HUTTON: Northwest Indiana’s bevy of basketball talent on display and worth the trip
By Mike Hutton firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @MikeHuttonPT June 9, 2014 11:16PM
East Chicago's Hyron Edwards shoots against West Side during the East Chicago boys basketball sectional held at East Chicago High School on Wednesday March 5, 2014. | Charles Mitchell/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 11, 2014 6:24AM
LOGANSPORT — Mapquest says it’s 75.2 miles from my house in Valparaiso to 1 Berry Lane, Logansport, Indiana.
East on Route 30, cut over on 35 for an unbearably long time, take a left on South 18th Street, go right on Jefferson Street, zig-zag through town, past the Eel River and some old boarded up industrial buildings before curling into a subdivision.
Logansport High School, home of the Berries, is on your left, a sprawling maze of buildings. The gym wasn’t full for the Indiana Junior-Senior All-Star Game Monday, but there were plenty of people.
Probably 1,500. High school basketball, particularly in Indiana, is still as pure as it gets, even with the dog days of summer on the horizon.
There was one concession stand (hot dogs were a buck), people wandering back and forth on the sidelines, jumping into the bleachers while the game was going. An army of eager kids with posters, waiting in line in the balcony above the gym, were getting All-Star autographs.
It couldn’t unfold like this in any other place: People driving from one end of the state to another end to watch the Junior All-Stars play the Seniors All-Stars. This isn’t even the main event, folks, and it’s still a big deal. We can’t seem to get enough of this.
I don’t have anything riveting to offer but I’ll say this:
Matt Holba would look really good in a Chesterton uniform. Holba, who played for Indianapolis Guerin, scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Juniors. He left Chesterton last year.
Hyron Edwards was born to be an All-Star. His lightning-quick release and his explosiveness are one of a kind. Edwards has been a star for the All-Stars, scoring 20 in the opener and 16 last night.
Davon Dillard falls into the same category. He was most comfortable attacking. He admitted, however, that he was tired. He finished with nine points and four rebounds in 14 minutes.
Drew Hackett is a dish, dribble and cut type of player with this cast. Whatever it takes, you know? Hackett finished with four points and one assist in 13 minutes.
Part of the duties for the coaches is to constantly check stat sheets during the game to monitor minutes and points scored. At least it looked that way.
Ryan Fazekas didn’t play. He pulled his groan in practice Monday. He’ll be healed up in a week or so.
Chris Palombizio played, but his action was limited. He finished with two points in eight minutes.
As good as Northwest Indiana seems this year (they have five players from the region on the team and another, Holba, who has Northwest Indiana roots), they aren’t half as good as the Senior All-Stars. The last time the Senior All-Stars scored as many points as they did in an 141-90 victory over the Juniors was in 1998 when they won 133-92. The Seniors did all that with their best player, Trey Lyles, out of the game. As Tyler Wideman, who scored 13 points and grabbed 16 rebounds said, “we were expected to beat them.”
By 51 while breaking the record for most points scored?
“We played pretty well,” Wideman admitted.
Say this about the Indiana Junior All-Star girls. They are much better than the seniors. The Juniors rocked the Seniors 82-61 in the opening game.
Victoria Gaines of Merrillville scored six points for the Juniors. Nakeya Penny of Logansport finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
There is one more appetizer left on this road tour — at Columbus North — before the main event, which occurs Friday and Saturday when the Seniors play Kentucky in the real exhibition. The Indiana boys haven’t lost to Kentucky since 2008. They have won 11 straight. I’d say they have a good chance of keeping the streak alive.