Week-11 of the IBCA/Franciscan Health Player of the Week Awards Are Led by a Pair of Tourney Champions
January is a big month for city, county, and conference tournaments, and Week-11 recipients Connor Essegian and Zakia Rasheed were able to cut down nets and raise hardware last week. In total, six basketball players from around the state were selected as honorees during Week-11 of the IBCA/Franciscan Health Player of the Week award.
Central Noble Junior Connor Essegian, Danville Senior Kobe Ward, Evansville Reitz Senior Owen Dease, Crown Point Junior Jessica Carrothers, Bishop Chatard Senior Zakia Rasheed, and Columbus East Junior Koryn Greiwe were selected as the recipients for Jan. 11-Jan. 16 in the recognition program coordinated by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. Essegian is the boys’ honoree, and Carrothers is the girls’ honoree in District-1. Ward and Rasheed are the respective boys’ and girls’ winners in District-2. Dease is the boys’ recipient, and Greiwe is the girls’ recipient in District-3.
Junior Connor Essegian and the Central Noble Cougars claimed their second consecutive Northeast Corner Conference tournament championship by impressively winning four games in a five-day span last week. The Cougars opened tourney play Tuesday evening with a 57-42 win against Lakeland. Essegian was solid in victory, scoring 19 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, while adding an assist and a pair of steals. Wednesday the 6-4 guard was on a different level, though, as he poured in a school record 44 points to help Central Noble to a hard-fought, 81-71 win against a talented Churubusco team. Essegian shot 16-25 from the field, 5-9 from 3-point range, plus he knocked down 7-9 free throws. The Junior guard grabbed 12 rebounds, dished out five assists, and collected a pair of steals in the triumph.
Two days later, Central Noble returned to action with a tightly contested, 43-38 win against Westview in the conference semifinals. Hounded the entire game, Essegian still managed 15 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in the win. As the Cougars returned to action Saturday in the title game, they were able to pull away and take care of Angola with a bit more ease, as they won again, 61-41. Essegian led the way one more time, scoring 23 points. He also contributed five rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals, helping Central Noble complete a perfect 4-0 week.
Crown Point’s Jessica Carrothers makes her second appearance this season as the District-1 girls’ winner, following three productive road performances last week. The Bulldogs first headed to Munster Tuesday evening, securing an easy win to begin their week. Carrothers was 11-17 from the field and knocked down a triple, scoring 23 points in somewhat limited action. Her seven assists matched a season high, plus she grabbed three rebounds and collected three steals.
Friday, the 5-7 Junior guard helped the Bulldogs to another decided win, this time at conference foe Valparaiso. On this evening, she was a sizzling 10-14 from the field and 4-6 from long range, scoring 25 points in another short outing. Her three rebounds and four steals were a nice bonus for Crown Point. As the Bulldogs returned to action Saturday, they travelled to Merrillville High School, where the Pirates were hot, rattling off nine wins in a row. The outcome was still a 69-39 success for Crown Point, and Carrothers played a big part with her 28 points, three rebounds, four assists, and five steals. The Bulldogs are now 13-1 on the year.
Danville Senior Kobe Ward had a pair of outstanding showings last weekend, helping the Warriors to two wins. Friday evening, the 6-2 forward was 10-18 from the field and 3-4 from the line, as they pulled out a big, 72-60 conference win against Southmont. In this game, Ward was very active at the defensive end of the floor, collecting eight thefts in the contest. He also added five rebounds, three assists, and he blocked a shot.
Saturday was a bit different story, as Ward turned his focus to cleaning the glass. In an 80-49 victory over South Vermillion, Ward snagged an impressive 24 rebounds, with 15 of them coming at the offensive end of the floor. Add to that a strong 11-17 shooting performance, plus 10 made free throws, and he finished with 32 points on the night as well. You can also tack on an assist and a steal to his stat-line for good measure.
Bishop Chatard Senior Zakia Rasheed and the Lady Trojans completed a task that hasn’t been accomplished in a decade and a half, as they dethroned Heritage Christian to win the Indianapolis City Tournament. Their week began on Tuesday, as they took on newcomer Purdue Polytechnic, defeating the Techies by a wide margin. The 5-8 guard was 11-17 from the field and 3-6 from deep, scoring 27 points in the easy win. Rasheed would also add four rebounds, two assists, and two steals in victory.
