The featured image is of(2023) and (2023) of Fishers High School.
Monday, November 1, the 2022-2023 season began, as more than 90 teams from all over Indiana played their first games of this new season. Having finished all of the preview articles in Classes 1A, 2A, and 3A, who are the best teams in Class 4A for the 2022-2023 season? Below I have attempted to answer that question as best as possible. This preseason outlook is based solely on how I think teams will stack up this season. Past success isn’t meaningless, but year-in and year-out rosters change, players graduate, Freshmen arrive, and other players transfer. Teams can slide up or down the competitive scale for any number of other reasons as well. Disclaimer: I realize the season is already underway, and some of the teams below might have already lost a game, but I decided to stick with the preseason rankings I prepared for this article a couple of weeks ago. This is an outlook for the duration of the season, not just those one or two games that have already been played.
CLASS 4A PRESEASON POLL
1. South Bend Washington (27-3, Class 3A State Champion in 2021-2022)
The Lady Panthers have already proven that they can win big games on the biggest of stages, so moving up to Class 4A should be somewhat of a formality for them. Will they win state? There are obviously no guarantees, but with six players on their roster holding Division-I offers and/or already committed to Division-I schools, they are certainly one of the most talented teams in recent memory. The Panthers did graduate forward Mila Reynolds (21.5p, 8.1r), who is now playing at the University of Maryland, along with classmates Shamarah Allen (5.7p, 3.2r) and Lauren Gillon (2.5p, 2.5r), but they are still extremely talented and fairly well-balanced. Senior point guards (11.6p, 4.2r, 3.8a, 3.2s) and (9.2p, 5.2r, 4.9a, 2.8s) will undoubtedly lead this group this year. Jones is one of the best on-ball defenders I’ve seen in girls’ hoops, and she can act as a one-player press at times. She is extremely quick and athletic, and she has tirelessly worked on her skillset. At 6-0, the middle Reynolds sister is a long, fluid, and smooth matchup problem for opponents. She has great vision and passing ability, and she sacrifices her own scoring much of the time to help the team run like a well-oiled machine. Jones is committed to Purdue University, while Reynolds is committed to the University of Maryland. 6-3 Sophomore forward (10.2p, 10.0r, 2.2a, 4.7b) will likely see her numbers improve with her oldest sister now graduated. As a rookie, she was the rim protector and an intimidating defensive presence, but look for her to leave more of an offensive mark on this team moving forward. Fellow Sophomores (6.5p, 2.7r, 3.3s), a guard, and (5.6p, 4.4r), a forward, saw plenty of action as Freshmen, and both look to contribute a great deal more in Year-2. Wilson is another ball-hawking defender and nice athlete, while Mitchell is a run-and-jump kid with length and a relentless motor. A pair of Sophomore move-ins could help bolster the frontline this season as well. 5-11 forward comes to Washington from nearby South Bend Clay, and she is already contributing early this season as a strong rebounder/defender type. 6-1 forward Zion Belcher-Arill arrives from Grand Rapids Christian in Michigan. She has size, skill, and ability, so whenever she eventually takes the floor for the Panthers, they will be that much stronger. There are certainly a handful of teams who can knock off the Lady Panthers, but don’t be surprised if you see South Bend Washington at Gainbridge Fieldhouse once again in February of 2023.
