Jan. 25—ROYAL CENTER — It was senior night for Pioneer star Ashlynn Brooke Tuesday night and she put on a show for the fans.
The 5-foot-7 guard delivered a monster statline of 38 points, 12 steals, five rebounds and five assists as the Panthers demolished Winamac 65-27.
Her senior night was originally scheduled for Thursday against Southwood, but with a snowstorm coming Wednesday the senior night festivities were moved to Tuesday against Winamac.
"I'm super grateful knowing that we might not play Thursday, I was glad we moved senior night up and the crowd was awesome tonight," Brooke said. "A lot of people came out to support not just me but the entire Panther team, so I'm excited about that.
"I knew coming into this game this would be one of the last ones I ever play, so all these people showed up so I might as well give them a show."
While her 38-point game was impressive, it could have been more if not for a running clock being implemented when the Panthers went up by 35 points with over two minutes left in the third quarter. She had 28 points and eight steals by halftime when the Panthers led 45-22. They led 60-24 after three.
Kylie Attinger added 11 points and five boards for Class 2A No. 8 Pioneer (19-3, 5-2 HNAC). Paula Collado Fernandez had six points, five boards and six steals. Gracie Hopper had four points and six boards. Crystabelle Blickenstaff, Makenna Strycker and Julia McGrew each added two points.
Brooke, Blickenstaff and Allison McGrew were honored before the game.
Piper Link had 10 points and seven boards to lead the Warriors (4-18, 0-7). Maggie Smith scored nine points on three 3-pointers. Hailey Attinger had four points and eight boards. Kandace Kroft and Emma Goodman chipped in two points apiece.
The Warriors were coming off a 50-41 loss to a North Judson team that had just beat Pioneer 59-52 one week ago. The Warriors also had a recent win over John Glenn.
"I thought we did a really good job defensively," Pioneer coach Jeff Brooke said. "Kroft's a heck of a shooter and we limited her to two points. I thought our girls did a really good job. I know she got in a little foul trouble early. Then I think our pressure defense, the girls were able to get out into passing lanes and do a nice job. And Ashlynn caught fire there a bit and the girls did a nice job continuing to feed her. It was great to see Attinger get 11 tonight, she was super aggressive which was great.
"I really think our defensive pressure did a nice job and then the girls recognized where the shooters were at. The girls listened to the scouting report and followed through."
Winamac coach Tony Stesiak said his team has improved a lot since the beginning of the season but that didn't show on Tuesday.
"We had a bad night and they had a really good one," Stesiak said. "The simplest summary of this game is they have Ashlynn Brooke and we do not. You can take all the basketball our kids have played, multiply it by 10 and it still won't equal as much as she's played. You hate going through nights like this but as a coach you can point to your players and say that's what elite dedication to the game looks like.
"I'll also say this, if she doesn't make the All-Star team then they better disband that group because she's one of the 12 best players. I've coached against a lot of Indiana All-Stars and I've coached one myself, that's an Indiana All-Star. She's so good. She can score at all three levels, great character person, battles hard, doesn't let defenses that are goofy get to her, finds her teammates. That's exactly what an Indiana Basketball All-Star looks like. I hope she makes it, she's got my vote.
"They're really good too. Their supporting cast has gotten a lot better as the year has gone on. That's not surprising. Coach Brooke, he knows what he's doing and they know how to find each other. They took what we gave them and they capitalized. I think we got rattled a little bit from the start. We've been starting games fairly well, we didn't tonight. I think we got back on our heels and I think we regressed. We've been passing it pretty well and we had some bad passes that I feel were kind of unforced and started playing hesitant against their zone. But we'll learn from it and move on."
Both teams have games scheduled for Thursday — Pioneer is to host Southwood (15-5) and Winamac is to host Class 3A No. 1 Twin Lakes (22-0) — and both teams are set to compete at the Class 2A Lewis Cass Sectional next week.
Pioneer drew Wabash (13-7) for the Tuesday game which is set to get underway at 6 p.m. The Panthers defeated the Apaches 70-60 back on Nov. 22 in Royal Center.
"It'll be a little different ballgame," coach Brooke said. "We had Brooklyn [Borges] in that game the first time, but we've had girls step up so that's been great to see Paula step up, Hopper step up, Attinger step up and Kenna and Crystabelle Blickenstaff as well. We'll be ready to go come Tuesday."
Winamac drew a bye in the sectional and will play North Miami (17-4) at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3. The teams did not meet in the regular season.
"We'll have a week to prepare for one team," Stesiak said. "That's what I like about having that bye is we get to spend the entire week to get ready for one opponent. We'll need it. But it's great to have that practice time because we haven't had a lot of it this year. We haven't even had 60 practices yet. This was game No. 21. We're looking forward to having some practice time because that's what this group needs. But they've always bounced back all year. No doubt they'll come back to practice and better days are ahead, just not today."