Category Archives: JD McKay

A BADDUDE’S JOURNAL UNDERRATED ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: Sophomore Kylie McDonald

Photo by Brock Kennedy

Story by J.D. McKay

There are not many sports where an athlete can go to state as a sophomore and not be noticed. Add to that the fact that she has two family members on the All-State Wall and it seems that somebody should pickup on the fact that she could likely follow her family’s footsteps and be the third member of her family on the on the Wall. However, sophomore Kylie McDonald seems to have slipped through the cracks. 

McDonald has been swimming since she was in first grade. After all that time, she has settled into swimming the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley, as well as relays. On Saturday at state at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, she will be swimming the 100 breaststroke and 400-yard freestyle relay. 

That was one of her main goals this year, to swim in state, but her swimming goals are bigger than that. 

“This year I wanted to just get to state in the 100 breaststroke. But my future goals are to make the finals at state, break FC’s 100 breastroke record, and swim in college,” said McDonald. 

McDonald works hard, but swimming is also something that is in her blood. As I mentioned earlier, her uncle, Brent McDonald, was all-state in 1996, winning the 100 butterfly and was the runner up in the 50 freestyle.

“Do I feel pressure? Yes and no. Coming from a family of swimmers does mean there is a little pressure to do well,” said McDonald. “But it also comes with a family that believes in you and gives you the best advice and race strategies.” 

Her family’s knowledge of swimming means that they can help her succeed in the mental aspect of the sport. 

“My parents and coaches being encouraging is part of what has led to my success,” said McDonald. “I was told to always have fun and never doubt that I can win.”

Part of having that swimmer blood in her means she is a natural competitor; in fact, it is one of her favorite parts of swimming. 

McDonald said, “Racing is my favorite part of swimming. I love being able to compete and race against the fastest girls in Indiana.”

Girls’ basketball plays Jeff tonight in Sectionals

Photo by Brooke Miller

Story by J.D. McKay

For the first time in over two years, my column is not coming out on a Wednesday. But, I wanted to publish it the morning of the first girls’ basketball sectional game. 

For anyone out of the girls’ basketball loop, we have struggled this year. There are three main reasons for that problem. 

One is injuries. It is tough to be really good when your best players cannot play, and one of the Highlanders best players, junior Grace Suer, has been out for nearly the whole season. 

The next kind of goes along with it, youth. When a team loses playes to injuries, they have to play younger players. That is not always a bad thing, but when there is only one senior on the team, it can be tough. The young players have definitely improved, but it is hard to replicate the experience and pressure an experienced player is used to. 

The last problem is height. For some reason, just about every small school that we play had at least one girl over 6’ 1”. Some, like Providence, had three. We have freshman Callie Jo Celichowski, who is a sixth or seventh player on the bench who has played a decent role this year. Then our other post player is Laney Siewert, who is about 5’ 7”.

Anyway, we have had a tough season, but the regular season does not really matter come sectionals. Tonight, they have a chance against Jeff, who they lost to earlier this year. However, Jeff lost their best player, senior Nan Garcia, to a season-ending injury, so things could be different. As usual, I will be giving my three keys to success to get the job done. 

Hit shots: This one is kind of obvious, but we need shots to fall. Anyone who has been to the last months of games can confirm that at times it has seemed like there has been a lid

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Sophomore Kendall Brown and freshman Mandy Hess discuss the upcoming defensive series after a time out. Photo by Brock Kennedy

on the basket. One of the team’s best shooters, sophomore Kendall Brown, has been struggling more than most. However, she is a good enough shooter that if she hits a three early to break out of her slump, she could drop 15 points from beyond the arc. Plus, as she pulls more defense towards her, it should open up freshman Mandy Hess, who seems to be the most consistent through this slump. All in all, there are some pretty good shooters on the team, but almost all of them are struggling right now. If one or two can hit some shots early, then it should be a win. 

Lock down post defense: Last Thursday, we lost to Providence. Providence had the best player I have watched the whole year in senior Natalie Boesing. She played more aggressively than usual and she was their main post player. The team did a pretty good job of stopping her. Unfortunately, she still had over 20 points but somewhere between 10 and 15 of those were free throws. Very few post players get to the line like that in girls’ basketball, so if they can keep Jeff’s post players at 4-6 points points, they should be able to win. 

