Welcome to Hoosier Hysteria which means crazing cold weather and some amazingly, stressful, heartachingly exciting, memorable moments of playoff basketball in Indiana. In 49 states, it’s just basketball. That’s why Indiana is known as the birthplace of this sport and why the movie Hoosiers was developed. This aurora is contagious. Say whatever you want about not having a shot clock or not have seeding in playoffs, this tournament is FREAKING AWESOME and in the end it NEVER disappoints. Plus, give my froggy friend a read as well in his previews of the area sectionals. Please note that some of the stats may not be accurate so beware of that as well.
Note: These are completely subjective. I’m expecting upsets so please don’t go bananas on me and send me hate mail. I’m not expecting to be perfect or get any of these picks right.
This Frog KNOWS Basketball
1A 54 @ Northfield
Clinton Central 9 (1997)
Tri-Central 7 3-time defending Sectional Champs
Northfield 3 (1980)
Southwood 2 (2003)
Frontier 1 (2014)
1A #4 Northfield (20-2) vs Clinton Central (10-11)
Northfield is having one of its best seasons if not the best season in program history as they’re poised to make a deep run to a state championship. With a sectional as weak as this one is, as long as Northfield doesn’t take anyone lightly and plays their best brand of basketball, there’s an excellent chance to see them playing beyond this week. For now, I say they’re on to the semifinals.
Prediction 62-24 Northfield
Southwood (5-17) vs Frontier (1-21)
Both teams are not very good, but Southwood should be able to advance to the sectional title game.
Prediction 62-32 Southwood
Tri-Central (10-12) vs 1A #4 Northfield
Again, this is Northfield’s game to win. Even though they had lost to this team last season, you have to think the Lady Norsemen will probably approach this game with a chip on their shoulders. On to the championship round.
Prediction 45-27 Northfield
Southwood vs 1A #4 Northfield
If these two Wabash county rivals would meet in this stage, it would be their second straight playoff meeting. Northfield holds a 7-3 all-time playoff record vs their county rivals and I expect Northfield to win their first sectional in the multi-class era and their first in nearly 40 years.
Prediction Northfield 58-31
1A Sectional 52 @ Fremont
Fremont 6 (2012)
Blackhawk 2 (2017)
Bethany Christian 2 (2016)
Lakewood Park defending Sectional Champs
Hamilton 1 (2014)
OTH’s Sectional 52 Preview
Game 1 Lakeland Christian (12-9) vs Fremont (13-8)
Here you have a Lakeland Christian team that went 16-9 last season and won the program’s first ever sectional games 39-34 in OT over Bethany Christian and 63-19 over Hamilton before ultimately falling 41-38 in the sectional championship game to Lakewood Park. This is a team with some size as the team averages over 30 rebounds a game led by junior Tori Calizo with 7.7. Although this team struggles to score on a consistent basis they have 3 players that can score at will. That is one area that could give Fremont some issues
Meanwhile, you have a Fremont team that’s arguably one of if not the deepest team in the entire sectional. Led by Bella Dangerfield and Jada Rhonehouse, what stands out from everyone else in that sectional is not only a stronger schedule but a lot of athleticism on this team all across the board which are both areas Lakeland Christian hasn’t been as strong at. So, while Lakeland Christian has had a nice season, they haven’t faced really anybody that has made them prepared for the state tournament as they’ve only beaten one team (Elkhart Christian) that has a winning record and have a lost to Busco earlier this season.
Prediction 44-29 Fremont
FW Blackhawk (10-12) vs Lakewood Park (6-12)
It is only a little over 2 weeks ago when Blackhawk defeated Lakewood Park on their home court 52-45. This is a Lady Braves team that has a little more experienced and more cohesion under head coach Steph Gongaware than last season. While size may be an issue, Blackhawk has improved significantly on the offensive side of the ball from less than 27 to a little over 40.
Meanwhile Lakewood Park the reigning sectional champions have experienced a rebuild as they have no seniors on this team despite having sophomore Chloe Jolloff and Freshman Taylor Gerke. It’s very difficult to be critical on this team since they’ve played a much tougher schedule than the majority of the teams in their sectional and are 3-5 in single digit games. So they’ve been competing in a lot of games. For this game, it’ll come down to defense and although Lakewood Park did lose to Blackhawk, they’re a team still capable of making a run to the championship game. As for Blackhawk, I’m a little concerned about their inconsistencies on defense. Sorry, Dan Vance, I don’t trust Blackhawk.
Prediction 44-38 Lakewood Park
Hamilton (1-7) vs Bethany Christian (12-9)
As much as I like the Hamilton story of being able to field a hard working team regardless of the situations they can’t control and winning a game earlier this year against Howe Military, Bethany Christian is a bad matchup for Hamilton. On to next round for the Lady Bruins.
Prediction 62-28 Bethany
Fremont vs Elkhart Christian (10-8)
Again, much like with Lakeland Christian, competitive team, but they haven’t played anyone or beaten anyone that makes them worthy of beating Fremont.
Prediction 51-30 Fremont
Lakewood Park vs Bethany Christian
This may wind up being one of the better matchups of this sectional. These two teams met on December 1st with Lakewood Park winning 45-41, but Bethany has been playing some very good basketball as of late as they have won 8 of their last 11 games and competed very well in a 6 point loss to Bremen.
Despite their lack of size, this is one of if not the best defensive team in the entire sectional and the best offensive team. They have a couple players that are decent scorers but they may have the best player in the entire sectional in 1000 point scorer and senior Aly Kauffman. How she plays will determine how far this team goes because they’ll be able to make enough stops on defense to stay in ballgames.