2. Fishers (20-5)
If there is a team that can match the depth of South Bend Washington, the Fishers Tigers might be that team. They have tremendous guard depth and can exploit teams with pressure defense, transition offense, and toughness. They will certainly be one of the best teams in the state this year, and an absolutely fun watch. The Lady Tigers didn’t graduate anyone from last year’s team, so they maintain their consistency from a year ago. But when you talk about Fishers, you must start with “the twins”. Seniors (10.4p, 6.3r, 2.8a) and (9.4p, 5.1r) have been a thorn in the side of opponents for three years already, and they might have a lot of opposing coaches applauding them on graduation day next Spring. In the meantime, the pair of Ball State University commits are intense, tough-nosed, in-your-face defenders who play with a big city toughness. They are always on attack, whether offensively or defensively. Junior guard (8.7p) and Senior guard (6.4p) are a pair of combo guards who, while they might not be the tallest, they too are incredibly feisty, tough-nosed, and aggressive at both ends of the floor. Junior point guard (5.7p, 4.2r) had a really nice grassroots season and continues to develop her game as she gains strength. She could be a breakout player for the Tigers in 2022-2023. Sophomore guard (1.1p) is another budding youngster who has earned more opportunity this season, as she is an aggressive multilevel scorer. Senior forward (6.0p, 5.2r) moved in from Charleston, Illinois, last year and gave the Tigers quite a boost with some height, length, and athleticism. She has already committed to Walsh University. Junior forward (3.5p, 3.8r) also offers height, length, and a tremendous motor, and she’ll provide a little bit of everything, while Sophomore forward brings strength, athleticism, and a lot of upside/potential in her first Varsity season. She, too, could be a breakout performer for the Tigers. And if that isn’t enough, Junior wing (3.2p) and Sophomore wing (4.2p) are also impactful returnees. Roberts is a long, fluid lefty who can bury shots with range, while Carter is an instinctive player with a knack for scoring the ball at all levels. As you can see, it will be tough to match up with Fishers, because they can come at you from all angles.
3. Bedford North Lawrence (24-3, Regional Finalist in 2021-2022)
When you watch the Stars play, it’s really easy to get caught up in Senior (15.0p, 3.8r, 2.8a, 3.0s) and Junior (16.2p, 6.2r, 2.1a), they are outstanding ballplayers, and I’ll get to them in a moment. But this program is successful year-in and year-out because they have players throughout their roster who just understand how to play, and especially understand how to play the way they want to play within their program. Now, back to those two aforementioned guards. Norman is a dynamic point guard, a vocal leader on the court, with great vision and understanding of the game. She can make shots, and with range, but her true value comes from her leadership and grittiness that teammates feed off of. She has already committed to Butler University, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s a top Miss Basketball vote-getter by season’s end. Spreen is another nice talent, a smooth and athletic multilevel scorer, and she has done a really nice job of building her skillset to be one of the best in the state. She can handle and create, but she’s so good at scoring the ball in a variety of ways and being able to make different types of shots. Those two could easily average 40 points between them, if they wanted to. Junior guard (7.0p, 4.3r, 3.2a, 3.0s) helps solidify the backcourt with another strong ball-handler who plays with a nice motor. She has developed her game nicely as well over the last couple of years. 5-9 Senior wing Mallory Pride (6.1p, 5.3r) is someone we don’t get to see on the grassroots circuit, so not many people are as familiar with her, but she has nice length, a wiry-strong frame, and she plays with effort. 5-11 Senior post Emma Crane (1.4p) is the only other player who returns with more than 20 games under her belt, but she provides a strong, physical presence inside. 6-1 Senior post Katie Baumgart could be another strong frontcourt presence this season, while 6-0 Freshman Ellie Tillet also has the potential to impact this roster sooner rather than later. Additionally, Brownsburg transfer Katie Godlevske, a 5-6 guard, could be another option on the perimeter.
4. Zionsville Community (16-7)
In one of the toughest Sectionals in the state, and playing a short bench, the Eagles can be overlooked at times. However, the six players they’ll focus on in their primary rotation are all strong ballplayers, and they have one of the best talents in the state, regardless of class. Senior forward (20.3p, 9.6r, 2.3a, 2.3s) is back to finish her career with some hardware. She is an incredibly athletic, hard-working, and skillful inside-out forward who can dominate the boards at times, score anywhere inside a 15-foot bubble, plus she has become much more consistent knocking down the 3-pointer and attacking from the perimeter to finish at the rim. She recently made a commitment to the University of North Carolina, and I would consider her a Miss Basketball candidate in 2023. Fellow Seniors (4.7p, 4.2r) and (2.0p in 9 games) will help solidify the frontcourt for the Lady Eagles. Heerdt has strength and power, she works hard, and she’s willing to be physical, but she also has skill facing the basket and touch to the 3-point line. Coleman is a long, wiry-strong, run-and-jump athlete who has drastically improved her game over the past 12-18 months. She should be the first frontline sub off the bench this season. Around the perimeter, it’s a host of Juniors who take care of the ball. Guard (11.6p, 2.6r, 3.0a), wing (9.3p, 2.3r), and point guard (6.5p, 3.3r, 2.3a) return and give Zionsville a high skill level, along with a nice understanding of the game. Caldwell is an accurate shooter with a natural feel for the game. Haan is a tough-nosed, never-quit, high-motor/energy type of player who can score it consistently. Leedy also brings toughness and physicality to the backcourt, while also taking care of the basketball and knocking down open shots. From there, options aren’t limited, just inexperienced. 5-7 Junior wing Marissa Koschnick has seen action in more than 10 games, but 6-2 Junior post , 5-9 Junior forward Charlotte Hanson, 5-11 Sophomore forward Caroline Sampson, and 5-7 Sophomore guard Macey Ring will be seeing the most action they ever have, rounding out this roster in 2022-2023.
