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Boys Basketball: Penn selected to compete in prestigious Hall of Fame Classic

Penn Boys Basketball selected for elite event

Penn High School’s Boys Basketball Team will take its place among Indiana’s elite as the Kingsmen of Head Coach Al Rhodes have accepted an invitation to compete in the 2022 Raymond James Boys Hall of Fame Classic.

Indiana Hall of Fame Executive Director Chris May announced that Penn will take on Indianapolis Ben Davis on Friday, Dec. 30, 2022, at the fabled New Castle High School Fieldhouse. Penn’s game will immediately follow the 11 a.m. match-up between NorthWood and North Daviess. The tournament will feature third-place (6 p.m.) and championship games (immediately following the third-place game) at night on Friday, Dec. 30, 2022.

Tickets will be available through the Penn Athletic Office – sale date to be announced.

“The opportunity to play against great competition is a boost for our program,” Penn coach Al Rhodes said of the opportunity to play in the Hall of Fame Classic. “It gives our players a showcase where they can demonstrate how hard they have worked at their game.

At mid-season, it will show them where we are compared to other great programs in the State,” Rhodes continued. “They also get to compete for a championship.

“It is an honor to be selected and such a great opportunity to compete against the best the State of Indiana has to offer,” Rhodes added. “Our players will feel more a part of the great basketball history of our State.”

Indiana All-Star candidate Markus Burton, a 6-foot-0 point guard senior-to-be for the Kingsmen, said that he and his teammates are excited to challenge themselves against some of the state’s elite teams.

“It’s a blessing,” Burton said of Penn being selected to compete in the Hall of Fame Classic. “I wanted to play in it last year, but we didn’t get the chance. Now that we have the chance, I feel that we can compete with anyone and beat anyone. I’m really excited about it, and I’m excited for my teammates.

“This opportunity is good for my teammates and I, because we’re playing against really good players. The players in Indy are high-level players. They’ll prepare us for the state tournament. It’s important for us to challenge ourselves.”

This will be Penn’s second appearance in the Hall of Fame Classic. Penn placed third at the Hall of Fame Classic in the 2014-2015 season. The Kingsmen defeated Batesville, 53-42, in the third-place match after losing to Brownsburg, 45-31, in the first round.

Penn’s appearance in the Hall of Fame Classic in the 2022-2023 season will be the third for Kingsmen Coach Al Rhodes. In addition to leading Penn to the Hall of Fame Classic in 2014, Rhodes’ Warsaw Tigers won the Hall of Fame Classic in 1995. Rhodes is one of 15 coaches in Indiana who have brought two different teams to the Hall of Fame Classic. Only two coaches, Alan Darner (Anderson Highland and Pike) and Cliff Hawkins (DeKalb and Center Grove) have coached two different teams to Hall of Fame Classic Championships. 

Rhodes’ 1994 Warsaw team defeated Ben Davis 62-58 for the Hall of Fame Classic Crown.

Penn returns four starters – Markus Burton, Joey Garwood, Josh Gatete, Joe Smith – from a Kingsmen team that finished the 2021-2022 season with a 24-3 record. Burton, Garwood, Gatete and Smith will be seniors in the 2022-2023 season. Penn won the Elkhart Sectional Championship in 2021-2022, and shared the Northern Indiana Conference crown with Glenn and Marian. The Kingsmen finished the 2021-2022 season ranked No. 6 in the final Associated Press Class 4-A rankings and No. 9 in the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association final poll.

Burton, a 6-foot-0 point guard, is an Indiana All-Star Candidate. He set a Penn record for most points in a single season (734) in the 2021-2022 campaign, and boasts 1,364 points in his career.

Burton ranked third in the state in scoring in 2021-2022, averaging 27.2 points a game. He averaged 6.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 3.4 steals a game. Burton hit 55.7 percent of his field-goal attempts, including 46.7 percent from 3-point range. He hit 81.6 percent of his free throws.

Smith, a 6-0 point guard, averaged 13.2 points, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals a game. He led Penn with 52 made 3-pointers, and hit 88 percent of his free throws (11th in the state). He was 12th in the state in taking charges (1.6 a game).

