Aside from March, some of the real fun of Indiana high school basketball comes between Christmas and New Year’s with the plethora of holiday tournaments all over the state. Last season I got to take in the Lebanon Holiday Tournament and the Phil Cox Memorial Tournament at Kokomo.
This year is... different.
I have been covering high school basketball in this state since the 1999-2000 season and, before that, I usually attended every Kokomo High School game, home and away dating back to at least 1985-86, probably earlier. Because of COVID and limited crowds I have yet to attend a single game, and I don’t know if I will get the chance to.
Frankly, it is driving me nuts.
I tried to go to the Forum Credit Union Tip-off at Southport to see Silver Creek (and Trey Kaufman) vs. Ft. Wayne Blackhawk (and Caleb Furst), but they limited media access and I was unable to go.
Fortunately, there is still Twitter, and I can keep up on how our recruits are doing through the holiday break.
Class of 2021
Caleb Furst - Ft. Wayne Blackhaek Christian - 8-0 - Technically, they are a defending state champion as they won the Class 1A state title in 2019 and were 23-3 rated No. 2 in Class 2A last season when the tournament was stopped. Furst & Co. is playing up in class this year in 2 because of the IHSAA’s success factor and they are doing just fine. They are 8-0 after a pair of overtime wins today in the prestigious Hall of Fame Tournament in New Castle.
In the first game Furst had 18 points and 11 rebounds in a 75-66 overtime win over Class A No.1 Barr-Reeve. Barr-Reeve is a historically strong Class A program that is always excellent and worthy of being in the state’s overall top 20 regardless of class. in fact, in the overall top 20 Ft. Wayne Blackhawk is No. 3 and Barr-Reeve is No. 11.
In the night game Blackhawk was challenged again, this time by Class 2A No. 5 Shenandoah. Blackhawk was again taken to overtime, winning 66-59 behind a monster game from Furst:
Final/OT: Blackhawk Christian 66, Shenandoah 59— Trevor Andershock (@INBBallSource) December 31, 2020
Caleb Furst 20pts, 16rbs, 3asts, 2stls, 2blks
Zane Burke 17pts, 3rbs, 2asts
Jake Boyer 10pts, 6rbs
Marcus Davidson 10
Jakeb Kinsey 17pts, 7rbs, 2asts
Kaden McCullough 12pts, 4rbs, 2asts
Michael Howard 12pts, 3rbs
Furst was named the tournament MVP. Blackhawk is playing a challenging schedule in his final season. They already have a double overtime 94-84 win over Silver Creek (who is ranked third in 3A and is technically the defending champ in that class) and they have wins over 4A teams Ft. Wayne North (98-48) and New Haven (86-33). They have eight games scheduled against 4A schools remaining including against No. 3 Homestead and Fletcher Loyer (January 12th), No. 6 Indianapolis Cathedral, and No. 7 Indianapolis Crispus Attucks. Since Class 2A No. 2 Blackford lost both of its games in the Hall of Fame Tournament I would label Blackhawk as the favorite in that class, by a wide margin.
Trey Kaufman - Silver Creek - 6-2 - The good news is that Trey Kufaman’s team is doing well. They lost only to Blackhawk mentioned above and 63-61 to North Harrison. The bad news is that Kaufman is not playing. He has yet to see action due to an ankle injury and will be out “an extended period of time”. Let’s hope this is not a Mason Gillis situation.
UPDATE: Thanks to charliespig we now know that Kaufman is, indeed, back. He returned to help his team win their own holiday tournament over the last few days as Silver Creek beat Providence 62-41 and Clarksville 95-49. He had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the first game against Providence:
Jacobi and Trey Kaufman combined for 43 points (Jacobi 26, Kaufman 17) and 20 rebounds (Kaufman 11, Jacobi nine). Behind the 6-9 Kaufman and 6-6 Jacobi, the Dragons outrebounded the Pioneers 39-21. Both were also proficient from the free throw line. Jacobi went 13 for 14 from the charity stripe.
“Koop did a great job and Trey hit a bunch (too),” Hoffman said. “It probably wasn’t our cleanest offensive performance, but we did enough to win.
Both Silver Creek and Ft. Wayne Blackhawk are among the state’s leaders in offense. Blackhawk is third in scoring at 84.50 points per game and Silver Creek is seventh at 79.88 points per game. Blackhawk is beating their opponents by an average of 30 points per game.
Class of 2022
Fletcher Loyer - Homestead - 10-0 - Homestead is off to a great start at 10-0 and ranked third in class 4A. In the rankings regardless of class they are fourth behind Carmel and Lawrence North from 4A and Ft. Wayne Blackhawk. Loyer also did something last night that even Caleb Swanigan didn’t do at Homestead: He dropped a 50-spot on the evil Marion Giants:
Loyer broke Homestead’s single-game school record with a 50-point outing Tuesday in a 92-77 win over Marion with the teams playing without masks. He scored 21 first-half points to help his team to a 37-33 lead, then scored 19 more in the third and 10 in the fourth.
Loyer’s teammate is 6-7 senior forward Luke Goode, who averages 20 points and is a four-star recruit who will play next year at Illinois.
Loyer is averaging nearly 25 per game and Homestead will definitely be in the mix for the 4A title, but they would have to get past Carmel in the regional.
Jameel Brown - Haverford School (Pennsylvania) - 0-0 - Brown’s school is not playing this season, at least so far.