The 2014 Girls Breakdown Tip Off opens at 9:30 in the morning of Saturday, December 6, with one of only two interclass games on the day, as the Class AA Foley Falcons take on the Class AAA Simley Spartans. Foley is rated #7AA by Northstar Girls Hoops and #14AA by Breakdown Sports. Simley is rated #10AAA and #11AAA, respectively.
The game also features one of the top individual matchups of the day, between a pair of posts who also are rated in the top ten in their respective classes. For Foley, it’s 6-5 Tara Dusharm, entering her final season of high school ball with a gaudy 28 ppg scoring average. Next year she’ll be at D1 St. Louis U. For Simley, 6-1 junior Abby Kain patrols the lane after scoring 18 ppg a year ago.
Foley ripped off nine straight wins midway through the 2014 season, but Dusharm injured her hip late in the regular season and missed the rest of the campaign, including the post-season. The Falcons faded to 17-11.
Now it’s Kain who has been injured. She has a stress fracture in her foot, and has been wearing an orthopedic boot of late. She says that boot is coming off, and that she’ll be ready to go. But will she be at full strength?
Simley is also adjusting to the loss of 6-3 forward Kylie Brown, now at Creighton. But, in addition to Kain, they have senior forward Katie Atkins and sophomore guards Jenna Paulsen and Anna Scheffley back.
Foley has literally everybody back including senior guard Madison Knapek and her 10 ppg average.
Simley also features a new coach in Richard Zellmer, who takes over for Tim Peper, who has moved on to a position as assistant coach at St. Kate’s.
Tara Dusharm, Foley vs. Abby Kain, Simley
With a four-inch height advantage, Dusharm will take Kain inside, where she is virtually impossible to stop. Kain will counter by setting up outside, then slashing to the rim. Both will get their points.
Why Foley Will Win
• The only way Dusharm was stopped a year ago was by injuries. She is big enough and skilled enough to get her points, even against a great defender like Abby Kain.
• Foley has six proven perimeter scorers. One of them is bound to get hot.
Why Simley Will Win
• Simley has the next-best scorer in senior forward Katie Atkins, who is big and strong for her skill set as well as a smart, experienced veteran hand.
• Simley guards Paulsen and Scheffley will win the turnover battle on the perimeter.
Simley in a low-scoring nail-biter.