FORT WAYNE – Two days of tryouts didn’t seem to be enough to select the Indiana teams for the 21st annual Nancy Rehm/Border Wars, but two will have to do.
Coaches Randy Hawkins and Dave Miller made the difficult choices Thursday among a deep talent pool for the 12-member boys and girls all-star basketball teams that will represent northeast Indiana in its annual grudge match against the best from northwest Ohio on April 27.
It was definitely tough, said Hawkins, the boys coach at Norwell. It is very deep, and you wish you could take more but you can’t. You look in the days you have, and you look at the chemistry, and you look at how they play together, and the things we need as far as the 12 guys.
It would have been great to have more than two days, but you can see things in two days. We let them scrimmage a lot and show their talents.
The tryout sessions were held Tuesday and Thursday at Saint Francis.
When you have good kids coming in and the area is rich in talent then it becomes a very difficult thing to narrow it down to 12, and that’s what it became (Thursday), said Miller, the girls coach at Concordia. Everybody did a great job, and it was a difficult decision.
The boys team includes Northrop’s twin superstar guards Bryson and Brenton Scott, who are headed to Purdue and Indiana State.
Bryson is an Indiana All-Star in the games against Kentucky. The talent doesn’t end there, with Ryan Gross and Thomas Starks from Class 3A state runner-up Concordia, Nick Gamble and Seth Coate from Homestead and Drew Benedict and Daniel Woll from Columbia City.
We have a lot of talent on the team, Hawkins said. The two tryouts we have had, the guys were out there giving it their all and 100 percent effort, so I don’t think that will be a problem at all.
The ability on the girls’ side starts with South Side’s Ariana Simmons, an Indiana All-Star and a member of the Class 4A state runner-up, and Archers teammate DeJoyah Johnson.
In addition, there are Bailey Farley and Aaliyah Gaines from Class A state champion Canterbury.
This has been a great experience, and I get to see how we can intervene and become a whole, Simmons said of the tryouts. The chemistry is there, and everybody already seems to know everybody else.
The girls team has six Division I recruits in Simmons (IPFW), Farley (Loyola-Chicago), Gaines (Eastern Illinois), Warsaw’s Lindsay Baker (Toledo), Leo’s Keanna Gary (Akron) and West Noble’s Haley Richardson (Ball State).
Now we get to put them together for the next week and see how everything shakes out, but I am liking them, Miller said.
The Nancy Rehm/Border Wars Classic is co-sponsored by The Journal Gazette and McDonald’s.