FORT WAYNE – Kindell Fincher and Sydney Buck teamed up in a major way to represent their state Sunday.
The girls basketball standouts made for quite the duo, relishing their time together before becoming competitors in the Big East.
Fincher, headed to Xavier, scored 21 points and Buck, Butler-bound, had 19 to lead the Indiana team to a 90-75 rout of Ohio’s all-stars in the Nancy Rehm/Border Wars Classic.
It’s a great experience playing with her, Fincher said. She played great defense. She shot really well. She was just a great teammate, all in all.
Buck, a guard from Homestead, looks forward to facing Canterbury’s award-winning forward at the next level.
It will be fun, Buck said. She always plays well. I really enjoyed playing with her.
Together, they powered an overwhelming offensive attack that drew the Indiana girls to 10-12 in the 22-year history of the event, played at Saint Francis’ Hutzell Athletic Center.
South Side’s Juanita Goodwell, who coached the Indiana team, acknowledged that trailing in the all-time series was a motivating factor in her group’s dominant performance.
As a competitor, you’ve got to want to win, Goodwell said. I put those numbers out there in front of the girls.
Apparently, they had some effect, because Fincher, Buck and Co. ran away with it.
A shining mini-sequence from Fincher provided an early 21-18 edge.
After putting back her own miss, she swatted a shot and stole the ensuing inbounds pass at the other end, then made two free throws after being fouled on the fastbreak.
She had her hands on like every ball in a three-minute span, Goodwell said with awe.
Buck scored seven unanswered points – a 3-pointer, a pullup and two free throws – to end the half with Indiana in front 44-35.
Bishop Luers’ Addie Reimold scored with 13:24 left to make it 59-48. A few possessions later, Fincher’s three-point play made it 67-49.
After the Ohio team fell behind by 23, a 10-0 run cut it to 74-61 with more than five minutes remaining.
We knew we had to keep playing defense and just hit some free throws, Buck said.
They did, of course, and the rally was snuffed quickly.
One of the few bright spots for Ohio was IPFW recruit Keshyra McCarver, who had a game-high 22 points. Nine of those came at the foul line.
Once I know where my opponent is, I can beat them, she said. I’m very strong. A player close enough, I can beat any day.
This day belonged to Buck and Fincher, who also had 10 rebounds and was named the game MVP.
Goodwell believes they can be stars in college, too, setting off four years of head-to-head duels.
I really do, Goodwell said. They have the skill sets that can make that happen.