Defensive rebound: If I remember correctly, many of Jeff’s points from earlier this year came from offensive rebounds and put backs. So If we can keep them off the offensive glass, that will be good. However, if they do get offensive boards, making their big men kick it out will have a big impact as well. 

Bottom Line: As I said above, the ladies have struggled this year. However, they have shown flashes late in the year of what they could do. If they get shots to drop, they would be pretty dangerous in sectionals. An eventual matchup against Bedford will be tough, but if shots start dropping, anything can happen. However, they have to get there first, but I am taking the Highlanders to get through at least one round in sectionals. Final Score: FC 45- Jeff 38

Baddude prepares to roll on to Wheaton

Story by J.D. McKay

This weekend, I made my official football visit at Wheaton College. It was one of the best weekends I can remember, including the weekend of the Jeffersonville sectional championship game. 

I started looking at colleges my freshman year. We would visit two or three each spring break. I was looking for a Christian school, with great academics, chapel, and hopefully a football team. 

19&32

Last Spring Break I visited Wheaton for the first time. I talked to since retired head coach Mike Swider and was introduced to my recruiting coach and Wheaton’s Defensive Coordinator, CJ Nightingale. Since then, I have been up to campus for football junior day over the summer, a football game day visit against Washington University (Wheaton won 52-13 after scoring 35 points in the first quarter), and then a ROTC scholarship interview before this weekend. 

On the way up Thursday afternoon, I checked the ROTC scholarship web page and saw I received the four-year scholarship to Wheaton College. That means 100 percent full tuition, saving my family and me over 40,000 dollars a year. It was the only school that I received the four-year scholarship to. As I heard Coach Swider say over 20 times in the three times I heard him speak, “Thank You, Jesus.” 

mom dad and meThen, I got onto campus and got to talk to a few other coaches and share the good news with Coach Nightingale. He was genuinely about as excited for me receiving the scholarship as my parents and grandparents are. After listening to interim head coach Jesse Scott talk about Wheaton’s program philosophy, I was introduced to my roommates for the weekend. We went to bed early because there was a 6 a.m. workout the following day. 

We woke up at 5:20 a.m. for the optional workout. After the workout, I went to breakfast, a class, and chapel. Following chapel, I had my meeting with Coach Scott. During that meeting, he made an official offer to be on the team. I could have signed it in the meeting room, but he suggested we wait at least a day and take it home. That meant that pretty much everything I wanted and more had worked out. It was a school with chapel, a Christian school, and a chance to play football. Plus, I had a way to pay for it. 

After that meeting, I went to another class and had two other meetings with coaches before working out with the players. Then, we ate dinner and went up to the room for a few minutes. The team building activity for that Friday night was dodgeball. It was pretty crazy. We went to Los Burritos Tapatios. Finally, we headed back to play shirtless poker. 

Throughout the day, I saw what I had heard every coach I talked to say: The reason you go to Wheaton is not for the facilities (which are good), the food (which is also good), or the academics (which are great), you go for the people. The guys I lifted with, hung out with, and stayed with were all great guys who were pushing each other to the cross. That was exactly what I wanted, so at about 2 a.m. in Traber room 609, I signed the sheet and Little Brass Bell incoming
decided I will continue my academic career and play football at Wheaton for the next four years. 

I am extremely excited to be a Wheaton Thunder for the next four years. I am looking forward to playing for Coach Nightingale, who ran the best defense statistically at any level in college football this year. I am also excited to hang out with Christian guys all the time. But, I am looking forward to playing for the Little Brass Bell with North Central, conference championships and hopefully, national championships. Let’s Roll.

 

High school basketball is better without a shot clock

Photo by Matthew Bolus

Story by J.D. McKay

Well, our most recent loss came in a way that is expected to happen maybe once every couple of years– on a buzzer beater. However, if you have been at FC over the past two years, you know we have gotten the short end of the stick several times at the buzzer. We have lost six games over the past two years, and four of them have been at the buzzer. Earlier this season, head coach Todd Sturgeon told the News and Tribune he had been beaten on one buzzer beater in all 20 of his years coaching, up until last season.

