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  • Val T.

Caston beats LaVille, clinches outright Hoosier North title

Scales scores 12, defense holds Lady Lancers to 1 point in 2nd quarter


Sports Editor, RTC

LAKEVILLE — The Caston girls basketball team had something of a momentous night against Culver on Jan. 5.

They celebrated senior night, fan favorite Ann Ulerick started the game and got her third basket of the season, coach Josh Douglass got his 50th win at Caston and the 200th win of his coaching career, and they clinched a share of the Hoosier North title in front of their home fans.

So would it be difficult to get up to play LaVille at Dale E. Cox Gymnasium less than 48 hours later?


Isabel Scales led a balanced Lady Comet attack with 12 points, and the Caston defense held LaVille to one point in the second quarter in recording a 44-25 win and clinching the Hoosier North title outright.

Addison Zimpleman and Bailey Harness added nine points each, Macee Hinderlider added eight, and Kinzie Mollenkopf had six.

“It kind of feels unreal,” Scales said. “This team, we’ve been together since second grade, and this is like our dream to play in high school, and actually seeing us get there is so rewarding.”

Caston, ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, improved to 18-0 overall and finished conference play 7-0.

This marks Caston’s first Hoosier North girls basketball title since the formation of the conference in 2015. Historical records are unclear, but it’s believed to be Caston’s first girls basketball conference championship in at least 25 years.

Caston had to plow through a stretch of four conference games in nine days when they beat North Judson, Triton, Pioneer and Knox from Dec. 8-16 and then had to beat Culver and LaVille in a three-day span after knocking off No. 11 Clinton Central earlier in the week.

“It was one of our goals this year,” Douglass said. “I’m proud of the girls to get it done. We had that brutal stretch there in the middle, and this week’s brutal too with three games, but these girls are resilient, and I’m super proud of them.”

Lily Smith scored 10 points, and Lucy Sherk added nine for LaVille, who fell to 11-5, 2-2. Caston’s win also eliminated Pioneer and North Judson, each with one conference loss, from the conference race.

Sherk was coming off a career-high 24 points against South Bend Career Academy four days earlier and had scored in double figures 10 times this season.

Senior guard Heaylyn Kwiatkowski, who came in averaging 11 points per game, was held to two.

Douglass said Caston pressed more full court – “our pressure got to them” – with the intent on causing turnovers.

“They play extremely hard on defense, but I thought we could play defense on them and shut them down,” Douglass said. “They average 29 points a game defensively, so I knew it would be tough. They guarded us. They get into you, but I thought our girls did a really good job of executing things. We missed some bunnies there, but we hit our free throws today and did things like that.”

Scales and Zimpelman each hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter as Caston built a 10-5 lead.

In the second quarter, Hinderlider, who had not attempted more than three free throws in any game this season, went five for six from the line, and Mollenkopf added a pair of buckets.

Meanwhile, Caston stifled LaVille’s offense and built a 24-6 halftime lead.

“It feels really amazing honestly,” Mollenkopf said. “Bailey and I at the start of the season were just like we want to leave our legacy. The juniors have helped us, and it’s just been a great season, and it’s just a rush of emotions right now.”

LaVille would get no closer than 14 in the second half.

“It was easy to get up for this game because we knew if we didn’t win this, then everything’s pretty much gone,” Mollenkopf said. “We still have to win a sectional, but this team, we have just built this group, and we just needed to get up and go and win.”

Scales agreed that it was easy to get up for the game.

“We wanted it so bad,” Scales said. “We were this close, and we weren’t going to let anyone take it from us. We were like in the locker room, ‘Let’s just do our thing. Let’s go get this, one more ‘W’ and keep moving on.”

In the JV game, LaVille triumphed 26-16 despite seven points from Caston’s Autumn Miller. Kaitie Hutsell had six points and five rebounds, and Kylee Logan had three points.

Caston 44, LaVille 25

CASTON (44) (18-0, 7-0)

Macee Hinderlider 1 5-6 8, Isabel Scales 5 1-2 12, Addison Zimpleman 3 2-2 9, Kinzie Mollenkopf 3 0-1 6, Bailey Harness 4 1-2 9, Annie Harsh 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 16 9-13 44

LAVILLE (25) (11-5, 2-2)

Lily Smith 3 1-2 10, Heaylyn Kwiatkowski 1 0-0 2, Brooke Edison 0 0-2 0, Lauren Edison 1 0-0 3, Lucy Sherk 4 1-2 9, Ava Weil 0 0-0 0, Mikalah Kuskye 0 0-0 0, London Kwiatkowski 0 0-0 0, Jasmine Foster 0 1-2 1, Quincy Blodgett 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 9 3-8 25

Three-point field goals:

Caston 3 (Scales, Zimpleman, Hinderlider),

LaVille 4 (Smith 3, L. Edison)

Total fouls: Caston 12, LaVille 16

Turnovers: Caston 7, LaVille 8

Scxore by quarters

Caston 10 14 11 9 – 44

LaVille 5 1 10 9 – 25

The Caston girls basketball team clinched the outright Hoosier North title with a 44-25 win over LaVille on Jan. 7. The Class 1A, No. 2 Lady Comets improved to 18-0 and finished conference play 7-0. Front, kneeling – Ann Ulerick. Middle, from left – Annie Harsh, Macee Hinderlider, Kinzie Mollenkopf, Bailey Harness, Isabel Scales, Addison Zimpleman. Back – Assistant coach Blake Harness, assistant coach Brent Thomas, Kylie Reidenbach, Autumn Miller, Olivia Thomas, Kaitie Hutsell, JV coach Samantha Schanlaub, coach Josh Douglass.

HNAC Traveling Trophy Bailey Harness Isabel Scales

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