Amber Dunn learned a lot from competing in the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star game on Friday night at the Sportscenter.
The former Apollo High School star played admirably in a reserve role as Kentucky — both shorter and short-handed in comparison to their Hoosier counterparts — dropped a 69-58 decision.
“I thought we played hard and gave it our all, but we came up a little short,” said Dunn, a 5-foot-10 wing who has signed with Lindsey Wilson College, “There was a lot of talent on the court and I came away knowing I can compete with players like that,
“I was a little nervous at first, but I settled into things pretty quickly. I just went out and played as hard as I could. It was eye-opening to me — I walked off the court knowing I can compete at a pretty high level, and this gives me confidence moving forward.”
In 12 minutes of action, Dunn finished with two points, making 1-of-2 floor shots, and battled her way to five tough rebounds, three coming at the offensive end.
Kentucky opened impressively, leading 16-13 after the first period and extending its advantage to 24-13 on a putback by Dunn at 6:30 of the second quarter.
Indiana, however, came to life after that — closing the first half with a 15-3 tun and tying the contest at 29 on a driving layup by Indiana Miss Basketball Jayla Smith just before the halftime horn.
The Hoosier All-Stars then took command of the contest with a 19-5 third-period run and the visitors led 48-34 entering the final 10-minute frame,
Kentucky had one last run, putting together a 12-4 fourth-quarter spurt to and pulling within 56-48 on a deep 3-pointer by Alexa Smiddy with 4:51 to play, but Indiana scored nine of the next 12 points keep the hosts at bay.
Smith led Indiana’s balanced attack with 13 points, with teammates Ariana Wiggins, Meg Newman and Courtney Blakely each adding 10 points. Newman led the way with 10 rebounds.
Kentucky was paced by Dynastee White’s 14 points, with Western Kentucky University signee Macey Blevins, out of Wayne County, adding 12. Marie Kiefer led Kentucky with game-best totals of 13 rebounds and three blocks.
Indiana rallied to finish 37% from the floor, making only 3-of-19 from 3-point range (16%), and drained 8-of-11 free throws for 73%.
Kentucky shot only 31% from the field, including 8-of-27 from distance (30%), and was victimized by 6-of-16 free-throw accuracy (38%) and 22 turnovers.
Kentucky — which trails the all-time series 51-38 — will get another shot at Indiana at 4 p.m. (CT) today when the series concludes at Southport High School Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
INDIANA 3-16-19-21 — 69
KENTUCKY 16-13-5-24 — 58
Indiana (69) — Smith 13, Wiggins 10, Newman 10, Blakely 10, Becki 9, Burton 7, Shafford 4, Costner 2, Shoup-Hill 2, Jaynes 2.
Kentucky (58) — White 14, Blevins 12, Thompson 8, Hodges 7, Smiddy 6, Kiefer 5, Dunn 2, Hill 2, Price 2.
BOYS INDIANA 93, KENTUCKY 70
The Hoosier All-Stars went on a 14-0 run in the early minutes of the contest and ran away from Kentucky to post their 100th win in the series against only 44 losses.
Indiana led 44-31 at intermission and continued to pour it on over the final 20 minutes.
The visitors were paced by Luke Brown, who made 7-of-9 floors shots, including 2-of-3 from distance, on the way to a team-high 18 points.
Indiana also got 14 points from Shamar Avance, 13 from Blake Wesley, and 12 from Mr. Basketball, Caleb Furst. Both Fiurst and Avance grabbed eight rebounds, helping the Hoosier stars own a 41-30 advantage on the glass.
The Hoosier stars finished 39-of-75 from the floor for 52%, went 7-of-19 from 3-point range (37%), and made 8-of-12 free throws (67%).
Kentucky got a game-best 20 points from Eastern Kentucky University signee Dashaun Jackson. Sekou Kalle scored 12 points and Ayden Mudd added 10. Kalle and Jacobi Huddleston each five rebounds.
Kentucky shot 42% from the field, including 35% from 3-point land (10-of-29), while making 4-of-6 free throws (67%).
Indiana and Kentucky meet again at 6 p.m. today at Southport High School Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
INDIANA 44-49 — 93
KENTUCKY 31-39 — 70
Indiana (93) — Brown 18, Avance 14, Wesley 13, Furst 12, Thomas 11, Taylor 6, Kaufman-Renn 4, Blackmon 4, Goode 3, Konieczny 2, Sisley 2, Jacobi 2, Waddell 2.
Kentucky (70) — Jackson 20, Kalle 12, Mudd 10, Vinson 7, Johnson 6, Franklin 5, Pope 5, Perry 3, Washington 2.