Following the game Friday, there were frustrated Floyd fans calling for a shot clock in high school basketball. Jeff dribbled the ball out for the last minute, and even with senior Ben Purvis’s and Sturgeon’s smart play, Jeff still hit a pretty lucky shot at the buzzer. However, wanting a shot clock in high school basketball would completely change the game and make it much worse for viewers. 

Reason 1: It changes the classic parts of the game

I know this is one of my weakest reasons and the classic parts of the game are being changed in many sports like baseball. But, as Hoosiers, we should appreciate basketball as it is meant to be played. That does not mean we cannot enjoy the NBA style of no defense and crazy dunks, but we need to look back at the past and when basketball was growing into what it has become in Indiana. Milan High School, the team the movie Hoosiers was based on, held the ball for almost four minutes in their state championship game in 1954. 

Reason 2: It is logistically more complicated

The first part of having a shot clock is buying a shot clock. That can cost between 10 and 25 thousand dollars. In a generation where sports are becoming less and less valued, some small schools with bad teams could find it more worthwhile to just drop their programs and move on than to buy and install the equipment needed. Then, if it is installed, someone has to work it. In high school sports, if something can go wrong in the booth, it will. They will inevitably forget about either the shot clock or game clock. In football there is a play clock that is set at the start of each play. To start it, the person in the booth can basically just look at the official and start it when told. However, it is quite often done wrong and it is much similar than a shot clock. Plus, while we are talking about officials, at the high school level they are generally pretty bad. So even if they had some signal to restart the shot clock, their is no guarantee they would always signal it. 

Reason 3: It would reduce anticipation in the last minute

Not having a shot clock at the end of the game would make the last minute much more anti-climatic. If we knew we are guaranteed the ball again, then that possession would have meant less. Obviously we are still hoping they do not score, but it is basically a regular possession because that is what the goal always is. Without the shot clock, you expect when the last shot will be and that minute or so of waiting adds to the excitement. 

Reason 4: It really would not change the game for the better and increase scoring

For some reason, people associate the shot clock with more scoring. It works that way in the NBA, but NBA players are freaks. There are fewer than 100 high school players like that. We played a pretty slow game. We pass the ball around and look for a good shot and rely on having a good defense, which seems to be working pretty well for us. But if we were limited on the time we had the ball, it would result in some bad looks. With junior Jake Heidbreder on the team, they would probably go in pretty consistently, but for other schools without a Heidbreder, they would start scoring fewer points. Plus, with a shot clock, teams with very athletic players like Silver Creek and Jeff would just go to the hole and it would be hard to stop because of their quickness. It would take some terrific coaching (which I think Floyd has if push comes to shove) to not slow down on the offensive end and continue to play well on the defensive end. 

High school basketball in Indiana is a tradition that rivals sports in all other states, and adding the shot clock to the game would lessen the value of the sport. People think that the shot clock would make the game better. But clearly, it would ruin the game and is tough to add to the game.

 

Previewing the NFL Conference Championships

By J.D. McKay

Well, after the National Championship Monday night, we have three real football games left this season. So, I thought I would give my take on the next two. 

Titans vs Chiefs 3:30

I have been picking the Titans throughout the playoffs. They have dominated the game by running the ball with Derrick Henry, which is one of the most important parts of any playoff run. They have also done two things considered impossible throughout the regular season: beating the high power Ravens offense, and beating the Patriots in New England in the playoffs. However, neither offense was as good throwing the ball as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are. The Chiefs have also probably had this weekend marked since they lost to the Patriots in OT last year. The Chiefs are going to come out hotter than they did against the Texans. The Chiefs will win, probably by quite a bit, even with the Titans terrific ground game. Final Score- Chiefs 35- Titans 17

Packers vs 49ers 6:40

This game I am expecting to be about as close as the early game, so not much of a game. I am not very convinced with the Packers. They have barely beaten some bad teams, like the Lions in Week 17. They seemed to just slide in as the two seed. The 49ers dismantled the Vikings last week, the Vikings were coming off a big win too, so they had some momentum. The 49ers also have a very strong defense, which should give the Packers more problems than they had last week against the Seahawks. Final Score 49ers 31- Packers 17