Pioneer’s Brooke, the state’s leading scorer, 3-point shooter, is RTC player of year
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Making the game-winning basket in a state championship game might be considered the culmination of a high school basketball player’s career.
In the case of Pioneer junior Ashlynn Brooke, she was just getting started.
Brooke hit the game-winning 18-footer to lift Pioneer to a 43-42 win over Loogootee at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Feb. 27, 2021, in the Class 1A state title game.
After a summer spent working on her game and strengthening her knee and body after injuries postponed the start of both her freshman and sophomore years, Brooke had a standout junior year and is the RTC girls basketball player of the year in 2021-22.
Brooke led the state in scoring at 25.9 points per game. She also led the state with 98 3-pointers. She led Pioneer to a 21-5 record and the Cass County Invitational title.
Pioneer also won the Hoosier North Athletic Conference title, a noteworthy accomplishment as that was something that evaded even the state title winners one year earlier.
Brooke also made the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Underclass Supreme 15 team and will play for the Junior All-Stars against the Senior All-Stars in June.
And shortly after the season, she verbally committed to play for Ball State. She is the first area player to verbally commit to a Division I program since 2019 Tippecanoe Valley grad Sophie Bussard chose Southeast Missouri State.
Here is the rest of the All-RTC girls basketball team. We would like to thank area coaches for sharing their thoughts with us and enlightening us about the game.
Having said that, this list is ours and ours alone, and we take full responsibility for it.
Ashlynn Brooke (Pioneer) – Brooke can score at all three levels: Not only can she shoot the 3, but she can drive to the basket and score, and she can score from the midrange. And she’s the best passer of any player in our area. She projects a pure joy of the game and was incredibly fun to watch.
Hailey Cripe (Pioneer) – Cripe, the 2021 RTC player of the year, scored over 20 points 13 times on the season, including a 40-point game against Clinton Central. She also was Pioneer’s leading rebounder and usually guarded the opponent’s top scorer.
It’s likely that she was one of the 40 best players in the state.
Kaydence Mellott (Tippecanoe Valley) – Mellott was fourth in the state in 3-pointers with 75, and she helped Valley overcome an 0-4 start to the season and eventually win 17 games and the TRC title. Mellott was the area’s silent assassin.
Lizzy Edmonds (Argos) – Nobody blocked shots like Lizzy Edmonds. She was the single best rim protector in the area, and her blocked shot that preserved the win against Fort Wayne Blackhawk in a 1A regional semifinal at Caston was an iconic moment and a fitting way for Argos to cap off a big win. She also was a do-it-all post player on the offensive end.
Isabel Scales (Caston) – Scales is a tough competitor and a two-way point guard. She runs the show on offense and is a menace on defense. She was Caston’s most reliable scorer all season.
Corinna Stiles (Tippecanoe Valley) – Stiles is a unique, athletic big. She’s a high-volume rebounder who can also step outside and shoot and also be a playmaker. And she can also guard small forwards, power forwards and posts.
Maddi Smith (Caston) – Smith is an exceptional athlete – quicker than most post players but also strong. She refined her footwork in the post and just buried smaller opponents if she got the ball on the block.
Lexy Thomas (Rochester) – Thomas’ heart allowed her to play through a painful hip injury which will require multiple surgeries. Her ability to finish at the rim separates her from most post players.
Rose Peterson (Culver) – Peterson’s 37-point game in the Lady Cavs’ upset win over Triton in the sectional was the stuff of legend, but we also admired her quick hands on defense that was often able to force turnovers and kindle Culver’s fast break.
Bella Stults (Argos) – Stults developed her offensive game, averaging 9 points per game while developing her post-up skills and even hitting the occasional perimeter shot. But it’s her defensive versatility that sets her apart in that she can guard the post but is also athletic enough to handle smaller guards.
Rily Holloway (Rochester)
Samantha Redinger (Argos)
Addison Zimpleman (Caston)
Millie Scorsone (Rochester)
Kingsley Kroft (Winamac)
Kami Burkett (Rochester)
Emma Dunlap (Argos)
Bailey Harness (Caston)
Kaya Campbell (Winamac)
Kennedy Jackson (Rochester)
Molly Moriarty (Tippecanoe Valley)
Grace Sieber (Culver)
Brooklyn Borges (Pioneer)
Kylie Attinger (Pioneer)
Ella Gearhart (Winamac)
Watch the Talking Sports with Val all RTC team show from 4-1-22:
RTC girls basketball player of the year Ashlynn Brooke
Hailey Cripe Kaydence Mellott
Lizzy Edmonds Isabel Scales