5. Hamilton Southeastern (14-8)
The Royals of Hamilton Southeastern will be an interesting mix of a strong Senior class, plus a number of Sophomores and Freshmen stepping into key roles. Their experience and depth should help them contend with anyone statewide, but getting the youngsters acquainted with the Varsity level quickly will be key as to whether or not that depth can help them in February. Senior wing (17.1p, 3.9r) is the returning leading scorer from a year ago. She has nice height, length, and she plays with aggression offensively. She can knock down open perimeter shots, but she also looks to attack the basket aggressively and make plays off the dribble. She has committed to play at Butler University next season. Senior point guard (9.0p, 5.4r, 8.3a, 4.5s) is as selfless as they come from the point position. She has elite vision and tremendous feel for the game, plus she can nearly rival (above; South Bend Washington) in terms of being a high-level on-ball defender. Brown is always steady and confident, and she makes this group go. She will play at the University of Akron next year. Seniors (3.9p) and (3.5p, 3.7r) have always been two of the hardest workers on any team they’ve been on. They play bigger than they are, battle for boards, dive on the floor for loose balls, plus show nice skillsets and an understanding of the game. Acres is committed to play at Huntington University. As for the younger players, Sophomore wing (13.4p, 2.9r) is the veteran of the group. She is a high-level talent, and she started and contributed in a big way as a rookie. She is smooth, fluid, and a dangerous perimeter shooter with a quick release. Sophomore forward has seen a little action in the past, but she can provide some strength, energy, and versatility to the frontcourt. Freshman point guard and Freshman forward look to make their mark immediately. Holman is a long, wiry player who is still growing. She has a solid handle, great quickness, and she can really defend. Stidham is a strong, skillful forward who can shoot it consistently from the perimeter. Once the youngsters adjust to the speed of the Varsity game, watch out for the Royals in February.
6. Fort Wayne Northrop (15-8)
With a number of new and talented players on their Varsity roster, the Bruins of Northrop have catapulted into the Top-10 to begin the 2022-2023 season. At the same time, they do return a number of quality ballplayers as well. Senior twins (15.4p, 10.5r, 2.5a, 3.0s) and (13.4p, 6.4r, 2.9a, 3.6s, 2.8b) are both committed to Valparaiso University, and they bring back a mixture of talent and skill. Both can play a wing role, even a point forward role at times, while they’re also terribly effective in the mid-post. Also back is Junior guard (4.2p), who brings length, athleticism, and a nice motor to the court. 5-5 Junior guard Niya Bell (3.8p) can also give quality minutes to the backcourt rotation. The Bruins did graduate guards Amanda Thatcher (10.0p, 3.7r, 2.4a, 2.8s) and J’Asia Scott (7.2p, 4.5r, 2.9a, 4.2s), but the newcomers should more than make up for their production. Junior wings (15.8p, 5.5r, 3.2s) and (9.0p, 3.2r, 2.1a) bring immediate star power to the roster. Each has Division-I offers/interest, and they can affect the game in a variety of ways. Craig comes from Fort Wayne Snider, and she is an absolute bulldog of a player. She is tough, physical, and plays with a nonstop motor. Castator is a long, tall, fluid wing who can knock down shots outside, or she can act as a facilitator and find open teammates. She transferred in from Carroll (Fort Wayne) this Fall. 6-2 Senior post is seeing her first action in a Varsity uniform, despite transferring in over a year ago, due to transfer restrictions. She is originally from Mona Shores in Michigan, and she has committed to play at Findlay University. She’ll bring size, strength, and physicality to the frontcourt. Freshman wing also looks to contribute immediately, and she is the younger sister to Saniya and Nevaeh. She has skill and ability, tremendous potential, and she continues to improve on a daily basis. As you can see, the Lady Bruins will have size, talent, and skill to consider, whether it’s in their starting lineup, or coming off of the bench.
