This week promises to be memorable for Holly Hoopingarner, who as a seventh-grader began envisioning herself one day wearing an Indiana All-Star uniform.
“I first started thinking about being an All-Star in middle school when I went with a friend to the games and thought it was the coolest thing,” said Hoopingarner, a 5-foot-4 point guard who after scoring 1,623 career points became the first Greenwood Community High School girls player to be selected to an Indiana All-Stars roster.
“It was one of the goals I wrote down before my freshman year of high school,” she said.
Hoopingarner and her All-Star teammates, including Roncalli’s career scoring leader Lindsey Corsaro, reported to Marian University in Indianapolis on Sunday to begin preparations for this weekend’s games against their Bluegrass rivals, the Kentucky All-Stars.
The Indiana-Kentucky series dates back to 1976.
As a first tune-up, Indiana All-Stars played an exhibition game against the Indiana Junior All-Stars on Tuesday evening at Bloomington South High School. The All-Stars face the juniors again Thursday night at Lebanon High School.
Led by Miss Basketball Jackie Young of Princeton High School, the All-Stars host Kentucky on Saturday. The Bluegrass girls play host Sunday afternoon at Bellarmine University.
To say Hoopingarner is surrounded by point-producing potential is an understatement.
For starters, the 5-11 Young, a Notre Dame signee, is Indiana’s all-time leading scorer — girls or boys — with 3,268 points. Lebanon’s 5-11 Kristen Spolyar sits at No. 3 among girls high school players with 2,882 points.
Corsaro, a 6-foot guard/forward headed to play at UCLA, is a McDonald’s All-American. In March, Young was named the Naismith girls basketball Player of the Year.
It’s the responsibility of Indiana All-Star coach Rick Risinger, who in 11 seasons has led Heritage Christian High School in Indianapolis to a 257-43 record and seven state championships (six in Class 2A, one 3A), to put the right players in the best possible situations.
A point guard of Hoopingarner’s caliber will no doubt help.
“Holly’s understanding of the game is very strong. Her other skill is that she’s a true point guard who can get the ball where we want it to go,” Risinger said. “Her biggest strength is to break down defenses.
“Most of these girls were the best scorers on their team, so they’re used to finishing. Holly can do that, too, but she can also take the outside jump shot or kick the ball out to a teammate.”
Hoopingarner said finishing the week with four victories is the only goal that’s been established.
“Coach Risinger just wants to win. The whole goal this week is to get four wins,” Hoopingarner said. “I’ve known most of these girls on my team.
“It’s been fun to get prepared with them and get ready to beat Kentucky.”
At Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Girls game: 5 p.m.
Boys game: 7 p.m.
At Bellarmine University (Knights Hall)
Girls game: 1 p.m.
Boys game: 3 p.m.