By Mark Morrow — HSE Royals Sports Media
Hard to believe…..but guess what’s just around the corner?
Yep, high school basketball isn’t far off.
First practice for the HSE girls is Oct. 23.
The Lady Royals are at North Central for a 6 p.m. scrimmage on Oct. 26, and they compete in the Fishers HS Shootout on Nov. 4. They are at Perry Meridian on Nov. 14, and their home debut is Nov. 18 — a 2:30 p.m. test against Carroll of Fort Wayne.
The girls, of course, are first to take to the court and be under the spotlight.
(The Royals hold their first boys practice on Nov. 6. Their home opener is Nov. 21 against Muncie Central.)
And there’s a lot of talent in the spotlight this season for Coach Chris Huppenthal’s Lady Royals squad, which returns 4 starters — 3 juniors, one sophomore, as well as a top junior backup.
*—Sophomore Syd Parrish, a 16-plus scorer last season, was the top freshman in the HCC. She picked up several college offers over the summer, and she made it to the final cut of the USA Women’s U16 National Team. She also knows what it takes to get better. Hard work.
*—Tayah Irvin (6-2), sister of 2013 Indiana Mr. Basketball Zak Irvin (he’s playing professionally in Italy), is long and fast….and she’s capable of having a great season.
*—Amaya Hamilton (6-1), a physical player and strong rebounder with a good touch around the basket. She’ll certainly play a key role).
*—Malea Jackson (5-7), a good outside shooter who’s likely to play a bigger role for HSE this season. She might handle the ball much more.
*—Molly Walton (5-7) provided many positive minutes off the bench, and she should add to the team in a big way this season. She’s a tough competitor. The southpaw shooter also can go inside with the ball.
If there’s one concern it’s that HSE (at this point) doesn’t have the depth like the team had a year ago when the Lady Royals produced a 19-win season.
Quotable: When asked if he thinks Parrish has improved this season, Coach Hupp nodded his head and smiled. “Oh yeah, she’s gotten better. Syd’s been in the gym working out at 6:30 in the morning before school.’’
More Quotables . . .
*—On Stage at the annual Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Classic picnic, where the girls and boys coaches gathered to talk about their teams for the Raymond James Hall of Fame Classic in December at New Castle:
Coach Vince Cerbone, whose Martinsville girls will meet the Carmel in the Dec. 29 opener, said that coach Todd Windlan’s Lady Greyhounds should be the preseason No. 1 in Class 4A this season.
Probably so. Carmel returns 4 starters and a deep roster overall.
Carmel, which graduated one senior, should be led by 5-10 Michigan-bound point guard Amy Dilk, and 6-3 Blake Smith, both of whom were Indiana Junior All-Stars last season.
“We think our sectional is the toughest in the state,’’ said Windlan. “A lot of talent there, and in my opinion Hamilton Southeastern is a top-5 state team.’’
The Hounds pulled out a Sectional 8-championship victory against the Lady Royals in the closing seconds last season.
And it WAS quite the finish! Talk about a lot of atmosphere, emotion, and a near-sellout audience!
“It was so loud in there…what a great atmosphere,’’ Coach Hupp said. “What a great crowd!’’
And it was girls basketball at its best!
By the way, Carmel visits HSE for a 2:30 p.m. contest on Nov. 24.
That should be a hot ticket, a really hot ticket….for sure!
*—Changes: Fans following the HSE-Fishers HS basketball rivalry will see a noticeable difference this season: The Tigers boys and girls teams have new varsity head coaches.
Matt Wallace, former head coach at Kokomo HS, replaces Joe Leonard; and Michael Gaines left to become assistant principal at Shelbyville HS early in August, 2017. Lauren Vail, the girls varsity assistant the past 3 years, has been named to the girls post as Interim Varsity Coach.
Veteran Coaches: HSE’s Huppenthal (206-67 record) is in his 13th season with the Lady Royals, and Brian Satterfield (260-117) is in his 17th season guiding the Royals boys.
Royals To Watch: Returning starters from last year’s 21-6 team: 6-1 point guard Noah Smith and 6-6 forward Aaron Etherington….6-4 Chaz Birchfield also logged some quality minutes as a junior, as did 6-1 shooting guard Nick Bowman, who had a good sectional. And I can’t wait to see the improvement of 7-foot-1 sophomore Mabor Majak. Though the youngster from South Sudan got most of his playing time with the junior varsity team last season, he’ll be a regular on the floor for the varsity this season.
So, get ready….won’t be long before we’ll once again be following action in the Royals’ Lions Den!
*—Mark Morrow, who has resided in Fishers since 1989, formerly owned Hamilton County Sports Daily. He was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters-Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 2015. He has blogged exclusively for hseroyalsathletics.com since 2016.