New Castle Fieldhouse will be the place to be Friday and Saturday for high school basketball fans.
At 12:30 p.m. Friday, the Pike High School girls make their first appearance in the City Securities Hall of Fame Classic. The Red Devils (8-4) are led by 6-1 junior Brittany Ward, who averages a team-high 18 points per game. Tyana Robinson, a 5-9 sophomore, averages 14 points a game.
Pike plays defending Class 4A champion Bedford North Lawrence. The top-ranked Stars (9-0), coached by former BNL legend Damon Bailey, return five starters from a team that was 28-0 last season. The Stars are led by 6-2 junior Dominique McBryde (Purdue) and 6-3 junior center Jenna Allen (Indiana), both of whom are averaging 16 points a game.
The 11 a.m. girls game will match Rushville (7-1) against Homestead (9-0). Rushville returns four starters from a team that finished 22-4 last season and won a Class 3A regional title. Homestead is led by 5-8 senior guard Sydney Buck, a Butler recruit who is averaging 21.9 points a game. Homestead junior Grace German is the great-granddaughter of former Indiana coach Branch McCracken.
The consolation game is set for 6 p.m., with the championship to follow.
In the boys event Saturday, Class 3A defending champion Greensburg (7-0) will play Mt. Vernon (2-4) at 11 a.m. Top-ranked Greensburg is led by 6-6 senior Sean Sellers (Ball State) and 6-3 senior Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern). Mt. Vernon guard C.J. Coleman (UNC-Greensboro) missed the first five games due to a violation of school policy. Coleman averaged nearly 20 points a game last season and was named an IndyStar Junior All-Star.
Columbus North (4-1) will meet Evansville Harrison (3-2) in the second game. Columbus North is led by 6-2 senior Evan Henry (18 ppg), 6-7 junior Josh Speidel (16 ppg, 10 rebounds) and 6-8 senior and St. Louis recruit Elliott Welmer. Evansville Harrison is led by Vermont recruit Ernie Duncan, a 6-3 senior guard, and his younger brothers, juniors Stanley and Everett Duncan.
The boys consolation will be played at 6 p.m. Saturday, followed by the championship game. All eight games will be broadcast on tape delay by WHMB-40.
K.J. Walton, a 6-3 junior guard, has helped key a 6-1 start for Class 4A fifth-ranked Brownsburg. Walton, who is averaging 18.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 steals, was watched by Indiana coach Tom Crean on Saturday and is planning to attend IU’s home game against Michigan State on Jan. 4.
Walton has offers from Illinois State and Xavier and is being recruiting by a number of other programs, including Butler, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State and Purdue.
“He’s been a sponge in terms of doing everything we’ve asked him to do,” Brownsburg coach Steve Lynch said. “He can attack and score, but also attack and create an opportunity for a teammate. He’s really elevated his game defensively. It’s a pleasure to coach a group that wants to get down and work defensively and share the ball the way they have.”
Allison Nash, a 5-9 senior guard, has become Speedway’s all-time leading scorer in girls basketball. Nash, who led the Sparkplugs to their first sectional championship last year since 1985, is averaging more than 22 points a game. … The Tech boys have added a home game against prep school power La Lumiere, from LaPorte, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tech is ranked No. 17 in the latest USA Today poll and La Lumiere is ranked No. 20. Former Cathedral standout Jalen Coleman is a junior for La Lumiere. Auburn signee Sam Logwood, formerly of Lawrence North, is a senior on the team.