E.C. Central's girls basketball team will forfeit its first five games of the season for playing an ineligible player.

The same athlete also played soccer matches, wins the fall sports team will have to forfeit, and the IHSAA issued warnings to both programs.

The Cardinals' adjusted record is 6-8.

Merrillville 67, Hammond 41: Brittney Williams had 16 points to pace the Pirates (2-10).

Torri Miller chipped in 12 points and six steals for Merrillville. Kennedy Tanniehill and Denae Joshua had 10 points.

Arial Watts led all scorers with 23 points for the Wildcats (4-9).

Boys basketball

Kouts 69, Hammond Academy 43: Cole Wireman scored a game-high 18 points, dished out eight assists and had five steals to lead the Mustangs (5-2).

Tyler Heimberg and Dillan Matthes each added 12 for Kouts. Zac Nomanson chipped in eight points and 10 rebounds.

Dorwynn Smith III led the Hawks (1-6) with 17 points.

LaVille 72, LaCrosse 49: Kaleb Frazier and Wes Brust scored 12 apiece in a loss for the Tigers (2-6). Hayden McDougal had 10 points.

Valpo to play in tourney: Valparaiso will participate in the inaugural Champions of Character Classic Dec. 30 at Grace College.

The unbeaten Vikings will face Fishers (2-4) at 10 a.m. and Class 4A No. 7 Zionsville with Purdue and Butler target Isaiah Thompson at 6 p.m. Warsaw (2-5) is also in the field. Tickets are $10 per session.

Girls volleyball

Wheeler needs a coach: Wheeler is seeking applications for head girls volleyball coach. Interested candidates should contact Randy Stelter at 219-759-2561, ext. 2237.

News and notes

Valpo to hold Athletic Hall of Fame Induction: On Jan. 20, the Valparaiso High School Athletic Hall of Fame will have an induction ceremony at the Old Town Banquet Center in Valparaiso.

This year's inductees include: Three families (Anselm, Butterfield, O'Neill), four coaches (John Cook, Terry Cox, John Knauff, Lorrie Woycik) and 10 individuals (Jim Arnold, Rob Cavanaugh, Erik Chilian, Micky Mannel-Copeland, Mike Jones, David Knott, Angie Cook-Moon, Joe Otis, Brett Polizotto, Pete Sattler).

There are about 250 tickets left and the last day to buy tickets will be Jan. 10. Tickets cost $35 and are available at the athletic office and will also be sold at all girls' and boys' home basketball games.

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