SOUTH BEND – A handful of local high school basketball players have been chosen to take part in the McDonald’s Michiana All-Star Basketball Games.
The seventh annual pair of games is set to be played on Tuesday, March 27, at Bethel College in Mishawaka.
The Tippecanoe Valley girls program had a pair of young ladies selected for the girls game. Juniors Sophie Bussard and Emily Peterson were named to the team from coach Chris Kindig’s strong squad. The pair led the Vikings to a 20-4 mark during the 2017-18 season.
Bussard, a 5-8 guard, led her team in scoring (16.8), rebounding (6.0), assists (3.0) and steals (2.0) in earning the Ink Free News Player of the Year. Peterson, a smooth 5-8 guard, averaged nine points per game. Peterson, who was a second-team pick to the IFN All-Area Team, will not be able to play in the McDonald’s game after suffering a knee injury during the sectional.
A pair of standouts from NorthWood have also been chosen for the girls contest. Senior Savannah Feenstra and sophomore Maddy Payne will represent coach Adam Yoder’s program. NorthWood put together a 16-9 season.
Feenstra, a 6-1 forward, averaged 10.8 points and 7.2 rebounds her senior season. The Bethel College recruit appeared in 101 career game for NorthWood and ranks in the Top 10 in program history in rebounds and in the Top 20 in career scoring. She was a first-team choice to the IFN All-Area team. Payne is a 6-1 center with a huge upside. She averaged 10 points and six rebounds per game in an outstanding sophomore season. Payne, who is also a stellar volleyball player, was a second-team pick to the IFN All-Area team.
Kaden Gongwer will represent NorthWood in the boys game. Gongwer helped lead the Panthers to a Class 3-A sectional title in an 18-6 season. The junior guard averaged 13 points-per-game for coach Aaron Wolfe and was a big threat from beyond the 3-point arc for the Panthers.
McDonald’s Restaurants of Northern Indiana and Bethel College Athletics are joining together once again to bring this family event showcasing local high school boys and girls talent in the northern Indiana and southwest Michigan area.
The Games will be played in the Wiekamp Athletics Center on the campus of Bethel College. The girls game will begin at 5 p.m. and the boys game will begin at 7:15 p.m. Tickets for the Games will be sold at the door: $5 for adults, $2 for students and children 12 and under are free.
On Monday, March 26, the girls and boys teams will tour the 15,000-square foot, 20-bedroom Ronald McDonald House located in the Skyway Building connected to Beacon Children’s Hospital as well as visit the children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
“This continues to be a great opportunity for Michiana community to see some of the best high school basketball players in our area,” said David Sparks, McDonald’s Owner/Operator. “The Games also give high school athletes the opportunity to give back and be a part of Ronald McDonald House Charities® and their efforts to provide a special place to comfort parents and families of critically ill or injured children from our area communities.”
“The past six events were a tremendous success,” said Ryne Lightfoot, head coach of the Bethel men’s basketball team. “It’s a wonderful way to showcase the terrific high school talent we have in the Michiana area, and it also provides these students with an opportunity to give back to our community.”
The Ronald McDonald House at Beacon Children’s Hospital provides the comforts of home to families of hospitalized children. For these families, the House is a place to step away for a little while, grab a shower, hot meal or some much needed rest. Families draw support from each other, and from the caring volunteers who help them through a truly difficult time in their lives.
Selected to play in the girls game were Bussard, Peterson, Feenstra, Payne, Diamond Adams (South Bend Washington), Tia Chambers (Penn), Sara Doi (Penn), Karlee Feldman (Bremen), Krisen Hunt (Elkhart Central), Cydney Lapcyznski (Elkhart Memorial), Morgan Litwiller (Northridge), Brooke McKinley (Northridge), Riley Ott (LaPorte), Sierra Peete (Elkhart Memorial), Mariah Plunkett (John Glenn), Mya Scheidt (Crown Point), Asia Strong (South Bend Riley), Keegan Sullivan (South Bend St. Joseph) and Meghan Urbanski (Mishawaka Marian).
Coaches for the girls teams will be Eric Gingerich, the women’s coach at Bethel College, and Kelsey Key, a women’s assistant coach at Bethel College.
Area players tabbed to play in the boys game include Gongwer, along with Nathan Aerts (Valparaiso), Damezi Anderson (South Bend Riley), Cade Albers (Westville), Noah Applegate (Penn), John Binion (Mishawaka), Ethan Brittain-Watts (CMA), Deontae Craig (CMA), Shamar Dillard (South Bend Riley), Trey Gallope (Elkhart Memorial), Jacob Good (LaVille), Rylen Grundy (South Bend Riley), Elijah Hales (Westview), Mike Hemingway (Mishawaka Marian), Clay Hilliard (Plymouth), Drew Lutz (Penn), Cory McKinney (South Bend Washington), Brandon Newman (Valparaiso), Weston Sage (Elkhart Christian), Luke Stephens (Fairfield), Luke Toliver (Paw Paw), Connor Utley (Northridge) and Charlie Yoder (Westview).
Coaching the boys teams will be Ryan Ehm, men’s junior varsity head basketball coach at Bethel College, and A;ex Daniel, men’s assistant basketball coach at Bethel College.