Although Lakewood Park has enough talent and size to play with Bethany, you surely can’t underestimate what the Lady Bruins bring. I don’t know what it is about Bethany, but every time they play in the state tournament they seem to always play at another level. Bethany holds a 4-2 playoff record vs Lakewood Park
Prediction 47-45 OT Bethany
Fremont vs Bethany Christian
If this matchup would occur in the finals, it would only be the 3rd playoff meeting ever between these two schools and the first in 20 years. 1998 saw Bethany claiming the title 37-34 over these Eagles at Hamilton before Fremont bounced back to beat them the next season 47-39 in the semifinals on their way to their first ever sectional title.
This matchup here depends on how Kauffman does offensively but it also depends on if the rest of the Bruins are able to get enough stops against an athletic Fremont team that does have a height advantage. I expect that game would be a low scoring one, but I say Fremont wins their first sectional in 7 years.
Prediction 43-35 Fremont
Top 10 1A teams in Northern Indiana
- Marquette Catholic
- South Central Union Mills
- Union City
- Morgan Township
- North White
- Bethany Christian
2A Sectional 37 @ Manchester
Lewis Cass 12 (2005)
Rochester 10 (2016)
Manchester 9 (2007)
Wabash 8 (2015)
Oak Hill 6 2-time defending Sectional Champs
North Miami 3 (2008)
2A #3 Oak Hill (18-3) vs North Miami (15-5)
Oak Hill begins their quest to get back in the state championship that they played in 2 years ago. After a stunning loss in the regional championship game to conference rival Frankton, Oak Hill will look to string one final push with this core.
The North Miami Lady Warriors are having their best season in quite sometime, and the future looks really bright as they only have one senior and will return several players of a large junior class led by their top 3 scorers Bailey Keim, Maryann Freeman, and Hannah Hall all three who also play on a pretty talented soccer team.
However, I don’t think the talented Lady Warriors will be able to pull off an upset against Oak Hill. Well, at least for them there is an outside chance for one.
Prediction 55-32 Oak Hill
Manchester (15-7) vs Rochester (8-13)
This is a rematch from their Jan. 18 match where the Lady Squires were victorious on their home court 39-28 over Rochester. Despite the records, this matchup could wind up being one of the more intriguing matchups in all of the area sectionals. For those of you that don’t follow these two programs, they are conference rivals from the Three Rivers Conference. Rochester has been known for fielding some very good girls teams for a good chunk of the 2000s, but the program has experienced subpar results since their last championship nearly 3 years ago.
As for the Lady Squires, they’ve quietly fielded some pretty good ball clubs over the past 4 seasons. Senior Kennedy Fierstos just recorded her 1,000th made 3-pointer earlier this season as she’s averaging 12.7 points and has recorded 47 made threes. Eva Bazzoni is just a sophomore and is averaging a little over 11 points. Rebounding will be key for this game as the Squires only average a little over 22 boards a game compare to 29.7 boards a game for the Lady Zebras. The Zebras also record over a block a game, but their kryptonite has been their lack of scoring especially outside of junior Maci Brown and her 10 point-per-game average. I expect this game to be a low-scoring contest that could go either way. Ironically, this will be their first ever playoff meeting.
Prediction 39-36 Manchester
Wabash (8-13) vs 2A #3 Oak Hill
Wabash has built a nice program there over the years but the road ends here against the powerful Lady Golden Eagles.
Prediction 54-27 Oak Hill
Lewis Cass (1-21) vs Manchester
Remember the years when Lewis Cass was actually good? We can only dream for them to be that good. Manchester, Oak Hill awaits you.
Prediction 59-21 Manchester
2A #3 Oak Hill vs Manchester
These former TRC rivals could very well meet again in the sectional title game. This is a rematch from their Nov. 27 match with Oak Hill winning easily 60-30. Manchester has a hard-working club, but good luck trying to score or even defend this powerhouse program.
Taylor Westgate is just a junior that is a nightmare to defend in the paint and is a rebounding machine much like CN’s Meleah Leatherman with slightly less talent. Senior Adrianna Trexler is a tall, athletic forward that has the shooting abilities of a shooting guard that just recently made her commitment to ball at Indiana Wesleyan next season. Oh BTW have fun trying to guard not one, not two, but FOUR 6-foot or taller players on that team. Oak Hill is 4-0 all-time in the playoffs vs the Lady Squires.
Prediction 55-27 Oak Hill
2A Sectional 36
Canterbury 15 (2015)
Eastside 4 (2016)
South Adams 3 (2017)
Bluffton 2 defending Sectional Champs
Adams Central 2 (2001)
OTH’s Sectional 36 Preview
Eastside (6-14) vs Bluffton (10-11)
The Bluffton Lady Tigers enter this year’s sectional as the reigning champs in this one as they look to get one more crack at Central Noble in the Winamac Regional. Bluffton got a favorable draw where they basically play teams that are winnable games if they take care of business, but this is Hoosier Hysteria so you never know what could happen.
Sophomore Emme Boots is averaging 13.8 points 4 boards and 1.5 assists to lead Bluffton. This is a pretty scrappy team as they grab a reasonable 25 boards, over 12 steals, and racking up 2 blocks a game. This team moves the ball better than anybody in the state with just under 10 assists per game.
However, do not overlook the Eastside Lady Blazers. Their record or their numbers don’t surprise people, but their work ethic and rebounding makes them a team that could spoil an opponent’s playoff run. They’re young and not a very big team, but they do have some decent athletes and they are well-coached despite the lack of offense and a little injury bug. Work ethic is a big emphasis at Eastside.
