The Blazers had two eventful weekends to begin February and tournament time, first reclaiming the Great Lakes Conference title over the team they lost to last season, and then winning their third straight state homeschool title with another win against their crosstown rival.
The Blazers rolled through their three state tournament games, defeating Wabash Valley, Michiana, and the Indianapolis Wildcats by an average margin of 44 points. Gloria Brewer led the Blazers averaging 26 points a game. Skylar Allman put in 12.5 points per game, Katie Poer averaged 9.5 ppg, and Emmy Stieglitz 8.5 ppg
The state crown is the third in a row for the Blazers and the sixth in the last 9 years, including a 9-year run of making it to the state championship game.
On the first weekend in February, the Blazers executed their game plan nearly flawlessly, holding an explosive Cincinnati team to only 33 points en route to their 48-33 win in Cincinnati. Stephanie Richards led the Blazers’ balanced scoring attack with 13 points, Gloria Brewer with 11, and Skylar Allman and Katie Poer with 9 apiece. The win kept the Blazers undefeated for the second time in three years of conference play.
After a brutal four-game stretch where the Blazers faced established Indiana public school programs that ended with a 1-3 mark in that span, the Blazers returned to conference play and swept both games to set up a rematch with conference foe Cincinnati on February 3rd.
Against SWCHA, Junior Guard Stephanie Richards dropped in 19 points and Sophomore Guard Emmy Stieglitz added 10 in a convincing 56-13 win over the squad from Wisconsin.
In the weekend finale, the Blazers captured another overwhelming victory 57-22 over Crossroads Christian from Illinois. Gloria Brewer returned to form with 22 points to lead the Blazers, with Richards and Sophomore Katie Poer adding 8 apiece.
The victories improve the Blazers to 18-8 on the season, and sets up a rematch in Cincinnati with the only conference team to defeat the Blazers last season, the Cincinnati Trailblazers. The game will give the Blazers a chance to avenge their only Great Lakes Conference loss in the conference’s 3-year history that gave the conference crown to Cincy.
While the rest of the world was on break, the Indy Blazers competed in a full schedule of games and emerged with a 15-5 record and an unblemished conference standing through their first 20 games of the season.
In their first Great Lakes Conference Weekend, the Blazers overcame their long travel back from a tournament in South Carolina the day before to win two conference games, 67-45 over Kalamazoo (MI) and 58-49 over MCAC in the final contest. In the two conference games, Freshman Guard Gloria Brewer led the way with 34 points, Junior Guard Stephanie Richards added 32, Sophomore Katie Poer with 22, Junior Forward Jenna Blakley with 19, and Junior Emmy Stieglitz with 16. The wins improved the Blazers’ conference total to 3-0 with 3 games remaining in conference play.
The Blazers hit the holiday road over Christmas break, traveling to tournaments in Illinois and South Carolina to battle a slate of tough high school teams from across the nation. After the dust (and snowflakes) settled, the Blazers lost 4 of 5 games but showed themselves well in most games and gained valuable experience against top-notch competition.
The Blazers competed against Illinois public schools in the Libertyville Winter Tourney and came away with one win and three losses in the four-day tournament. Brewer led the Blazers with 59 points in four games, Blakley chipped in with 42, and Richards added 28.
Surprisingly, it was the tournament in South Carolina that was cut short because of severe winter weather. The Blazers were only able to play their first scheduled tournament game short-handed against Mountain Vista out of Colorado before Winter Storm Grayson forced the cancellation of their final two games. In their only game in Carolina, Blakley led the Blazers with 12 points.
IN PREVIOUS BLAZERS NEWS …
The Blazers won their 12th game in 13 tries this season, winning in the Shevonte Zealous Holiday Jam at Manual High School, knocking off the host team 76-58.
Gloria Brewer led the way with 28 points, opening on a torrid pace in the first quarter as she set a tournament record hitting all of her shots for 14 points. The team shot 13 for 15 in the first quarter and never looked back despite only having six players available.
Stephanie Richards added 16, Jenna Blakley 11, and Katie Poer chipped in 10.
The Blazers compete in the Libertyville Illinois Holiday Tournament December 26-29th, before traveling to Hilton Head, South Carolina, for a prestigious New Year Tournament.
In another impressive tournament showing, the Indy Blazer
s defended their home state in the Border Battle against Michigan teams, going undefeated in the three-game stretch and winning a record 250th game for head coach Tim Jensen.
