Into the Hall

Former Center Grove standout preparing induction speech

On Saturday, Nikki Cerbone will attempt to summarize her Center Grove High School basketball career with a speech lasting no more than four minutes. She’s anticipating overtime. Not only from herself, but the others being inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame at a ceremony at Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis.

“I do have to give a speech, but I keep changing it,” said Cerbone, a 1987 graduate who as Nikki Anderson poured in 1,347 career points — a standard that remains — for the Trojans and was eventually named to the Indiana All-Star team.

“It’s supposed to be three to four minutes long, but most people don’t stick to that.”

Cerbone, presently a seventh- and eighth-grade English teacher at Franklin Township Middle School West, received the call in November.

She is one of 12 inductees in a class that includes three Miss Basketball recipients — Renee Westmoreland (1989), Patricia Babcock (1990) and Jennifer Jacoby (1991).

Their Hall of Fame credentials won’t be questioned, nor will Cerbone’s.

Playing a total of 81 varsity games for the Trojans, the 5-foot-8 forward whose career concluded before the 3-point shot was introduced at the high school level would go on to score 1,128 points at Butler University from 1987-91.

At Center Grove, she earned 10 varsity letters — four in volleyball, four in basketball and two in track and field.

“When I got the call I was overwhelmed, to be honest,” Cerbone said. “It certainly wasn’t something I expected, but I am so humbled and overwhelmed because there are so many deserving people who could get in.”

This is the second time Cerbone has been inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

The first came in 2012 as a member of the Silver Anniversary Team honoring the 1987 All-Stars. One of Cerbone’s teammates on that team was former Franklin Community High School point guard Michelle (Baker) Davis.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.