40 area prep basketball players named IBCA Academic All-State

Woodlan senior Aaron Hahn looks for an opening in the Angola defense during a February 27 Sectional game against Angola at New Haven High School.(Photo by Dan Vance of The News-Sentinel)

The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association released their Academic All-State team on Wednesday, with 40 area players helping make up a list of 430 players state wide to be honored as either part of the 75 named IBCA Academic All-State First Team or the 355 additional given Honorable Mention.

First selected in 1973, the IBCA Academic All-State team is a program where academic prowess and athletic prowess both are considered in the selections. Items such as grade-point average, college board scores and academic class rank are considered along with athletic performance.

Six area boys were part of the Academic All-State First Team: Woodlan’s Aaron Hahn, Bishop Dwenger’s John Henry Reith, Canterbury’s Keegan McArdle, DeKalb’s Logan Kruse, Eastside’s Caleb Ballentine and Hamilton’s Marshall Beard.

Area girls placed four on the IBCA Academic All-State First Team: DeKalb’s Leigha Brown, Huntington North’s Rileigh Johnson and Bishop Dwenger’s Ellen Ross and Caitlyn Ryan.

Additional players given Academic All-State Honorable Mention on the boys side: Kyle Arnold (Adams Central), Boone Bacon (DeKalb), Zach Brazel (Central Noble), Issac Brown (DeKalb), Drew Devers (East Noble), Braxton Dial (Central Noble), Onye Ezeakudo (Homestead), Nathan Fish (Carroll), Mitchell Geller (Huntington North), Holton Hill (Jay County), Max Moser (Jay County), Brandon Nicholson (Norwell), Grant Raber (Homestead), Cole Stigleman (Jay County), Reece Swoverland (Carroll) and Kyle Zurbuch (Blackhawk Christian).

Additional players given Academic All-State Honorable Mention on the girls side: Hollyn Anderson (Huntington North), Alyssa Burchett (Bluffton), Ali Cranston (Angola), Liz German (Prairie Heights), Libby Hetler (Concordia Lutheran), Hannah Koch (Concordia Lutheran), Karmen Koch (Huntington North), Calyssa Lehman (South Adams), Faith Lewis (DeKalb), Erica Linker (Fremont), Paige Patterson (Concordia Lutheran), Regan Peppler (Angola), Sophia Pierce (Leo) and Lauren Selking (Homestead).

“The quality of these student-athletes shows that success in academics and success in athletics are not separate entities,” IBCA executive director Steve Witty said. “Rather, in many cases, a player’s success in the classroom directly contributes to his or her success on the floor.”

IBCA-member head coaches from schools across the state may nominate their seniors who meet criteria that include a 3.5 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale, a class rank in the upper 25 percent of one’s class, an SAT score of 1,100 (on the reading and math sections) or an ACT score of 24. Once nominations are received, an IBCA committee reviews the information and determines awards for first team and honorable mention.