FISHERS — Curt Benge has seen plenty of talented players in his 22 seasons as the girls basketball coach at Plainfield. Thursday, Benge got a chance to see up close one of the best freshmen in the state.
Hamilton Southeastern’s Sydney Parrish scored a career-high 33 points to lead the Class 4A No. 5 host Royals to a 58-49 win over the Quakers.
“She’s got an upside to her, that’s the scary thing,” Benge said. “Some people come in maxed out as freshmen. This kid isn’t maxed out. I had a front row seat for a pretty good show she put on tonight. And it’s not like we were just letting her do it. With the kids we had guarding her and the things we were doing, that was an impressive game by her.”
Parrish showed command of the offense from the outset, contributing directly to the Royals’ first eight baskets in a variety of ways: an entry pass to Tayah Irvin for a 2-0 lead; a jumper from just inside the circle for HSE’s second bucket; another assist in the post – this one to Amaya Hamilton; scoring a layup on a feed from Molly Walton for an 8-3 lead; another jumper inside the arc that made it 10-8; a basket and made free throw on the foul for a 13-10 lead; an assist to Hamilton for a 15-10 lead; and a pair of free throws to make it 17-13. The Royals led 19-15 after one.
“She handles the ball well; she sees the court so well and shoots the ball well,” said Hamilton Southeastern coach Chris Huppenthal. “Her teammates have done a really good job of recognizing her strengths. A lot of times, when a freshman comes in, there can be a lot of animosity and jealousy. There’s not with this team, because they realize she’s a pretty special player.”
With senior guard Bre Lloyd (14.5 points per game) sitting out with a shoulder injury and Parrish getting a breather to start the second, sophomore guard Malea Jackson stepped up for Hamilton Southeastern (13-2) with 7 of her 10 points coming in the quarter to help the Royals to a 32-27 halftime lead.
Plainfield senior Kayla Casteel kept the Quakers close, with 14 of her team-high 22 points coming in the first half. The Evansville commit hit five 3-pointers for Plainfield (12-3).
Parrish (16.1 ppg), though, was unstoppable in the second half with 20 points. The 6-1 wing – whose father, Shawn played for the 1990 Ball State team that reached the Sweet 16 and was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 – added five blocks, four rebounds and three assists.
“I had lot of confidence going into the first game,” Parrish said. “I’ve just had to get comfortable with the team. It was hard at first but I started to get used to it and trust my teammates more.”
Plainfield’s Riley Blackwell, the team’s leading scorer at 15.6 points per game, left the game late with an apparent knee injury. Benge said he was uncertain of its extent. The senior forward finished with 10 points for Plainfield.