Thursday, the Lady Trojans headed to Cathedral to take on their long-time nemesis. In a tight battle, Bishop Chatard escaped with a 57-50 win, advancing to the championship game. Rasheed again buried 3-6 from deep, plus she made 5-6 free throws, finishing with 18 points. The University of Akron commit also grabbed eight rebounds in the semifinal contest. Friday was the matchup with Heritage Christian, and Rasheed and Chatard were ready to end the Eagles’ reign. On a last-possession score, the Trojans won by a 62-61 final tally. The Senior guard scored 28 big points, knocked down three more triples, grabbed four rebounds, handed out five assists, and collected three steals in the title win.
Evansville Reitz Senior Owen Dease had a strong weekend, helping the Panthers to three wins over the course of Friday and Saturday. Friday night, Reitz travelled to Southern Indiana Conference foe Evansville North. In a narrow, 75-70 win, Dease scored just over half of the Panther points, totaling 38 in all. The 6-7 wing knocked down seven 3-pointers as well, helping Reitz to a 3-0 conference start.
Saturday, the Panthers attended the Evansville Harrison Classic (Warrior Showcase). In their first matchup against Webster County of Kentucky, Reitz was able to pound out a 59-46 victory. They returned later to defeat Central Christian out of Indianapolis, 68-56, and in the process moved to 7-0 on the year. Dease scored 18 points against Webster County and 17 points against Central Christian. Over the three-game stretch, the Senior wing also contributed 37 total rebounds and 11 total assists.
Junior guard Koryn Greiwe helped the Columbus East Olympians to a pair of successes last week, including a huge 67-66 win over #4 Bedford North Lawrence Tuesday night. In that victory over the Stars, Greiwe was lights-out shooting it. She was 7-9 from the field, 3-4 from downtown, and 5-5 from the charity stripe, scoring 22 points in the upset. Greiwe added seven rebounds, four assists, and four steals in the Hoosier Hills Conference win, helping them take control of the conference lead with a 6-0 record.
Saturday, the Olympians travelled to New Albany, where they took care of the Bulldogs, 79-60. The 5-7 Junior guard was 8-14 from the field, and she knocked down three more shots from deep, as she scored 19 points on the day. Greiwe also contributed seven rebounds, a pair of assists, and five steals to the Columbus East win, helping them to an 11-5 overall record at this point in the season.
This is the 13th season for the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Week program, but the first season it is 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.
Other Top Nominees for Week-11 (2020-21)
District-1 Boys: Brendan Carr, South Central (Union Mills); Brayden Flagg, New Prairie; Caleb Furst, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian; Travis Grayson, Chesterton; Weston Hamby, Manchester; Ashton Johnson, Fort Wayne South Side; Fletcher Loyer, Homestead; Christopher Mantis, Lowell; Carson Rich, Southwood; Blake Wesley, South Bend Riley.
District-1 Girls: Eva Bazzoni, Manchester; Courtney Blakely, Hammond Bishop Noll; Olivia Brooke, Pioneer; Lilliann Frasure, North Judson-San Pierre; Kendal Johnson, Lewis Cass; Remi Jordan, Knox; Jordyn Poole, Fort Wayne Snider; Mila Reynolds, South Bend Washington; Brynn Shoup-Hill, Goshen; Sidney Wagner, Tippecanoe Valley.
District-2 Boys: Brooks Barnhizer, Lafayette Jefferson; Landon Biegel, Oak Hill; Mason Brooks, North Putnam; Jake Chapman, Tri-Central; Ryan Conwell, Pike; Champ Ellis, Union (Modoc); Gus Etchison, Hamilton Heights; Braden Smith, Westfield; Jayden Taylor, Perry Meridian; Kyle Thomas, Cloverdale.
District-2 Girls: Carley Culberson, Yorktown; Kenzie Fulks, Bethesda Christian; Isabella Gizzi, New Palestine; Layla Gold, Park Tudor; Brooke Hartman, Speedway; Erikka Hill, Shenandoah; McKenna Layden, Northwestern; Olivia Nickerson, Twin Lakes; Lexi Shelton, Mount Vernon (Fortville); Ariana Wiggins, Heritage Christian.
District-3 Boys: Brett Bosley, Paoli; Luke Collinsworth, East Central; Bryson Creager, Eastern Greene; Koleton Kaiser, Corydon Central; Julian Norris, Evansville Bosse; Branden Northern, Silver Creek; Blake Sisley, Heritage Hills; Lane Sparks, Greensburg; Kolden Vanlandingham, Northeastern; Justin Waiz, Evansville Memorial.