7. Ben Davis (15-10, Regional Finalist in 2021-2022)
The Lady Giants finished the 2021-2022 regular season just 12-9 and with a 60-57 regular season loss to Pike on January 15. They then put together a nice postseason run, capped by a 3OT victory over those same Red Devils in the Sectional Championship, before making it to the Regional Final. For an encore, they look to be even better from the start of the season this year. They did graduate Johnai Wimbleduff (11.1p, 3.2r), Kansas Robinson (6.4p, 5.2r, 2.6s), and London Brooks (2.9p), plus Junior wing (3.8p, 3.3r) transferred to a prep school. But they have a lot coming back, plus they welcome a talented Freshman class. Back in the fold is 2022 Indiana Junior All-Star post (11.4p, 10.2r). She has always possessed good size and athleticism, but now she’s starting to make herself much more effective at the offensive end of the floor. She is committed to play at Miami University (Ohio) next year. Joining her up front is Senior forward (10.6p, 8.6r, 2.1s), one of the best athletes in the state, regardless of class. She is long, wiry-strong, bouncy, and she plays with toughness inside. Senior wings (6.0p, 3.1r, 2.3a, 2.0s) and (3.0p, 2.2a) have a great deal of experience, and both can handle it some, score it at different levels, and each is a solid defender. 5-5 guard Hermoni Andrew and 5-8 wing Zoe Wheeler (1.1p) are a pair of Juniors who can help around the perimeter, while 5-4 guard is yet another Senior in the mix for playing time. Junior forward had a nice grassroots season and she’ll help provide frontcourt depth, while Freshmen , Laila Brown, and Aleia Sultzer all look to see the floor early and often this season. The Giants have something most teams don’t, and that’s legitimate size inside, plus the willingness to play with an inside-out approach.
8. Franklin Community (28-2, Class 4A State Runner-Up in 2021-2022)
On the surface, it’s easy to look at this Grizzly Cubs roster and notice that Ashlyn Traylor (17.3p, 5.9r, 2.5a, 3.2s), Kuryn Brunson (13.7p, 4.3r, 2.9a, 2.1s), and Adelyn Walker (8.1p, 2.1r, 2.0a) are missing from a year ago…the first two graduated, the third transferred to a prep school in Arizona. Two seasons ago, in 2020-2021, they didn’t yet have Traylor or Walker on the roster (they moved in before the 2021-2022 season), and they rattled off a 22-3 season that finished with a Semi-State appearance, while Brunson played alongside a number of Freshmen at that time. Well, those Freshmen are now Juniors, and they have some tools of their own, along with some running ‘mates capable of helping them win 20+ games once again this season. Statistically, the top returnees include Junior forward (6.9p, 3.6r), Junior wing (6.6p, 4.8r), and Junior guard (5.1p, 2.8r, 2.4a). Buening is a tough-nosed, hard-working, and versatile inside-out forward, and she was one of those who saw action as a Freshman two years ago. However, Kimbrell (11.0p, 5.6r in 2020-2021) and Klem (11.0p, 3.0r, 2.1a in 2020-2021) were much more productive and tied for second on the team in scoring two years ago as rookies. Kimbrell is a long, wiry-strong, dangerous perimeter shooter with “in the gym” range, while Klem can also put it up from all over, but she’s incredibly quick, fast, and feisty, and she plays with a real savvy to her game. I’d expect to see the two of them back into more of a comfort zone this season, especially if they return to leadership positions once again. Also returning with a great deal of experience are Senior wing (4.1p, 2.7r) and Junior front-liner (3.3p, 2.4r). Jochim is yet another deep shooter, but she can also play effectively in the mid-post, while York is a skillful forward who operates best in the mid-post and the short corners. The Grizzly Cubs will hurt teams with their ability to spread the floor, exhaust defenses, and control tempo. They will be a dangerous and difficult matchup come tourney time.