I think it’ll be close for awhile, but I still expect Bluffton to grind it out and advance.
Prediction 47-36 Bluffton
Adams Central (12-10) vs FW Canterbury (0-9)
I have nothing to say about this one. The days of Canterbury owning their sectional every single year are over (for now). Onward AC.
Prediction 66-20 Adams Central
Churubusco (5-17) vs Bluffton
Busco has a pretty decent, young. and scrappy club led by Myah Bear despite the lack of wins, but that won’t be enough to beat the talented Lady Tigers.
Prediction 51-34 Bluffton
South Adams (10-12) vs Adams Central
Don’t you love county rivalry games in the playoffs? Well, for the first time in quite awhile, we have ourselves quite the anticipated matchup from these two Adams County schools from the ACAC. For the first time in nearly a decade, AC has themselves a girls basketball team to rally on after years of being irrelevant and being looked at as a pushover. You can partially thank that to Coach Bart Curtis (remember the name Angola fans?) as well as a nice, young, and exciting group of girls that are finally playing cohesive basketball with speed and skill.
As for the girls from Berne, IN, they continue to field a competitive team despite the graduation of a class from last year led by 1,000 point scorer Lexi Dellinger and a negative point differential. That is once again credited to great coaching as Brett Freeman recently got his 100th win as a head coach and hopefully if he continues coaching at SA could very well get is 100th win as the Starfires’ coach. Watch out for the dynamic duo of junior Lydia Loshe and senior Emilee Myers as they’ve combined for an average 25 of the team’s 36.2 points per game.
Each team has won 4 playoff games all time against each other. It should be fast paced, intense, and expect a lot of momentum swings in this game. So, get out the popcorn cuz it’s going to be a dandy.
Prediction 47-43 Adams Central
Bluffton vs Adams Central
So, this is the matchup we could be seeing in this sectional final. This is a rematch from the Dec. 15 game where Bluffton defeated AC pretty handedly 51-31. The big thing when playing in these type of games is experience and the mental aspects of the game. Teams start to get a little tired at this point of the season and leadership is crucial in these situations. My concerned with AC in this environment is not only them being a little inexperienced but for them to handle the nerves in what should be a ruckus atmosphere. I’ll bet on Bluffton’s experience to get them to another regional appearance. Both teams have beaten each other 5 times in the playoffs all time.
Prediction 50-42 Bluffton
2A Sectional 35
OTH’s Sectional 35 Preview
Prairie Heights 11 (2006)
Westview 10 (2016)
LaVille 6 (2003)
Bremen 5 (2004)
Central Noble 2 2-time defending Sectional Champs
2A #1 Central Noble (22-0) vs Westview (13-8)
The Lady Cougars enter this year’s state tournament as the reigning state champions and on paper are heavily favored to win their sectional, win their regional, and potentially are favored to win state (though it’s very difficult to repeat as state champs).
To this point, no one has been able to completely out play this team despite a couple occurrences where things looked a bit dicey in a couple games. They’ve never trailed at halftime and have only been outscored in a single quarter 13 total times and only once in the 1st Quarter alone.
Let’s face the facts Westview has their strengths and weaknesses. Pretty solid frontcourt but at times a suspect backcourt despite showing some recent improvement. The biggest problem with Westview this season is lack of consistency and that has led to some bad starts and have only mustered a lead at halftime 9 times but have never lost a game when doing so.
Whenever you have the dynamic Ashya Klopfenstein and the rising Gloria Miller on your team, you surely can’t completely count out this group. This is Westview and that’s the tradition that will not go away. Their first meeting where they lost at CN by nearly 50 points was simply a mix of Syd having an awesome game and Westview not playing near their best on defense as a team.
However, their second game saw Westview playing with a lot more energy especially after the 1st Quarter and Ashya played a great game in the NECC tournament with 21 in a 10-point loss. While I can’t count out what Westview can do, I just can’t justify an upset over the reigning state champs.
I love this Westview team’s heart and grit, and I know they’re going to do whatever they can to try to beat CN. However, this CN team is 22-0 for a reason, and the only way they don’t get it done is themselves. Could be close early but I think CN will find a way to win this game. Westview, however, is 7-1 all time in the playoffs vs CN.
Prediction 52-38 Central Noble
Bremen (17-6) vs LaVille (5-16)
Is this going to even be a contest? Bremen should advance.
Prediction 60-28 Bremen
Whitko (5-16) vs 2A #1 Central Noble
Remember that 2017 Sectional Championship? Boy that was a classic. However, the post-Aly Reiff/Brianna Cumberland era has been very cruel to Whitko. Central Noble your next journey awaits you.
Prediction 68-21 Central Noble
Prairie Heights (7-15) vs Bremen
Karlee Feldman. Prairie Heights doesn’t have an answer for this talented center but the future is surely bright for them. CN awaits you.
Prediction 55-30 Bremen
2A #1 Central Noble vs Bremen
This is a rematch from the Dec. 28 game where CN won 68-48 led by a strong 18-point effort from Bridgette Gray. Depth and rebounding are going to be big factors in determining this game. Bremen led by Feldman’s 8.2 boards gets about 25 rebounds a night, but this is a team that has a lot of nice shooters like Feldman, Erin Coffel, and Kaelynn Shively. Karlee will have to play her best to keep her team in this game but she has that capability. But, even with that, I do have some concerns in terms of their ability to consistently defend Meleah Leatherman. Discipline will also be big for both teams.
