HNAC dominance: No. 1 Lady Comets win league title outright 2nd straight year

Jan. 6—FULTON — The Caston girls basketball team continued its dominance of the Hoosier North Athletic Conference with a 46-19 win over LaVille on Saturday afternoon.

The Class A No. 1 Comets (17-0, 7-0) completed a second straight perfect season in HNAC play. The closest game this year was a 14-point win over Winamac in the opener. The Comets have won 16 straight league games overall.

"That just shows how much this team works together and the core is so good," senior guard Isabel Scales said. "We lost two great players last year but we were able to come back and do it again this year."

"I'm proud of them," Caston coach Josh Douglass said. "Obviously it's always one of your goals at the beginning of the year is to win your conference or at least battle at the top. I'm super proud of the girls to be able to do it and be able to go back-to-back undefeated too."

It was the final HNAC game against LaVille as the Lancers (6-9, 1-3) are leaving for a bigger school conference starting next school year along with Knox.

Scales led the way with 20 points, nine rebounds and four steals. The Comets were balanced after her. Addison Zimpleman had six points and three assists. Macee Hinderlider and Olivia Thomas scored six points apiece. Madisyn Douglass had four points, four assists and three steals. Alexa Finke added four points and four rebounds.

"That's what we are," coach Douglass said. "Belle's led us most of the year, Addison has led us a few times, Madi's led us a couple times, Macee led us the other night. This team is well balanced. They don't care. They just want to win the game. They take what's available. When we're moving the ball like that great things happen for us."

The Comets led 14-7 after one. They outscored the Lancers 15-3 in the second to take a 29-10 lead into halftime. They led 37-17 lead after three before pushing the lead to 27 in the fourth.

"It was nice to be back home. We've been gone for awhile," said Scales, as it was the Comets' first home game since an 18-point win over North Judson on Dec. 7. "We struggled at the beginning, a little bit of a rough start, the normal, but we got back into it which was nice."

Caston and Class 3A No. 1 Rensselaer (17-0) are the lone remaining undefeated teams in the state.

The Comets are ranked No. 1 for the first time ever in girls basketball.

"Honestly I don't care. I don't like to know that stuff," Scales said. "I don't even know our record right now. Every game we have one game we have to win that day and that's all I think about. It's nice but at the same time it's not anything I really 'woo!' about."

Caston hosts No. 5 Bethany Christian (14-2) Friday night for senior night. It will be a 7 p.m. varsity-only start time. Senior night ceremonies start at 6:15.

The Comets have three more home games after that but are celebrating senior night Friday.

"We've been doing that, especially in girls basketball, because you don't get a chance to make it up and with our last game being on the road and with the weather you just don't know," coach Douglass said. "So you want to give yourselves ample opportunity to get that senior night in and these girls deserve it."

The Comets will honor their five seniors, Scales, Zimpleman, Hinderlider, Finke and Annie Harsh, and then take on the Bruins.

"I'm looking forward to it. I haven't watched any film on them yet," coach Douglass said. "Obviously they were the state runner-up last year and we wanted them on the schedule so we could see what it's like. They were there, they've been there, they have everybody back, so it's going to be a good test for us."

Scales is looking forward to the matchup with the Bethany Bruins.

"They're a good team. We're going to have to play well, play together," she said. "We can't gamble, we learned that today a little bit. In the first half once we gambled they scored off of it. We just have to play sound defense like we can and just play our ball."

The schedule toughens up for the Comets down the stretch as they have home games with Bethany Christian, last year's defending sectional champion Tri-County, North Miami and Class 2A No. 5 Carroll and a game at Bremen to close out the regular season.

"We're not going to have a game until sectionals that we win by probably over 10. But that's how you want it to be," Scales said. "You don't want to go into sectionals playing like a Culver. We need that competition to get us ready for that tournament even if we want to go farther into the tournament this year."