(12-6-22) As the Fall winds down and we flip our calendars over to December, the boys’ teams around the state are beginning to discover who they are, while the girls’ teams are a third of the way through and are getting into the heart of their conference seasons. Six more Hoosierland preps were selected as the Week-5 winners of the IBCA/Franciscan Health Player of the Week award, one from each of the IBCA’s three districts.

Penn Senior Markus Burton, West Lafayette Senior Divine Adeyanju, Brownstown Central Junior Jack Benter, Crown Point Junior Ava Ziolkowski, West Lafayette Junior Adrianne Tolen, and Columbus East Senior Saige Stahl have been selected as honorees for Nov. 28-Dec. 3 in the recognition program coordinated by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. Burton is the boys’ recipient, while Ziolkowski is the girls’ recipient, in District-1. Adeyanju and Tolen both represent the Red Devils as the boys’ and girls’ honorees, respectively, in District-2. Benter is the boys’ winner and Stahl is the girls’ winner in District-3.

The Penn Kingsmen picked up a pair of convincing wins last week, with a lot of help from Senior Markus Burton. Friday night, they traveled to South Bend Clay, where they defeated the Colonials, 92-58. It also proved to be an opening night, Northern Indiana Conference win for the Kingsmen. In this game, Burton was a scalding 16-23 from the field and added a 3-pointer, to give him 33 points on the night. The 6-0 guard posted a double-double with his 10 steals, plus he added five rebounds and five assists.

The next day, Penn and Burton hosted Crown Point, winning their home opener, 70-49. The 2022 Indiana Junior All-Star again amassed 33 points, this time on 10-16 from the field, a hot 4-6 from deep, plus he was 9-10 from the charity stripe. Committed to the University of Notre Dame, Burton added eight more rebounds, six assists, and three steals to his stat line. Penn begins their year 2-0.

Ava Ziolkowski

Speaking of Crown Point, Junior Ava Ziolkowski had a nice week herself, helping the Lady Bulldogs to a trio of wins. Tuesday night, Crown Point hosted Lowell, winning by a 69-31 margin. The 6-1 forward made eight total shots from the field, 5-11 of those from deep, and she added four free throws, on her way to 25 points. She also grabbed five rebounds, handed out two assists, and collected six steals against their neighboring rival.

Friday evening, the Lady Bulldogs hosted Portage in their second Duneland Athletic Conference game of the season, knocking off the Lady Indians, 55-39. Ziolkowski knocked down 7-12 from the field, she made another 3-pointer, and she was a near-perfect 6-7 from the free throw line, scoring 21 points this night. The Junior forward added seven rebounds and a pair of assists in the conference victory.

Saturday, Crown Point hosted Penn in what has become a big Northern Indiana rivalry of late. The Lady Bulldogs impressed, taking care of the Lady Kingsmen, 53-39. In her third game of the week, Ziolkowski made 10-16 shots, 3-5 from long range, and she knocked down her only charity toss of the day, scoring 24 points in the big win. She nearly posted a double-double with her nine rebounds, as she helped the Lady Bulldogs move to 7-4 on the season.

Senior Divine Adeyanju of West Lafayette was seeing double all week, as he helped the Red Devils to a pair of victories in the annual IU Health Hoops Classic tournament in Lafayette. Adeyanju and the Red Devils began their week Tuesday, with a big 59-52, opening round win over Central Catholic. The 6-6 forward nearly posted a triple-double in this outing, as he scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked nine of the Knights’ shots.

Friday, in the Semifinals, West Lafayette lost in overtime, 60-53, to a very good Harrison Raiders team. The Junior forward again posted a double-double in this contest, scoring 19 points while grabbing an outstanding 21 caroms. He also managed to hand out a pair of assists, and he blocked another shot in the hard-fought loss.

One day later, Adeyanju and the Red Devils bounced back to claim 3rd Place in the event, narrowly defeating Rensselaer Central, 63-60. Adeyanju nearly posted his third double-double of the week, scoring nine points and grabbing another 15 rebounds in the placement game. The Junior added an assist, a steal, and a blocked shot in victory.

