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Local stars shine at HBCA all-star games

A short while before mowing his grandmother’s lawn in Palmyra on Sunday, Corydon Central head coach Michael Uhl had his District IV all-stars mowing down the best senior girls from District III in the Hoosier Basketball Coaches Association All-star games at Paoli High School.
New Albany’s Trish Bennett, who has signed with Gardner-Webb, put in 18 points and landed the MVP trophy for her winning effort.
Dana Beaven of Corydon Central, who will play at Bellarmine University next season, notched 12 points on 2-4 shooting from the field and 6-6 at the charity stripe. She also had four steals, two assists and two rebounds. Brownstown’s Kayla Rieckers equaled Beaven’s point-total while Rachel Cannon of North Harrison had nine points on 2-3 shooting and a 5-6 effort from the line, five rebounds and one assist.
New Albany’s Stephanie Lynch, who will play volleyball for the Lady Boilers on Purdue’s dime, scored 10 points, and Stephanie Cox of Springs Valley added nine.
The all-stars from the northern district took an early double-digit lead in the first half thanks to several buckets by Brittany Meyer of Columbus East. By halftime, District IV had pulled to within one, 39-38.
Cannon dropped in a pair of free throws to put her team up by a single point, but District III surged ahead again.
Finally, with Bennett leading a furious charge, the southerners jumped out front and never looked back.
A couple of entertaining moments came when the three players from Harrison County helped each other out: Cannon marked an assist to Beaven, who helped out South Central’s Samantha Troutman with two passes that led to scores.
In the first game of the afternoon, game-MVP Ashley Thombleson of Bloomfield scored 12 points as the District I girls defeated District II, 77-72.
In boys play, North Harrison’s Cory Beach scored five points, had three rebounds and handed out three assists for the District IV squad.
The first boys game saw Terre Haute North’s Dan O’Leary light up the scoreboard for 37 points in his District I team’s 121-116 win over District II.
Bloomington South’s Chris Brand still holds the series record of 40 points in a game.
District IV (87) ‘ Bennett 18, Troutman 4, Beaven 12, Cox 9, Rieckers 12, Thrasher 8, Cannon 9, Hammond 5, Lynch 10, Jackson 1.
District III (68) ‘ Nolan 8, Jones 2, Welsh 7, Kirchner 13, Simpson 7, Meyer 20, Lipperd 11.
3-point goals ‘ Bennett 2, Hammond, Nolan, Kirchner 3, Lipperd.
Cannon signs with IUSB
North Harrison senior Rachel Cannon recently signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball next season at Indiana University-South Bend.
Cannon’s mother Stephani said her daughter’s first contact with the school came in an indirect way.
‘This past summer she played on a team called ‘Top Recruits’ and another player on that team had sent that college a tape,’ Stephani said. ‘They noticed Rachel and started calling her.’
‘They saw me at regional my sophomore year,’ Rachel said. ‘They saw me at Brownstown, too. They sent me something in the mail, then called me and we started talking. I went up there for a visit and really liked it.’
IU-South Bend is an NAIA Division 1 school with an enrollment of over 7,500 students and an average class size of just 15 students. Stephani said the school’s focus on academics was impressive.
‘They really focus on academics,’ she added. ‘She said two times a week they have study groups with the freshmen and every three weeks they check with their professors to make sure they’re on track. One of their seniors graduated with a 3.8 (GPA), one 3.2 and the other one 3.3. That impressed me the most about it.
Mother and daughter enjoyed the campus and both believe IU-South Bend has much promise for the future.
‘The campus is really nice and I liked the coach and the people,’ Rachel said. ‘It’s pretty small but it’s expanding. They said in two years they’re getting dorms and softball and baseball. They’re adding on academically, too.’
‘The school is somewhat comparable to IUS,’ Stephani said. ‘The building the gym is located in is in their student activity center and it’s very nice. They have a nice business center.’
The Lady Titans are coached by Mary Wisniewski who has been at the helm 13 seasons. During the 2004-2005 campaign, IU-South Bend posted a 23-10 record.
‘They said she’ll make a major impact at the onset and they expect high things of her,’ Stephani said. ‘One of the seniors they’ve got is their forward and she was pretty good and a lot of the way she played like Rachel. She was kind of built more like Stephanie Lynch (of New Albany) but she moved a little more like Rachel did.’
North Harrison girls coach Missy Voyles said Cannon should fit it in very well.
‘I haven’t seen their program but I think Rachel would fit into any program,’ said Voyles. ‘She can step into an NAIA school and make an immediate impact. She’ll enjoy it. The smaller schools are typically focused on academics. It’s more fun playing at that level. In division one it’s a job. The higher you go the bigger job it is. I played NAIA and loved it. I had all my free time with my friends but we still played hard and worked hard and practiced a lot. It’s just a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.’
Cannon is undecided on her major but is learning toward the medical and education fields.