Mellott was at her best in Tippecanoe Valley’s 67-54 regional victory over Mishawaka Marian, the second in program history. Mellott scored 18 points in the game. Photos by Gary Nieter
Mellott was at her best in Tippecanoe Valley’s 67-54 regional victory over Mishawaka Marian, the second in program history. Mellott scored 18 points in the game. Photos by Gary Nieter
Twice is nice.

After leading the Tippecanoe Valley Lady Vikings to 22 wins and the second regional title in school history, senior guard Kaydence Mellott is the Times-Unions girls basketball Player of the Year for the second season in a row.

Finishing her career with 1454 points, the second most in Valley history as well as the fifth most by any girls player in Kosciusko County history, Mellott has cemented her status as an all-time great in Akron. When being interviewed for last year’s award, the guard mentioned former Valley legends such as Anne Secrest and Sophie Buzzard as her biggest influences. This time around, she was elated with the idea of being in their company.

“I put in a lot of time and effort to get where I am today. I’ve always wanted to be like them,” Mellott said.

“When she got into the program as a freshman, she didn’t have the size that Anne did or the raw athleticism that a player like Sophie had,” Valley head coach Chris Kindig added. “For Kaydence to get all the way up to second all-time in Valley history speaks wonders to the work she’s put in and the skill she has shooting the basketball.”

Mellott capped off her career at Valley with 19.3 points per game (PPG), 5.3 rebounds a night as well as 2.3 steals a contest. While numbers don’t tell the whole story, Mellott’s shooting stats are some she will be able to brag about for as long as she wants.

Her 75 three pointers this season and 261 for her career are both the most in school history. Her 261 makes from distance are also good enough for eighth all-time in the state of Indiana and her 49.6% shooting from deep this past season was the best mark in the state. Mellott also ended her high school career as Tippecanoe Valley’s all-time leader in free throw percentage (80%) as well as three-point percentage (41%).

“She’s going to be almost impossible to replace,” Kindig said. “I truly don’t know how to find a way to replicate what she was able to provide for us on any given night. Not just showing up all the time, but playing at her best in the biggest games of the year. Her performance in the regional this year was everything.”

Valley’s regional win over Mishawaka Marian last month was mentioned by Mellott as her favorite moment from the season. While the team’s state championship hopes fell short to eventual 3A champion Fairfield in the semi-state round, Mellott is proud of what she and her teammates accomplished this year.

“I had never won a sectional coming into this year so that was the biggest goal I had. As the season went on we were playing really well, so I wanted nothing more than to keep getting better and improving as the season went along,” Mellott said. “Myself, Corinna [Stiles], Molly [Moriarty] and Lily [Ault] have been on the same team since we were in fourth grade so we wanted to leave it all out there for our last year.”

The four Valley seniors, along with Millie Scorsone, who transferred from Rochester this past season and joined the team in the playoffs, were the most experienced group in the area this season. Despite the team losing that production next season, Kindig is confident the impact Mellott and her senior class has left on the program has put it in a good place going forward.

“She set a standard for everybody in the locker room. She did things the right way, played the game the right way which is what we’re all about,” Kindig said.

Mellott had a message for the younger players as well.

“You’re going to put in a lot of time and effort that a lot of people aren’t going to see, but you’ve got to stick with it,” Mellott said. Focus on the good times, reach for your dreams and do whatever you can to make them happen.”

Mellott’s career will continue at the college level, as she is committed to play basketball at Indiana University Kokomo next season. The guard says she has begun communicating with her teammates and preparing for open gyms.

“I’m really excited to start that journey, excited to get out on the court over there and see what I can do,” Mellott said. “I’m going to have my work cut out for me, prove what I can do because I’m going to be surrounded by players that are just as good or better than me. It’s going to be a battle but I know I can take my game to the next level.”

“It’s a good fit for her, I think she’s really going to succeed at Kokomo,” Kindig said. “She’s had successes at everything she does though so I won’t be surprised. The impact she’s left on this program is one that won’t be forgotten and the school records she has to show for that along with the team success she’s been a part of just emphasizes that.”


Times-Union All-Area Girls Basketball Teams


G Kaydence Mellott (Tipp Valley Sr.)

There isn’t much left to say about Mellott that hasn’t been covered in this story already. The back-to-back player of the year award winner more than earned the honor this season with her best year yet.

G Brooke Zartman (Warsaw Fr.)

Bursting onto the scene as a freshman, Zartman showed the scoring and shooting ability of an upperclassman at times, quickly becoming one of the top scoring options for an electric Warsaw team. Assuming she has three more years of varsity basketball ahead of her, Zartman will have a chance to continue adding her name into the Tiger record books. She has already set the record for most three-pointers made in a season with 66.

G Joslyn Bricker (Warsaw Fr.)

Bricker was yet another Warsaw freshman that put together an excellent year, leading the team in scoring with 12.6 PPG despite coming off of the bench for the first 15 games of the season. No Lady Tiger led the team in scoring as much as Bricker did, largely in part to her ability to pour in points from all over the court. Like Zartman, Bricker will have a chance to make a huge impact on the historic Lady Tiger basketball program.

F Mattie Stonebreaker (LCA Sr.)

Stonebreaker helped lead Lakeland Christian to 15 wins this year, their most since the 2017-18 season. The senior led the team in scoring at 17.1 PPG while also finishing top three on the team in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

F Addyson Viers (Triton Jr.)

A double-double machine, Viers was able to average one for the season with 14.9 points a night to go with 10.9 rebounds. The three-sport athlete had her best year on the basketball court yet, scoring in double figures in all but three games while helping to lead Triton to 15 wins.


G Kloe Krieg (Whitko Jr.)

Krieg was a huge factor in a resurgent year from the Whitko program, leading the team in points (10.9 PPG) and steals (2.3 SPG) while finishing top three on the team in rebounds, blocks and assists. Krieg scored 20 points twice this season, tying a career-high.

G Brookelynn Buzzard (Manchester So.)

Averaging 16 points and two steals a night, Buzzard was as aggressive as any player in the area this past season. A volume scorer, Buzzard led her team in the scoring category by over 200 points and is on pace to score plenty more over the next two seasons.

G Molly Moriarty (Tipp Valley Sr.)

An excellent two-way player, Moriarty acted as Tippecanoe Valley’s primary ball handler while also playing some suffocating defense, evidenced by her 3.6 assists per game and 2.6 steals a night. Though her scoring took a slight dip from last season, Molly still finished her year with 148 points.

F Mackenzie Hackleman (Wawasee So.)

Hackleman acted as a Swiss-Army Knife for a Wawasee side that played some of the best team-oriented ball in the area this year. Leading the team in scoring (10 PPG), assists (2.5), steals (3.3) and blocks (1.8), Hackleman did it all and did so emphatically. With two years as a Warrior left, Mackenzie will be a player to watch going forward.

F Brooke Winchester (Warsaw So.)

Scoring in double figures in 13 out of 24 games, Winchester finished third on Warsaw in PPG (11.6) while leading the team in rebounds with 6.1 a night. Winchester used her size very efficiently this season, dominating in the paint while also showing off some of the best ball handling and outside shooting by a forward in the area.