Central Noble is a good offensive team, but they’re pretty solid from the free throw line at 66%, and they’re a force to be reckoned with on defense. They suffocate their opponents with 32.4 boards a game 11.5 assists 11.1 steals and over 4 blocks a game. Bremen will have their hands full if CN does get here as we all expect them to.
Prediction 55-40 Central Noble
Top 10 2A teams in Northern Indiana
- Central Noble
- Oak Hill
- Winchester (Represent Southern Indiana in State Tourney)
- North Judson
- Hammond Noll
- Lafayette Central Catholic
- Monroe Central
- Western Boone
3A 24 @ New Castle
New Castle 18 (2017)
Jay County 11 (2006)
Yorktown 8 (2011)
Delta 5 (1993)
Hamilton Heights 4 defending Sectional Champs
Blackford 3 (2009)
OTH’s Sectional 24 Preview
Yorktown (12-8) vs 3A #21 Hamilton Heights (12-10)
Hamilton Heights will try to defend their sectional crown despite fielding a younger team than the one that lost to Fairfield in the Regional title game last season. This is a rematch from their 47-40 loss at home to Yorktown just a couple weeks earlier.
The Lady Huskies have a girl by the name of 5’7 junior Bayleigh Runner who’s averaging close to 20 points a game this season. As for Yorktown they have a scorer of their own in sophomore Elizabeth Reece who’s averaging 16.3 points and 3.6 assists per game this season.
Last season they came up just short of what could have been a sectional championship for the Lady Tigers. With the skill and defensive intensity these two teams bring, I expect them to play a good defensive game all the way to the final buzzer. Hamilton Heights is 3-1 all time in the playoffs vs Yorktown.
Prediction 40-38 Hamilton Heights
New Castle (13-9) vs Blackford (1-19)
Poor Blackford 😦 At least Luke Bro… (cough) (cough) I mean….. at least your boys team is pretty fun to watch.
Prediction 74-12 New Castle
Delta (12-11) vs 3A #16 Jay County (16-7)
Jay County gets another crack at a sectional championship when they take on rival Delta. After getting off to a 2-6 start, the Lady Patriots enter this sectional as the hottest team of the 6 schools competing here. Obviously a great tradition of hoops in Portland, IN, the Lady Patriots have a very talented and deadly squad led by senior Shelby Caldwell’s 18 points and 6.8 boards while making over 40 3 pointers. Jay County has made over 100 3’s on 32% shooting, they’re solid from the free throw line, and they average nearly 28 boards a game.
Their size and athleticism creates instant matchup problems against Delta. However, Delta has a lot of scoring depth that compliments their 48 point-per-game average and despite taking significantly more 3-point attempts than Jay County, they have made over 90 3’s for 29%. This will be their first playoff meeting in 15 years.
Prediction 59-34 Jay County
Muncie Burris (7-11) vs 3A #21 Hamilton Heights
Sorry Muncie Burris… this isn’t your year.
Prediction 55-27 Hamilton Heights
New Castle vs 3A #16 Jay County
If Jay County advances, it would be their first playoff meeting with New Castle in 18 years. Jay County has spent the majority of its history playing in either the Bellmont single-class system or being stuck following the shadows of Homestead and South Side in 4A. In just their 2nd season since being demoted to 3A, this might be their best chance for a championship with this group.
Much like Jay County, however, New Castle is very gifted with their own talent led by possibly one of the best individual players not only in the state but in the country: Senior Cameron Tabor. This is a girl that just recently dropped 45 points and 15 boards on Beech Grove averaging over 23 points, nearly 9 boards, over 4 assists, and nearly 2 blocks a game.
This is not a team you want to be trailing early in a critical win-or-go-home playoff game as they’re shooting 76% from the free throw line and they have made over 130 3’s. So, this team really likes the 3 ball, and that will be a challenge for the Lady Patriots.
I think Jay County finds a way to contain their potent offense, but how Caldwell and Tabor play may very well determine the winner of this game.
Prediction 50-47 Jay County
3A #21 Hamilton Heights vs 3A #16 Jay County
We could very well have ourselves a rematch from last year’s sectional title game that resulted in Hamilton Heights winning the sectional 57-45. This would only be their second meeting against each other and this could be a start of a decent rivalry. This could be a really interesting ball game because you have the more offensive minded Jay County squad vs the pesky, defensive minded Hamilton Heights team.
I expect this game to be a tight low-scoring game and there’s a chance this game goes beyond regulation.
Prediction 50-49 2OT Jay County
3A 23 @ Norwell
Bishop Luers 20 (2013)
Columbia City 17 (2000)
Marion 15 defending Sectional Champs
Norwell 13 (2017)
Bellmont 10 (2002)
Heritage 9 (1994)
Mississinewa 7 (2003)
OTH’s Sectional 23 Preview
3A #5 Norwell (19-3) vs 3A #4 Bellmont (19-2)
These two teams had just met 2 weeks earlier where Bellmont came away victories 50-42 at Bellmont. Now obviously Bellmont has a pretty impressive frontcourt led by the school’s all time leading scorer Grace Hunter, but they also have a nice supporting cast led by Megan Busick.
However, when you’re facing Eric Thornton’s Lady Knights, you’re facing history. 344-166 in 22 years under Coach Thornton, 8 sectional championships, and 1 regional which doesn’t include the number of NHC and NE8 titles. Norwell has a ton of weapons, they have strength in numbers, and their defense is always one of the best in Northern Indiana. Norwell holds a 11-11 playoff record vs their rivals, Bellmont hasn’t beaten them in a playoff game since 2008, and Norwell has won 6 of their last 7 meetings with them in sectional play. I think it’ll be close yet again but I think Norwell will somehow find a way to advance thanks to their experience and mental toughness.
