COLUMBUS, Ind. – Senior pride salvaged some respect in the Indiana girls’ All-Star basketball scrimmage Wednesday night.
The elder All-Stars rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half and earned a split in the two-game set with the Juniors with a 73-71 victory at Columbus North High School. Miss Basketball Whitney Jennings scored 17 points and Danielle Cuttino hit two late free throws to send the Seniors into the weekend games with Kentucky with some momentum.
That pride was waning with 7:58 left, when Bedford North Lawrence’s Jenna Allen drained a soft jump hook for a 57-47 Junior lead. The Seniors, still stinging from their 82-61 loss in Logansport on Monday, regrouped with a 13-1 run, then made the winning plays in the final two minutes.
“After the Logansport game, we were a little bit upset,” said Indiana University signee Maura Muensterman, who hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with one minute left. “The chemistry was better tonight. There was definitely a lot of pride. I wouldn’t say we were embarrassed, but we knew we had to come out and prove ourselves. We had to come out and get a win.”
Destiny Washington sparked the run that ultimately saved the Seniors. She scooped up a loose ball and scored, then followed her own missed free throw for a bucket. Ana Owens’ 3-pointer put the Seniors on top 60-58, and the teams traded blows in the final minute.
Muensterman’s bomb gave the Seniors a 71-68 lead, but Columbus North’s Ali Patberg answered with a corner three. Cuttino made one free throw for a 72-71 lead with 15.6 seconds left, but the Juniors couldn’t capitalize as Pike’s Lamina Cooper launched an airball from the corner.
Cuttino made another free throw with 5.6 seconds left. The Juniors couldn’t get a shot off before the horn.
“They found a way,” said Senior coach Eric Thornton, who credited two spirited Tuesday practices for the two-day turnaround. “The composure was really good. If the kids don’t go out and turn things around, just compete harder, it’s the same result. Those Juniors are way too good. Fortunately, we don’t have to play them again. They have prepared us well for this weekend.”
Shooting woes plagued the Juniors in the first half. They shot a miserable 8 for 42 (19 percent) against the zone and were fortunate to be within 33-28 at the break.
“That was crazy,” Purdue recruit Dominique McBryde said. “We were settling for too many jump shots and not knocking them down, instead of driving and getting the ball inside.”
The Juniors shook off that bad number and battled back, taking control with a 12-3 spurt midway through the second half. Jordan Hankins’ 3-point play, Alexa Bailey’s 3-pointer and the Allen hook had the Juniors thinking of a historic sweep.
“It wasn’t the outcome we wanted,” Bailey said. “We wanted a clean sweep. We just couldn’t finish it.”
Owens finished with 15 points, Cuttino 12 and Washington 10 for the Seniors.
Pike’s Brittany Ward had 15 points, Patberg added 14 points and Allen had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Juniors.
• Seniors 124, Juniors 102: Park Tudor star Trevon Bluiett exploded for 44 points as the Seniors finished a sweep. The Xavier signee hit 19 of 26 shots and added a game-high 12 rebounds as the Seniors followed their record-setting 140-91 win in Logansport on Monday with another show-stopping performance.
Bluiett, Mr. Basketball runner-up to University of Kentucky signee Trey Lyles, made the most of Lyles absence while recovering from an illness.
“I didn’t think there was anything to prove,” Bluiett said. “I just wanted to come out with my team and get the win. When we’re on, we’re going to be hard to guard as a team. The sky is the limit for our team.”
Indiana University signee James Blackmon Jr. added 28 points for the winners.
“It’s going to take an NBA team to beat them,” said Corydon junior Bronson Kessinger, who had six points. “I was trying not to end up on a poster.”
Columbus North’s Josh Spiedel had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Juniors.
“The Juniors played better tonight,” Senior All-Stars coach David Benter said. “They challenged us, which was good to get us ready for this weekend. Trevon and James were just every special.”
Justin Sokeland can be reached at (502) 582-4059.
JUNIOR BOYS 102 – Harris Brown 6, Davon Dillard 8, Ryan Cline 6, Joel Okafor 7, Jordan Geist 13, Hyron Edwards 12, K.J. Walton 6, Josh Speidel 17, Brennan Gillis 10, Adam Eberhard 0, Gary Bonds 11, Bronson Kessinger 6.
SENIOR BOYS 124 – James Blackmon Jr. 28, Grant Evans 0, Tayler Persons 0, D.J. McCall 1, P.J. Thompson 5, Bryant McIntosh 3, Jeremie Tyler 16, Zach McRoberts 8, Trevon Bluiett 44, Sean Sellers 12, Tyler Wideman 7.
Halftime – Seniors 55-34. 3-point goals – Juniors 9 (Cline 2, Okafor 1, Edwards 2, Speidel 1, Gillis 2, Bonds 1), Seniors 15 (Blackmon Jr. 5, Thompson 1, McIntosh 1, Tyler 2, McRoberts 2, Bluiett 2, Sellers 2).
JUNIOR GIRLS 71 – Victoria Gaines 5, Lamina Cooper 3, Alexa Bailey 3, Kennedy Archer 2, Brittany Ward 15, Jordan Hankins 5, Dominique McBryde 5, Ali Patberg 14, Tori Schickel 6, Stephanie Sherwood 3, Olivia Crozier 0, Jenna Allen 10.
SENIOR GIRLS 73 – Whitney Jennings 17, Maura Muensterman 5, Alex Hochstedler 0, Lauren Whitlatch 2, Sydney Buck 3, Destiny Washington 10, Tayler Goodall 2, Kayla Brown 2, Danielle Cuttino 12, Ana Owens 15, Kindell Fincher 2, Erica Moore 1, Caroline Buhr 2.
Halftime – Seniors 33-28. 3-point goals – Juniors 6 (Cooper 1, Bailey 1, Ward 1, Patberg 2, Sherwood 1), Seniors 4 (Jennings 1, Muensterman 1, Buck 1, Owens 1).