’s other scorers. I can score, too, but just being able to feed because we have so many options is nice.”
Of the 14 Indiana players who will take on Kentucky at Louisville Friday and again at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Saturday, only Winchester’s Jill Morrison had a higher scoring average as a senior.
Tolen went scoreless in 13 minutes in Monday’s exhibition and scored four points to go with four steals and three rebounds in Wednesday’s 95-69 win at Tipton, again playing 13 minutes.
With 6-foot-3 Taya Reimer, a Notre Dame recruit from Hamilton Southeastern who won the Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year award at the McDonald’s All-American game, and 6-4 North Carolina recruit Stephanie Mavunga of Brownsburg, who won Miss Basketball, Tolen has plenty of firepower on her team this week.
With scoring not at a premium, Mooresville and Indiana All-Stars coach Mark Hurt said Tolen provides a different skill set that the roster was in need of.
“She played 13 minutes (at Sullivan) and she didn’t have a turnover,” Hurt said of the former Bison point guard. “We’re going to need a player like that, someone who can take care of the ball, someone who is a good distributor and, if they leave her alone, someone who can shoot the basketball.”
That’s another trait the IUPUI-bound Tolen proved she had during her high school career. Tolen never averaged less than 3.7 assists in four seasons wearing a Benton Central uniform. In 26 combined minutes in this week’s two tune-up games against the Indiana juniors, Tolen turned the ball over once.
“I think my passing helps,” Tolen said when asked what she brought to the team. “I can do the hustle plays. I can score, too, whatever my team needs. If they need rebounds, I can go in there and get boards. If they need assists, then I’ll feed them.”
After leading the Bison to an 81-16 record the last four seasons as a starting point guard, Tolen is dealing with a role change with such a deep roster.
Coming off the bench, she’ll be looked at as an energetic spark plug on top of her defensive and ball handling duties.
“She definitely has that spark that this team needs,” said Hamilton Heights graduate Dakota Weatherford, who led the Huskies over BC in the Class 3A semistate this year. “If we’re down, she subs in, we get it going. She is that extra oomph we need to get it going.”