Prediction 45-40 Norwell
3A #11 Marion (18-4) vs FW Bishop Luers (13-7)
This is a rematch from last year’s sectional championship game that saw Marion beating Bishop Luers. Luers has faced some ups and downs this season as they had gotten off to a very uncharacteristic slow start due to injuries to some key players on the team. Junior Lydia Reimbold has been one of the best players in our area and will have to continue being that dominant two-way player against a very tall, athletic Marion team that can shut down most offenses in the state with their size in the front court.
Marion is led by 2 6 foot players: 6’1 senior Jazmyn Turner at 17.5 points and 8.5 boards, and a whopping 6’6 YES 6’6 JUNIOR RaShava Kyle at 16.2 points, 10.5 boards, 2.5 assists, and 2.1 blocks. For Luers, it’s more based on perimeter shooting led by junior Lydia Reimbold at 14.3 points, 8.1 boards, 2.7 assists, and a block a game. Luers has a lot of scoring depth and are shooting 32% from downtown. Both teams grab a ton of rebounds with nearly 32 for Marion and nearly 34 for Luers.
The biggest disadvantage for Luers is their size since they don’t have any players that are 6 foot. Marion’s biggest disadvantage is their scoring depth since 5’4 junior Ellie Vermillion and 5’7 senior Ayanna Harvey are the only other big producers for Marion. In conclusion, I just don’t know how Luers is going to be able to box out both of these 6 foot Marion forwards along with being able to get consistent production in the paint. There’s no question Luers will find some offense from the perimeter, but can they find production in the areas where Turner and Kyle will be on the floor.
Prediction 57-51 Marion
Columbia City (13-10) vs Mississinewa (13-9)
An experienced Columbia City team along with the addition of hometown girl Alaina Rongos has made this team a very underrated team in this sectional because of the fact this sectional is so tough and so talented that it is easy to overlook this program.
Rongos, Olivia Shearer, and Grace Cotter have been the three names that have led a pretty dynamic offense at CC. Their defense has also been better as of late as they have allowed 40 or fewer points in 5 of their last 8 games. As for Ole Miss as they are called, they have the potential to score a little, but they seem to be more defensive. However, despite being tested a bit, 9 of the Lady Indian’s 13 wins have come against weaker opponents with a losing record.
Prediction 52-34 Columbia City
Heritage (16-5) vs 3A #5 Norwell
Heritage has had a nice season, but Norwell/Bellmont is a bad matchup for Heritage. Period. End of discussion.
Prediction 60-32 Norwell
3A #11 Marion vs Columbia City
Now, this matchup is quite an interesting one regardless if it’s Luers or Marion. If Columbia City plays Luers, then you may be seeing a bit more of a perimeter shooting offensive game. However, if it’s Marion which I predicted to get here, this could be a pesky, low-scoring game. This could be a rematch from the Nov. 16 game in which CC won 54-37. Now, there are Columbia City fans that will tell me “But, they have already beaten Marion this season.” However, this was way back in November. The Lady Eagles played with a lot of energy that night, but I don’t think Marion played their best effort that night.
Now, both teams would be coming into this game hot. Marion has won 12 of their last 13 regular season games and Columbia City has won their last 4 regular season games. However, I expect this game to be close and low-scoring, but I just think Marion’s frontcourt is going to be enough to send them back to the sectional finals vs most likely the Norwell/Bellmont winner.
Prediction 46-42 Marion
3A #5 Norwell vs 3A #11 Marion
This could be an interesting final for Norwell as they’ll either be facing Luers, Columbia City, or Marion. If it is CC, Norwell’s depth and defensive intensity will probably be able to grind out a win over the Lady Eagles. If it’s Luers, well, it could be interesting since Luers eliminated Norwell last season, but Norwell probably has an edge in this one.
But, a matchup with Marion could be fascinating. Marion has a ton of size and I do think early on that the rebounding department is obviously going to be key to this game. However, this Norwell team is a veteran team with a lot of heart, grit, and athleticism. Seniors Ashley VandenBoom and Aubrey Dunnuck are the two most notable names of this squad.
Norwell has an excellent backcourt, and while their frontcourt is a little small, they have a lot of athletes. the difference for me is that this Norwell team is a veteran team that is battle-tested, and they have proven time and time again that size doesn’t shake down their confidence.
This sectional is the most difficult sectional in the state of Indiana, so making predictions in 90% of these games are very difficult to get it right. Nevertheless, I expect this game to be close, but I think Norwell’s depth and mental toughness will show in this game. I think it’s Norwell, winning yet another sectional.
Prediction 54-47 Norwell
3A 22 @ Concordia
Garrett 12 (2014)
Concordia 11 4-time defending Sectional Champs
Bishop Dwenger 9 (1999)
Leo 8 (2009)
New Haven 3 (1993)
Angola 1 (2003)
OTH’s Sectional 22 Preview
3A #15 FW Concordia (15-6) vs FW Bishop Dwenger (11-9)
You look at the draw and you see Concordia facing Dwenger. Many outsiders of the area would assume this shouldn’t be a problem for Concordia. Oh contraire! If that’s the case, then you don’t know the SAC and these two in particular. This is rematch from the Dec.14 game that resulted in a 50-31 Concordia win, but these two are rivals so typically you see a much better second game.
Dwenger is a more offensive minded team that has a lot of scoring depth and some size. Even though this team has struggled mightily on defense, this is a team that has been tested numerous times with a lot of undergrads. But, they also have a lot of depth in the rebounding department as the team averages over 34 of them along with 2.6 blocks a game.