District-3 Girls: Gracie Adams, Lanesville; Jessie Duvall, Switzerland County; Taylor Farris, Northeastern; Rebekah Gordon, Heritage Hills; Chloey Graham, Gibson Southern; Madison Gray, Union County; Lauren Klem, Franklin Community; Paige Ledford, Jac-Cen-Del; Ali Saunders, North Harrison; Bailey Tabeling, Trinity Lutheran.
2020-21 Weekly Winners
Nov. 2-Nov. 7: District-1 girls: Courtney Blakely, Hammond Bishop Noll. District-2 girls: Olivia Nickerson, Twin Lakes. District–3 girls: Hope Fox, East Central.
Nov. 9-Nov. 14: District-1 girls: Mariah Wyatt, Wabash. District-2 girls: Tyra Ford, Anderson, and McKenna Layden, Northwestern. District-3 girls: Rebekah Gordon, Heritage Hills.
Nov. 16-Nov. 21: District-1 girls: De’Mour Watson, Elkhart. District-2 girls: Erikka Hill, Shenandoah. District-3 girls: Gracie Adams, Lanesville.
Nov. 23-Nov. 28: District-1 boys: Cole Wireman, Kouts. District-1 girls: Jessica Carrothers, Crown Point. District-2 boys: Brooks Barnhizer, Lafayette Jefferson, and Gus Etchison, Hamilton Heights. District-2 girls: Jayla Smith, Lawrence North. District-3 boys: Kooper Jacobi, Silver Creek. District-3 girls: Sydney Jaynes, Trinity Lutheran.
Nov. 30-Dec. 5: District-1 boys: J.R. Konieczny, South Bend St. Joseph. District-1 girls: Olivia Smith, Fort Wayne South Side. District-2 boys: Ian Scott, Plainfield. District-2 girls: Skylie Lutz, Union City. District-3 boys: Julian Norris, Evansville Bosse. District-3 girls: Kylee Edwards, Shelbyville.
Dec. 7-Dec. 12: District-1 boys: Caleb Furst, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian. District-1 girls: Ellia Foster, Bremen. District-2 boys: Brody Whitaker, Greencastle. District-2 girls: Ariana Wiggins, Heritage Christian. District-3 boys: Logan Rohrbacher, East Central. District-3 girls: Abby Fleetwood, Brown County.
Dec. 14-Dec. 19: District-1 boys: Christopher Mantis, Lowell. District-1 girls: Courtney Blakely, Hammond Bishop Noll. District-2 boys: Luke Brown, Blackford. District-2 girls: Alli Harness, Carroll (Flora). District-3 boys: Lane Sparks, Greensburg. District-3 girls: Isabella Reed, Greenwood Christian.
Dec. 21-Dec. 26: District-1 boys: Luke Goode, Homestead. District-1 girls: Jessica Carrothers, Crown Point. District-2 boys: Brooks Barnhizer, Lafayette Jefferson. District-2 girls: Katie Burton, Fishers. District-3 boys: Curt Hopf, Barr-Reeve. District-3 girls: Juliann Woodard, Jennings County.
Dec. 28-Jan. 2: District-1 boys: Fletcher Loyer, Homestead. District-1 girls: Courtney Blakely, Hammond Bishop Noll. District-2 boys: Trey Flatt, Covenant Christian (Indianapolis). District-2 girls: Ashlynn Shade, Noblesville. District-3 boys: Stephen Atkinson, Owen Valley. District-3 girls: Ali Saunders, North Harrison.
Jan. 4-Jan. 9: District-1 boys: Jackson Paul, Churubusco. District-1 girls: Lilliann Frasure, North Judson-San Pierre. District-2 boys: Gus Etchison, Hamilton Heights. District-2 girls: McKenna Layden, Northwestern. District-3 boys: Trey Kaufman, Silver Creek. District-3 girls: Vanessa Shafford, Linton-Stockton.
Jan. 11-Jan. 16: District-1 boys: Connor Essegian, Central Noble. District-1 girls: Jessica Carrothers, Crown Point. District-2 boys: Kobe Ward, Danville. District-2 girls: Zakia Rasheed, Bishop Chatard. District-3 boys: Owen Dease, Evansville Reitz. District-3 girls: Koryn Greiwe, Columbus East.
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