Mackenzie Blazek is used to having opposing girls basketball teams using any and all available means to slow her down.
Those teams, by and large, have found out that those means don’t work.
Blazek has been the focus of plenty of attention ever since her high school career began at Whiteland, and while she acknowledges that “it’s not the easiest thing to have a couple of girls beating up on me the whole game,” the junior has learned to take it in stride.
Despite it all, Blazek racked up 18 double-doubles (and two triple-doubles) in 21 games this season. She is the Daily Journal’s 2016-17 Player of the Year.
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“I may never get a player as good as her ever again,” Whiteland coach Kyle Shipp said, “so we’re trying to enjoy what we can with her as long as possible.”
Facing two or three defenders at a time has actually helped make Blazek and the Warriors more dangerous. She’s honed her passing skills, and teams who collapsed too many players in on her often got burned when the 6-foot-2 center kicked out to an open 3-point shooter or found a cutting teammate for a layup.
Blazek dished out 2.3 assists per game this winter, double what she had averaged over her first two seasons.
Of course, she can still power through defenses and produce on her own as well. Blazek scored 18.0 points per game and was among the state’s leading rebounders with an average of 13.4. In back-to-back January games, she had 36 points and 15 rebounds at Jennings County and 30 points and 23 boards against Beech Grove.
“That is the surprising factor, that she can continue to put up big numbers and still have defenses designed to stop her,” Shipp said. “I think what she does the best is make the correct basketball play.”
College programs have taken notice. Blazek has roughly two dozen Division I scholarship offers already, and those should continue to pour in through the summer AAU season.
Blazek plans to take her time making a decision on where to play college ball.
“I really just want to find that fit,” she said. “Once I feel it, I’m going to know.”
For one more season, she’ll continue punishing opponents at the high school level. They’ll continue trying like crazy to stop her, but most of them, again, will fail.
Mackenzie Blazek by the numbers:
Career totals through three seasons:
215 blocked shots
3 career triple-doubles:
Jan. 16, 2016 vs. New Palestine: 22 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks
Jan. 19, 2017 vs. Shelbyville: 21 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks
Feb. 3, 2017 at Martinsville: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 blocks
Blazek had 18 double-doubles in 21 games this season and has 45 in 69 career games.
The 2016-17 All-Johnson County Team for girls basketball:
Mackenzie Blazek, Whiteland junior: Despite regularly facing double and triple teams, led all area players with 18.0 points, 13.4 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots per game. … Posted season highs of 36 points, 23 rebounds and 10 blocks, notching triple-doubles against Shelbyville and Martinsville.
Sidney Crowe, Whiteland senior: Averaged 13.4 points and 4.8 rebounds, both second on the team behind Blazek, while leading the Warriors in assists (71) and steals (41). … Will begin her college basketball career at St. Francis University in Fort Wayne next season.
Cassidy Hardin, Center Grove junior: Paced the Trojans in scoring (14.0 ppg), rebounding (5.1 rpg), steals (39) and blocked shots (24) and ranked second in assists. … Hit 55 3-pointers, shooting 38 percent from long range and 81 percent on free throws. … Committed to play at Purdue.
Delanie Hill, Franklin senior: Scored a team-high 12.1 points a game, shooting 81.3 percent from the foul line, and ranked second on the Grizzly Cubs in assists and third in steals. … Fourth on the school’s career scoring list with 918 points. … Also an All-County pick in soccer, which she will play at Marian University next fall.
Allison Utterback, Center Grove senior: Led team in assists (52) and ranked second in scoring (8.7 ppg) and steals (33). … Three-year starter who helped lead Trojans to Johnson County championship this season. … Signed to play college basketball at Lewis (Ill.) University beginning next season.
Allison Barnard, Franklin; Sidney Beier, Edinburgh; Makenna Bertsch, Franklin; Madelyn Bitterling, Center Grove; Katie Burkman, Indian Creek; Cami Cochrane, Franklin; Katie Cruse, GCA; Madelyn Gary, Indian Creek; Alex Kincaid, Greenwood; Emma LeMasters, Center Grove; Sarah Mangan, GCA; Alexis Mead, GCA; Leah Moore, Greenwood; Jessyca Napier, Whiteland; Grace Peters, GCA; Destiney Ramey, Edinburgh; Hailee Robbins, Franklin; Addie Rund, Indian Creek; Allie Schooler, Edinburgh; Natalie Stuck, Whiteland; Bailee Taft, Greenwood; Ella Thompson, Center Grove