Concordia is the near opposite with the exception of them being battle-tested. They’re a defensive minded, veteran team with nowhere near as much scoring depth nor rebounding/blocks as Dwenger does. But, Concordia has a super star player in Carissa Garcia who averages 19 points, Nautica Rogers who averages over 12 points, and this team is way more disciplined than Dwenger.
Dwenger has made 17 more 3’s than Concordia but only shoots 24% from downtown and they have taken 112 more 3’s than Concordia. The Lady Cadets have been to the free throw line 111 more times than Dwenger and have shot 11% better from that department than them.
So, while I see Dwenger being in it for most of this game, I think their inexperience along with Concordia’s patient business like approach will make the difference in this game. Concordia is 11-2 when leading at the half and 4-2 in games decided by 10 points or less. Dwenger is 8-0 when leading at the half, but they are just 3-8 when trailing or tied at the half and 3-3 in games decided by 10 points or less.
Concordia is 11-6 vs Dwenger all time in the playoffs and Dwenger’s last playoff win vs Concordia came in the 2003 sectional semifinals 52-40 (the last time Angola won a sectional). Concordia’s last first round loss in sectionals: 1997 vs Northrop (Single-Class Tournament era).
Prediction 49-41 Concordia
Garrett (12-8) vs New Haven (3-19)
I have three words for ya
ROLL BIG TRAIN
Prediction 64-22 Garrett
Leo (7-15) vs 3A #14 Angola (17-6)
So, here we are. Angola is back in this same position as they have been for the last couple seasons: competing for a sectional. Honestly, this is a perfect draw for Angola because they don’t have to worry about Dwenger or Concordia until the sectional championship. For them, they just need to take care of business and play this entire week with their best basketball of the season.
Here is a rematch from the Dec. 5 game in which Leo won 38-35 at Leo. Now, I know people will say how did Angola lose to them? Well, please understand that this team was going through a ton of adversity where the team was still playing hard, but they weren’t playing to the way they’re capable of doing. In some ways, they set high expectations coming into this season and early on they underachieved. Those struggles felt a lot like when CN underachieved for a span of 2 weeks last season and I felt they weren’t playing up to their capabilities. This team handled that adversity extremely well and they have since been playing the way I remember this team that plays with that hunger, their work ethic, and cohesion.
Despite not being a really big team, Angola has fielded one of the deepest teams in the area with a very good backcourt and a pretty relentless frontcourt. Hanna Knoll (14 points over 2 assists and nearly 5 steals a game) and Reace Peppler (10 points nearly 2 assists a game) have led the offensive attack all season long. Work ethic and defense have always been their two biggest strengths especially over the last couple seasons. This is a team that pressures opposing offenses better than most teams in Northeast Indiana with Kayla Fenstermaker and Lauren Leech playing very well on that side of the ball.
As for Leo, they’re a little bigger than Angola, grab about 30 boards a game, and they do have some talent led by Casey Steward (7.3 points and 2.4 assists) and Hannah Adams (12.4 points and 5.8 boards per game). This isn’t a bad defensive team, but they really struggle to score on a consistent basis. However, I have a lot of concerns in terms of their ability to stay composed in higher pressure situations.
They have struggled against weaker opponents, and for some reason when they have a big lead, they can’t hold leads? Is that where I’m getting? I mean, how do you blow a 20-point 4th quarter lead, lose to Bishop Dwenger by 5, and call yourself a contender?
I guess that’s why their record is what it is and keep in mind Leo blew that lead just last Tuesday! I mean Dwenger plays hard. Yes, but if they can’t hold leads against either younger or mediocre teams, how are they going to handle situations in sectional play against veteran and elite teams?
Against Angola, they shot a season high 58% from the floor, but I don’t see Angola allowing them to shoot the ball that well. Leo and Angola have won 3 games against each other all time in the playoffs. Angola is 15-1 when leading at the half compare to just 4-2 for Leo. Angola is 3-2 while Leo is 3-7 in games decided by 10 points or less. It’ll be interesting to see Angola does this week and this game in particular since they haven’t played in over a week, but knowing them they’ll be fine.
Prediction 52-37 Angola
Woodlan (15-7) vs 3A #15 FW Concordia
It’s a rematch from Concordia’s 58-30 win just a week earlier
Prediction 52-36 Concordia
Garrett vs 3A #14 Angola
Now, here’s the interesting scope of this potential matchup. Regardless what happens with the Angola-Leo game, Garrett is going to have a since of familiarity with the two schools. But, this could potentially be the third meeting this season between the lunch pale Lady Railroaders and the Stingy Lady Hornets. Angola has owned the first two meetings outscoring Garrett 95-56. But, as we all know, the postseason is a different animal by itself. There’s this notion that it doesn’t matter how many times you beat the crap out of one team. All it takes is one bad game or one exceptional performance and that can be the difference between winning and having your season come to a bitter end.
Garrett has a nice mix of senior leadership and youth. The seniors led by McKenzie Casselman (9.3 points 34 made 3’s and 5.2 boards) and Camden Bodey (6.1 points an 4.7 boards) have guided the young, but maturing Garrett squad to heights they never reached just from last season alone. They’re 67% from the free throw line as a team while averaging nearly 24 boards and 3 blocks. They’re going to bring back a good chunk of their core next season, but now the question becomes: are they ready to play in the playoffs?