The Blazers won by an average margin of 34 points against CHAP, Hudsonville, and Michiana. With pressure defense and a balanced scoring attack, the Blazers were led by Skylar Allman with 38 points in the three games, Gloria Brewer averaged 12 ppg with 36, Jenna Blakley posted 31 points, Stephanie Richards had 29, Emmy Stieglitz added 20, Katie Poer 19, and Lydia Rhoads with 13.
December saw the Indy Blazers begin a run of four tournaments. In their first tourney of December, they won their third straight Crossroads Clash Tournament with two convincing wins, ironically against the same two teams they defeated in the Tipoff Classic earlier this season.
In the first round, the Blazers won handily over the Wabash Valley Warriors 73-25, and in the Championship Game recorded a 63-15 victory to move to 7-1 on the season.
8th Grader Gloria Brewer led the Blazers in scoring with 42 in the tournament, including 26 in the title game. Junior Stephanie Richards was second on the team in scoring with 32, including 20 in the opener. In all, five different Blazers notched double figures in a game in the tourney.
The Indy Blazers set the mark for most points scored in a game in the program’s history, putting 90 points on the board agains IHSAA 1-A Indiana School for the Deaf in a 90-46 win in November.
A balanced scoring attack was led by 8th Grader Gloria Brewer, who poured in 23 points with 6 steals and 5 rebounds. Junior Skylar Allman added 19 points, 7 assists, and 7 steals. Sophomore Katie Poer had a career-high 18 points. And Junior Stephanie Richards tallied 16 points. The win avenged losses the past two seasons to ISD, both on the last possession of the game. The Blazers improve to 5-1 on the season and will return to the court after Thanksgiving break.
The high point total of 90 eclipsed the previous mark of 86 points set twice in the past 5 years.
BLAZERS FINISH SECOND IN NATIONAL TIPOFF
The Indy Blazers advanced to their second straight tournament final to open this season, only this time they fell to the country’s top-ranked team in the tourney title game to fall to 4-1.
After starting the 2017-18 campaign with four straight wins, the Blazers matched up with the #1 ranked team in girls homeschool basketball and the defending undisputed national champion MHEA Eagles out of Memphis.
Despite a game that was in single digits with 7 minutes remaining, the young Blazers could’t make up the difference against a Senior-laden Eagles team that boasted the defending national player of the year, falling 49-33 in the Little Rock Tipoff Tournament.
The Blazers moved to 4-0 earlier in the tourney, dominating in the opener against Jackson, Mississippi, 69-12, and prevailing in the tournament semifinals with a 59-40 win against the St. Louis Patriettes.
The Blazers will have the next week off before looking to avenge two tough defeats against the Indiana School for the Deaf, an IHSAA team they have lost to the past two seasons on the final possession.
The 2017-18 model of the Indy Blazers opened defense of their 1A National Title in October with a completely new look but the same results. The Blazers cruised to a 67-16 win over the Wabash Valley Warriors in their first game in the inaugural Tipoff Tournament in Lafayette. Junior Skylar Allman led the Blazers with 14 points, 8th Grader Gloria Brewer put in 13, Junior Jenna Blakley had 11, and Sophomore Katie Poer added 10 to move to 1-0 on the year.
In the tournament title game, Brewer tallied a triple double and led all players with 20 points in leading the Blazers to a 57-20 win over the Indy Wildcats. Allman had 16, and Blakley added 12 to stay perfect on the young season.
. There’s a noticeable absence of any Seniors for what is believed to be the first time in program history. Some familiar faces. Some new. But the Blazers expect to continue the excellence the program has maintained the past decade on the court with a winning combination of veterans, newcomers, and their all-time winning coach.
Gone are the program’s all-time assist leader and second-leading scorer, 1,000 point/500 rebound center, and their other starting guard from the squad that won the program’s first official Gold Ball last season and garnered multiple national honors.
But the Blazers’ team motto from several years ago holds true again: “We don’t rebuild, we reload.” The Blazers return four program veterans each with three years of Varsity experience and over 100 starts between them.
Junior Jenna Blakley was selected to the 2017 National All-Sophomore First Team and was selected the National Sophomore Newcomer of the Year. Sophomore Katie Poer returns after being named to the 2017 National All Freshmen Third Team. And two fellow underclassmen, Lydia Rhoads and Emmy Stieglitz, will bring multiple years of experience in the Blazers Varsity program in expanded roles this season. The four veteran Blazers have tallied over 1,600 points and 1,000 rebounds in their careers already.
Several program transfers (Allman, Brewer, Richards) will also help to replace the backcourt and some of the scoring that graduated after last season. And the one constant the past ten seasons has been head coach Tim Jensen, who enters his tenth campaign as the Blazers coach with a program-record 241 victories.