9. Lawrence Central (12-11)
From a sheer talent standpoint, the Lady Bears are as talented one through four as just about anyone in the state. Whether they can build the necessary depth to survive a long season and battle their schedule’s toughest opponents will be key to their postseason success. Gone from last year’s team are Tori Smiley (13.8p) and Montasia McAllister (7.7p, 3.8r, 2.5a), both graduates, plus Juniors and who each transferred to Warren Central. Still, though, they are undoubtedly talented, and it starts with sisters (16.2p, 6.1r, 2.1a, 2.0s) and . Both are top national prospects in their respective classes, and both have already accumulated numerous high-major Division-I offers. Jaylah is a Sophomore wing, and she can fulfill a variety of roles, whether that’s to facilitate, shoot, or score, plus she’s a versatile defender who can take on a variety of perimeter players at her size. Freshman sister Lola is even bigger, stronger, and more of an inside-out threat. She can use her frame to play around the block, but she’s great in the mid-post, and she’s a capable ball-handler in transition who does a nice job of making plays off the bounce. What should also help the Lady Bears is getting a full season from Sophomore playmaker (10.6p, 2.4r). She missed most of her Freshman year rehabbing from a knee injury she suffered during the Summer of 2021. She is a strong, tough-nosed, dynamic, and athletic point guard. Also keep an eye out for Freshman forward . I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but she is one of my favorite players to watch because she has an incredible motor, athleticism, and skill. She’s the type of kid who helps you win games. 6-2 Junior post (4.6p, 4.5r) also continues to develop her game, and she could be much more impactful this season. From there, depth is a bit limited. 6-0 Senior post Taniyah Williams, plus 5-7 Sophomore forward Melaya Hughes and 5-10 Sophomore forward Janiyah Russell can help provide frontcourt depth. 6-1 Sophomore post Jessica Heavener is another potential option in the pivot.
10. Lake Central (24-4, Regional Finalist in 2021-2022)
Lake Central had an impressive 2021-2022 season, and they did so with a number of Sophomores and Freshmen playing critical roles. Their two graduation losses consisted of Essence Johnson (4.8p, 5.0r, 2.2a, 2.0s) and Katelyn Zajeski (3.8p, 3.5r), so they return a great deal of their production and should have a nice two-year run in them, at the very least. The Junior class is strong at the top, as wing (14.0p, 5.0r, 2.2s) and guard (11.0p, 2.9r) were their top two scorers a season ago. Bishop is a long, extremely athletic point forward type who is great at making plays out in the open floor. Milausnic is a combo guard with a dynamic handle and playmaking ability, plus she has a dangerous jumper with deep range. Both should be in leadership positions again this year. Wing (4.5p, 2.0r) is another Junior who saw plenty of action last year. She, too, is a really nice athlete, a high-level defensive player, and she plays with a nonstop motor. Additionally, Junior point guard (8.2p, 2.5r, 3.2a) transferred in from Merrillville and gives them yet another skillful, water-bug type of creator. She is also a feisty defender. Other Juniors include front-liner (1.2p in 6 games), front-liner Milica Lukic, and wing Claudia Vasic. The Sophomore class boasts four individuals who will also help the fight this season. Point guard (8.5p, 3.5r, 3.4a, 3.3s) saw the most action, and she is their primary ball-handler and a dynamic playmaker who can create, score, and defend. Sophomore forward (6.4p, 3.8r) also started last year, and she is an effortful worker who plays much bigger than she is and battles inside for them. At the same time, she has some skill on the wing and can stretch defenses with the occasional 3-pointer. Wing (2.9p) and guard also strive for a bigger role in this year’s rotation, and both are capable of just that. Soria is a shooter who plays hard all the time, while Leonard is a long, fluid, and smooth point guard who sees the floor well.
15 MORE TO KEEP AN EYE ON:
Center Grove (13-10)
Columbia City (20-3)
Crown Point (24-4, Regional Champion in 2021-2022)
East Central (22-5, Sectional Champion in 2021-2022)
Fort Wayne Snider (20-4, Regional Finalist in 2021-2022)
Homestead (23-2, Sectional Champion in 2021-2022)
Jennings County (17-7)
Noblesville (25-4, Class 4A State Champion in 2021-2022)
Penn (19-7, Sectional Champion in 2021-2022)
Warren Central (11-9)