In the combined two meetings, Angola has held Garrett to just 20 field goals at 32% from the floor and has allowed them to grab an average of just 21 boards a game. The key area that may determine this game is the turnovers. In the two combined meetings, Garrett has turned the ball over a whopping 46 times (this can’t happen if you’re Garrett) while Angola amassed as many steals (37) as the combined number of free throw attempts by both teams (38) let alone free throws made (27). Angola nearly tripled the number of steals Garrett had in the games by a near 8-3 ratio.
When it’s all said and done, their ability to score and defend the paint will be the difference. I expect a gritty, physical game since these two teams are long time rivals dating back to the good ole years of the defunct NEIAC. Garrett holds a 3-1 all-time playoff record vs Angola, but their last win against them came in 1997 when they were hosting the single-class sectional.
Prediction 49-37 Angola
3A #15 FW Concordia vs 3A #14 Angola
Now, here’s where people, especially the ones in Fort Wayne that think they know everything, will probably get angry for the prediction I am about to tell you. Now, I’ll admit. Outside of my diligence towards CN, I like watching Angola play, but I really don’t like Concordia. However, biasness has nothing to do with this prediction. I wouldn’t even consider picking Angola if I didn’t think they were capable of competing with the mighty Lady Cadets.
I know people outside of Angola are going to tell me “You don’t watch basketball or you don’t watch Concordia play you dumbass!” WRONG. I do watch SAC games. I don’t live under a troll’s bridge. I pay attention to EVERYONE.
This is not to undermine the legacy Carissa Garcia and head coach David Miller has brought to the city and to the entire state of Indiana. Carissa is a Sydney Freeman, generational-talent and demeanor. She is a star talent that when her team needs her the most, she can carry a program on her back and make the biggest plays to help her team win on both sides of the court. When it’s all said and done, she’s going to do great things at Northern Kentucky.
David Miller is not only Concordia’s head girl’s basketball coach, he IS Concordia athletics as we know it. Without this guy’s contributions to this program and their success over the last 2 decades with him being 53 wins from 500 in his 3-decade career, who knows where Concordia would be today. You don’t win that many games and that many sectionals without great coaching. Ladies and gentlemen, regardless what happens in the coming days and seasons, he has cemented himself to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Two stat lines people will point out to me when discussing Angola vs Concordia girls basketball. 1.) Concordia is 7-0 all-time in the playoffs vs Angola and 2.) Concordia’s 11 sectionals, 4 regionals, and 2 state titles compared to Angola’s 2003 sectional title.
Ok, whatever, When it’s playoff time, stats are put aside.
Listen, don’t you think Angola is motivated to play and beat this team? They’ve spent their entire lives hoping to someday prove to the city of Fort Wayne that they can play and beat Concordia. They won’t admit it, but let’s face it. The city of Angola is tired of hearing the repeated, depressing statements that Angola can’t beat Concordia. Alumni there are getting really tired of seeing this recurring theme of Angola can’t play 4 quarters with the Lady Cadets. The Lady Hornets are tired of repeatedly saying to themselves “Oh, what could have been.. maybe next year.” In fact, I more than anyone else is absolutely SICK and TIRED of the media undermining this program when I KNOW from experience that they are far beyond capable of competing and beating Concordia. I don’t care what the media says and I don’t care if you agree with my analysis or not. As long as I think they can legitimately compete for a sectional title, I will pick Angola to at least consider pulling off an upset.
A team’s physical size doesn’t determine the overall outlook of a champion. It’s the one that demonstrates the heart of a champion. Anyone can win on any given night because the playoffs really test and quite frankly shows the true colors of each team. Look at Central Noble for instance. Outside of Meleah, they’re not that big either and look how much they’ve accomplished.
When analyzing this matchup, you have to look back at the most recent games with Concordia. In 2017, Angola was inexperienced and the veteran Lady Cadets used their suffocating defense to shut them down. Last season’s sectional, if you take away a sluggish 1st quarter, Angola was only outscored 38-37. However, they were out-rebounded by 12, Concordia shot the ball 24% better that night, and Carissa Garcia and Chantese Craig combined for 35 of the 49 points.
Notice that this is the first time I’ve said Chantese Craig in this blog. Well, that’s because she suffered a pretty bad leg injury sometime after the last regular season and hasn’t been able to play volleyball and will miss the entire 2018-19 season in high hopes of coming back better than ever. I think Craig’s presence last season had a ginormous effect on the outcome of the game due to her blocks, rebounding, and interior scoring. Craig’s absence has made them a bit smaller than the team that won sectionals last season.
Now, this game will be close because Concordia isn’t going to sit there and say “Wow, what a great story you guys have! Here, take our sectional trophy.” No, Angola has to come out this week and play each game they have to play like it is their last. Then, when they get to this point, come prepared for a potential title game not afraid of them, enjoying this moment, and put on their hard helmets to EARN this trophy. This is Angola’s best chance to prove to everyone why they deserve to win sectionals before the Craig girl comes back as the dominant center as she was her freshman season. If they have proven in the past to go neck and neck with the number one team in state the undefeated Lady Cougars on multiple occasions, then don’t tell me they can’t play with them!
Prediction 48-44 2OT Angola
3A 21 @ West Noble
Northwood 24 (2014)
Wawasee 13 (2011)
Tippy Valley 8 (2017)
Fairfield 3 defending Sectional Champs
Lakeland 3 (1996)
West Noble 1 (1988)
OTH’s Sectional 21 Preview
Wawasee (4-17) vs Lakeland (14-7)
Well, Lakeland, for the first time in what seems like forever, your Lady Lakers are finally in the discussion of winning a sectional championship and not being looked at as a push over much like what will happen with Wawasee. Sorry, Lady Warriors, no Cinderella run for you. Lakeland, I expect your girls to advance and enjoy their first playoff win in 14 years and first playoff win over Wawasee since 1998. That’s crazy bruh! 14 years? Stats don’t lie.