Garwood, a 6-1 wing, averaged 9.5 points a game. He finished the 2021-2022 season with 30 assists, 55 rebounds, 20 steals and seven blocked shots.

Gatete, a 6-6 wing, averaged 5.6 points and 5.0 rebounds a game. He led Penn with 58 offensive rebounds and 40 blocked shots.


PENN KINGSMEN – 24-3 in the 2021-2022 season. Class 4-A Sectional Champions; shared Northern Indiana Conference Championship with Glenn and Marian. Penn finished at No. 6 in the AP Class 4-A rankings and No. 9 in the IBCA final rankings.

Coach: Al Rhodes 211-126 in 14 seasons at Penn, 665-318 in 41 seasons overall. Rhodes is the 11th winningest coach in Indiana high school Boys Basketball history. 

State Tourney history: Semi-state Championships (1): 2001 4-A. Regional Championships (7): 1972, 1987, 1999 4-A, 2000 4-A, 2001 4-A, 2006 4-A, 2019 4-A. Sectional Championships (17): 1965, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1992, 1996, 1999 4-A, 2000 4-A, 2001 4-A, 2006 4-A, 2007 4-A, 2014 4-A, 2019 4-A, 2022 4-A.  

Players to watch: 6-0 junior Markus Burton was among state leaders in scoring in the 2021-2022 season at 26.9 points per game, along with averages of 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals.  Burton set the single-season Penn scoring record (734) and has compiled 1,364 career points through three seasons; 5-11 junior guard Joe Smith contributed 12.7 points, 6-1 junior Joey Garwood averaged 9.2 points; 6-7 junior Josh Gatete held averages of 5.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

BEN DAVIS GIANTS – 22-7 in the 2021-2022 season. Class 4-A Sectional Champions; Metropolitan Conference runner-up, No. 5 Class 4-A in final AP poll and No. 5 in the IBCA poll..

Coach: Don Carlisle, 65-41 in four seasons at Ben Davis, 111-66 in seven seasons overall.

State Tourney history: State Championships (3): 2017, 1996, 1995. Semi-State Championships (6): 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2017, 2019. Regional Championships (9): 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2017, 2019. Sectional Championships (22): 1935, 1965, 1974, 1978, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2010, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022.

Players to watch: 6-3 sophomore K.J. Windham led the Giants in scoring at 12.7 points per game; 6-8 junior Zane Doughty averaged 11.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocks; junior Sheridan Sharp contributed 9.9 points, 4.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per contest; 6-1 junior Clay Butler averaged 7.7 points; 6-5  junior Shaun Arnold 7.0 points and 5.9 rebounds.

NORTHWOOD PANTHERS – 25-3 in the 2021-2022 season. Class 3-A Sectional Champions; Northern Lakes Conference Champions, No. 3 Class 3-A in final AP Poll, ranked No. 1 for several weeks; the Panthers have had winning seasons in 11 of the last 12 seasons, and their 192-56 record over the past nine seasons is the seventh best in the state in that span.

Coach: Aaron Wolfe 253-108 in 15th season at NorthWood.

State Tourney history: Regional Championships (1): 2007. Sectional Championships (11): 1995, 2001, 2007, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022.

Players to watch: 6-3 junior guard Cade Brenner averaged 19.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists; 6-6 junior forward Ian Raasch averaged 11.7 points and 5.4 rebounds; 5-10 sophomore Ethan Wolfe averaged 6.6 points; 6-3 sophomore NiTareon Tuggle contributed 5.1 points per game.

NORTH DAVIESS COUGARS – 27-3 in the 2021-2022 season. Class 1-A 2022 State Champion; No. 2 in Class 1-A final AP Poll, shared Southwestern Indiana Conference Championship with Linton and Bloomfield.

Coach: Brent Dalrymple 316-213 in 22 seasons at North Daviess.

State Tourney history: State Championships (1): 2022. Semi-state Championships (1): 2022. Regional Championships (3): 2009, 2011, 2022. Sectional Championships (6): 2001, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2016, 2022.

Players to watch: 5-11 junior guard Jaylen Mullen averaged 16.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the 2021-2022 season;  6-2  junior Lance Wilson averaged 9.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists; 6-3 junior Logan Wilson recorded 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game; 6-2 junior Braden Stickles totaled  4.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

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