It was a good week for Red Devil fans, as the West Lafayette girls’ team picked up three huge wins of their own, with big contributions from Junior Adrianne Tolen. They began their week with a lopsided win against Park Tudor on Tuesday evening. In limited action, Tolen scored 19 points, collected six rebounds, handed out five assists, and stole the ball three times from the Lady Panthers.

Two nights later they hosted the Carmel Greyhounds, winning by a close 64-59 margin. Once again Tolen was huge, knocking down 10-17 shots from the field, all three of her 3-point attempts, plus she added three charity tosses, scoring 26 points in the win. The 5-10 wing posted a double-double with her 14 rebounds, plus she added three assists and a steal in the success.

Saturday, the Lady Red Devils traveled to Heritage Christian, where they took care of a very good Lady Eagles team, 77-58. Tolen continued her strong week with another double-double, scoring 27 points and pulling down 11 rebounds in victory. She was a solid 10-12 from the free throw line, and she added four assists and six steals in the week’s finale. West Lafayette is now 10-1 this season.

Brownstown Central Junior Jack Benter lit up the scoreboards last week, helping his Braves to a pair of wins. Tuesday night, the Braves headed to Salem for a Mid-Southern Conference game, running away with this one by a comfortable margin. Benter made 11-17 shots from the field, a pair of 3-pointers, plus he grabbed seven rebounds, dished out five assists, and collected five steals in limited action.

Friday evening, the Braves hosted Seymour, again ending the night victorious with a 64-52 win. The 6-5 guard made 12-21 total shots, he buried two more 3-pointers, plus he was 10-14 from the charity stripe, scoring an impressive 36 points in the contest. Benter added six more rebounds, five more assists, along with three steals in the win.

Brownstown Central squared off against a good Cincinnati Withrow squad on Saturday, falling to the Tigers, 74-69. The Braves, now 3-1 on the year, got a huge outing from Benter. The Purdue University commit went for 38 points, including an 11-15 performance from the free throw line. Benter added eight rebounds, and he found teammates on another five occasions for scores.

The Columbus East Olympians played just one game last week, but Senior Saige Stahl was impressive in that outing. Tuesday night, the Lady Olympians beat Bloomington North, 71-49. The 6-1 forward scored 37 points and grabbed 11 caroms in the win, and she did so by burying 13-19 shots from the field and a near-perfect 11-12 from the free throw line. An Indiana State University signee, along with being a 2022 Indiana Junior All-Star, the 6-1 Stahl also contributed six steals to their victory.

Sage Stahl

This is the 15th season for the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Week program, but just the third season it is being presented by Franciscan Health, a corporate sponsor of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.

Player of the Week winners are chosen each week from each of the IHSAA’s three districts. Girls winners will be chosen through the Monday following the IHSAA Girls State Finals. Boys winners will be chosen through the Monday following the IHSAA Boys State Finals.

2022-23 Weekly Winners

            Oct. 31-Nov. 5District-1 girls: Nevaeh Foster, Mishawaka Marian. District-2 girls: Olivia Nickerson, Twin Lakes. District3 girls: Kylee Edwards, Shelbyville.

            Nov. 7-Nov. 12District-1 girls: Asia Donald, Hobart. District-2 girls: Gloria Brewer, Greencastle. District3 girls: Juliann Woodard, Jennings County.

            Nov. 14-Nov. 19District-1 girls: Ashlynn Brooke, Pioneer. District-2 girls: Renna Schwieterman, Jay County. District3 girls: Lauren Foster, Indian Creek.

            Nov. 21-Nov. 26District-1 boys: Jamie Hodges, Michigan City. District-1 girls: Kennedy Fuelling, Norwell. District-2 boys: Elhadj Diallo, Brownsburg. District-2 girls: Laila Hull, Zionsville Community. District-3 boys: Cam Craig, Switzerland County. District3 girls: Keylee Hudson, Eastern Greene.

            Nov. 28-Dec. 3District-1 boys: Markus Burton, Penn. District-1 girls: Ava Ziolkowski, Crown Point. District-2 boys: Divine Adeyanju, West Lafayette. District-2 girls: Adrianne Tolen, West Lafayette. District-3 boys: Jack Benter, Brownstown Central. District3 girls: Saige Stahl, Columbus East.