PREP HOOPS: Sylare Starks, Carissa Garcia and Sydney Freeman all earn Indiana Junior All-Star spots

Homestead junior Sylare Starks brings the ball up the court in a loss to Carmel. (Photo by Justin Kenny of
Concordia junior Carissa Garcia handles the ball during a November 7, 2017 game at Concordia against Bellmont. (Photo by Dan Vance of
Central Noble junior Sydney Freeman takes the ball to the basket by Frankton's Addie Gardner during semi state at Logansport. (Photo by Dan Vance of

The Indiana Junior All-Star teams were announced late Tuesday afternoon with three area players being part of the 24 junior girls named by the IBCA. Homestead’s Sylare Starks, Concordia Lutheran’s Carissa Garcia and Central Noble’s Sydney Freeman will all take part with the team this year.

Six players make up the group of core all-stars with six more players each from the North, Central and South regions. Three games will be played by junior all-stars either against the Kentucky Junior All-Stars or the Indiana Senior All-Stars with the core group playing in all three games, being joined by a different regional group for each game.

Days removed from leading Central Noble to a Class 2A state title, Freeman was named to the North group.

“It’s just amazing,” Freeman said. “Growing up I always looked up to Karissa Mclaughlin and those girls so just being apart of it is just unreal.”

Freeman averaged 17.4 points per game along with 5.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 4.9 steals and 2.1 blocks while breaking the school’s all-time girls basketball scoring record. She led the Cougars in each of those statistical categories other than rebounds.

Joining Freeman on the North group at Tai-Yanna Jackson of East Chicago Central, Morgan Litwiller of Northridge, Riley Ott of LaPorte and Emma and Sophia Nolan of Marquette Catholic.

Homestead’s Starks and Concordia Lutheran’s Garcia will team up again as part of the Central group.

Starks averaged 18 points per game at Homestead, leading the Spartans to the Summit Athletic Conference regular season title. She also averaged three assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 88 percent from the free throw line

“All glory goes to God for real, this is such an amazing honor. This shows that hard work pays off,” Starks said.

Garcia led the Cadets to a Sectional title scoring 20.1 points per game and shooting 45 percent from three point range. Garcia also averaged a team high 2.3 steals per game and was second on the team in rebounding (5.2/game) and assists (2.4/game).

“Being selected as an Indiana Junior All Star is a dream come true. It feels amazing to be able to represent my school and city in this way,” Garcia said. “I am so thankful for this opportunity, and I would not be here without the support from my family, friends and coaches.”

Joining Starks and Garcia on the Central group are Jordyn Barga of Monroe Central, Cyndi Dodd of Warren Central, Amaya Hamilton of Hamilton Southeasten and Cameron Tabor of New Castle.

The North and Central teams will play on June 2 against the Kentucky juniors and June 6 against the Indiana seniors but it is unknown at this time which group will play which opponent or where either game will take place.

The core group of all-stars is made up of Bedford North Lawrence’s Jorie Allen, Warren Central’s Shaila Beeler, North Central’s Rikki Harris, North Harrison’s Lilly Hatton, Zionsville’s Maddie Nolan and Michigan City’s Hannah Noveroske. The South group is Addy Blackwell of Bloomington South, Trinity Brady of Lawrence North, Savaya Brockington of North Central, Kinnidy Garrard of Pike, Makinzi Meurer of North Knox and Grace Waggoner of Vincennes Rivet.

The Junior All-Star team is determined by the 20-member Indiana Basketball Coaches Association all-state panel in conjunction with its selection of the IBCA/Subway Underclass All-State Team. The selection process allows all IBCA-member head coaches to nominate players through the IBCA all-state process. Representatives from 16 regional areas from across the state, three district representatives from the three IHSAA districts (one each from District 1, District 2 and District 3) and the committee chair then meet to review the nominations, vote and finalize the selections.