INDIANAPOLIS — Hannah Noveroske did basically everything but call her shot like George Herman Ruth in the 1932 World Series, but the Michigan City star wanted a victory in Saturday's rematch with Kentucky's all-star bunch back home again in Indiana more than most.
It showed in her 22-minute performance during Indiana's 76-71 overtime victory.
"Coming from the loss (on Friday), it really just sparked a fire underneath me," Noveroske said after her 18-point, six-rebound outing that had her atop the leading scorers for Indiana with future Indiana University teammate Jorie Allen.
"I gotta be able to pound it inside and be able to body up the girls because I felt I was a little weak (on Friday). I came out stronger and wanted to get a lot bigger in the post. It translated to buckets."
Two of those buckets came off back-to-back assists from Marquette Catholic sharpshooter Sophia Nolan, who along with twin sister Emma, came into the game quite familiar with Bankers Life Fieldhouse, having won back-to-back state titles in the same building in their junior and senior seasons. The twin pairing combined for eight points and 12 rebounds.
"It's easy because that's all (Emma and I) do in high school ball is playing that high-low game," Sophia Nolan said. "Hitting Hannah (with a pass) is just like hitting Emma, only a little higher and a little bit bigger target."
"It was pretty cool because I'm usually the one that's guarding that," Noveroske said on her moments of chemistry with half of the Nolan twins. "It's unfortunate because I'm usually on the high or the low and it doesn't go in my favor."
Emma Nolan got the start Saturday after her 12-point showing in Friday's loss. Outside of Carissa Garcia (Concordia/Northern Kentucky) grabbing 11 rebounds, nobody grabbed more than Nolan's nine boards in her third game on the Bankers Life floor that's brought some fun memories for her and her twin.
"It honestly kinda felt like home," Emma Nolan said. "It was like another gym for us. It felt like we were used to everything, used to the lights, used to the floor. Everyone was complaining about the lights and we were just like, 'Yeah, you just gotta get used to them [laughs].' It was nice to be able to walk in here again and play with them."
The fourth all-star from La Porte County, Purdue Fort Wayne commit Riley Ott, saw her minute count rise to almost 13 minutes in Saturday's win with a bulk of that playing time coming with Noveroske on the floor.
"It was awesome. I mean, it was different for sure because it's huge compared to what I've played in," Ott said on playing in Indy. "When I walked in for the first time, I was like, 'Whoa.' It was a great experience and it was so much fun playing in."
Saturday wasn't the most stellar basketball game for many of the girls on both sides. Both teams shot below 32 percent from the field, but it brought some intense moments and some fun times for the four girls from La Porte County and their teammates.
Playing in their third game in four nights, the Hoosier State gang raced out to a 25-15 advantage before the halfway mark of the second period, but Kentucky scored 14 of the final 20 points in the half to trail 31-29 at the break after Noveroske's two buckets from Sophia Nolan passes.
Sophia Nolan's triple pushed the Indiana lead out to 54-43 after three quarters, but Kentucky methodically chipped away at the deficit again, using a 13-point, 18-rebound performance from Cameron Browning (Louisville Male/Belmont) to tie the contest at 64 with 57.4 left in regulation. Both teams had multiple chances to win it in regulation, but it was Indiana's Miss Basketball selection and a former Class 4A state champion that helped carry them to the finish line in the extra session.
Allen and Warren Central guard Shaila Beeler, both future teammates of Noveroske's in Bloomington, iced the game away with defense and free throws to preserve the series split for Indiana before the 13 stellar talents go their separate ways for the summer and eventually, college ball.
"This was basically my last high school game. It's over now," Ott said. "We have our kids camp and stuff (at La Porte), so I'll be at that. I'll still feel like I'm in high school, but then at the same time, it's like, 'You're moving on to college. This is your next chapter.' I think I'm ready for it."
For the Nolans, they'll stick together closer than 11 is to 12 as they make the journey up to New York and join the St. John's program July 7.
"It's definitely gonna take a few days for it to hit," Emma Nolan said on high school hoops coming to a close. "It honestly hasn't hit that we're gonna be in college soon, but we're obviously excited and ready to work hard and play at St. John's."
As for Noveroske, it's off to Bloomington to join her fellow Hoosiers, but the all-star experience was something she'll hold near and dear for a long time.
"Like everyone says, it's an honor," Noveroske said. "Just seeing the people, the all-stars that come out that are all from 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009 ... for a lifetime, that'll be our experience. We're always going to be an All-Star. We're going to be marked in the books as an All-Star. It's just amazing to be a part of a great, amazing group of girls that can all play together and we all played as one."
2019 Indiana-Kentucky Girls
At Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indiana 76, Kentucky 71
City's Hannah Noveroske posted 18 points and six rebounds.