Prediction 58-33 Lakeland
3A #20 West Noble (15-5) vs Fairfield (6-15)
These two teams met 5 days earlier with West Noble coming away victorious in that game. Fairfield has owned West Noble in recent memory, but those were the yesteryears. This year’s Fairfield team is a much younger and inexperienced one than last season by itself. The Lady Falcons not only have struggled to score this season, but they have also went through a bit of the injury bug as of late which doesn’t help with the down season they’re having.
Even through the offense struggles, their defense has been pretty good and they’re rebounding close to 27 boards a game which is very good for a team that’s only won 6 games. As for West Noble, they’re dangerous all across the board. Fast, deep, athletic, and they play with an edge. This will most likely be Fairfield’s last year in 3A before they are demoted back to 2A due to recent enrollment decline.
Prediction 49-30 West Noble
Tippy Valley (15-6 vs Lakeland
This is a rematch from the Dec. 29 match at West Noble where Lakeland saw their double-digit lead disappeared and thus a Vikings’ win. These two teams have only met in the playoffs twice: both won by Tippy Valley in convincing fashion. This isn’t the Lady Lakers of the past, but this is still a very young Lakeland team that does have something to prove this week.
Lakeland has shot the ball fairly well led by Bailey Hartsough (18.4 points, 6 boards, nearly 3 assists, just under 5 steals, and a block a game), Keirstein Roose (10.6 points and 5.6 boards per game). The Lakers’ size is very prevalent as they’ve amassed over 28 boards and over 3 blocks a game. But, with just one senior and a team mostly consisted of sophomores, they’re going to be heavily tested this week especially against the powerhouse programs of Tippy Valley, Northwood, and West Noble.
The Lady Vikings might be the most dangerous offensive team in the entire sectional with one of the state’s most prolific players: senior Sophie Bussard (21.9 points, 8.2 boards, and over 3 assists per game). Even outside of her game, this is a pretty deep Vikings squad that shoots 42% as a team and grabbing over 27 boards.
This game will come down to discipline and rebounds since that seems to be the two major areas outside of scoring for these two teams. Lakeland is starting to get recognition by many schools and coaches as their rise to relevance continues. As for Tippy Valley, this is probably their last year before dropping to 2A the next school year. Expect a low-scoring contest yet again.
Prediction 45-39 Tippy Valley
3A #13 Northwood (16-7) vs 3A #20 West Noble
This is the matchup we all want: NORTHWOOD vs WEST NOBLE. Much like with Angola, West Noble hasn’t been able to get that Panther off their back as they’ve lost all 7 playoff meetings vs Northwood.
The Black Swish as they’re called by the Napanee locals have built a remarkable 30+-year dynasty with 20 sectional titles. What makes Northwood such a tough matchup is not only their size in the paint, but they’re also a huge threat from distance shooting 34% from downtown. Allthough Northwood only averages less than 24 boards, the presence of 6 foot junior Kate Rulli (13.1 points and 6.7 boards) and 6’1 Maddy Payne (12.2 points 5.1 boards). However, I saw West Noble twice just this season and they’re a determined group of kids with so much depth. Size will be a challenge for WN, but they’ve proven they can play with anyone regardless of size. Plus, with this being in Ligonier and the team having 6 seniors, I think they’re going to somehow pull this one off.
Northwood is 13-2 when leading at the half, but WN is 4-2 when trailing or tied at the half but they’re 10-3 when leading at the half.
Prediction 43-42 West Noble
Tippy Valley vs 3A #20 West Noble
The biggest challenge for West Noble is trying to contain Bussard and a team that’s pretty deep. Depth and discipline will be keys to this game, but I think with West Noble having already play them before this season and having a more veteran team than Tippy Valley, I think West Noble knows what it takes to win trophies from past seasons and winning two sectionals in volleyball. However, how Sophie Bussard plays could be the difference maker.
Prediction 47-40 West Noble
3A 19 @ South Bend Washington
South Bend Washington 9 (2009)
John Glenn 8 (2001)
Culver Academies 6 (2011)
Jimtown 5 (2008)
New Prairie 3 (2000)
Mishawaka Marian 1 defending Sectional Champs
New Prairie (4-17) vs Jimtown (1-21)
Isn’t it amazing that they were state finalists just 12 years ago. Now they’re the doormat of Elkhart County hoops. At least their other sports for the most part are pretty good.
Prediction 48-17 New Prairie
Culver Academies (11-7) vs John Glenn (12-9)
CMA is quite an interesting team that could give the Lady Falcons fits, but I expect John Glenn to advance.
Prediction 51-35 John Glenn
3A #2 Mishawaka Marian (19-3) vs New Prairie
Mishawaka Marian is a bad matchup for New Prairie.
Prediction 61-25 Mishawaka Marian
South Bend Washington (10-11) vs John Glenn
The Lady Panthers have an interesting group there, but I like Glenn to move on to the sectional championship.
Prediction 49-37 John Glenn
3A #2 Mishawaka Marian vs John Glenn
This is an interesting matchup because these two schools met in the title game last season where Mishawaka Marian won its first ever sectional in OT @ John Glenn and obviously the rest is history.
Marian has a very deep ball club with 3 legit scorers Makayla Weaver (13.8 points and 4 boards), McKenzie Hudgen (12.1 points 4 boards), and Anija Payne (12.3 points 10.6 boards and 1.1 blocks). The team shoots 42% and 30% from downtown and they amass nearly 30 boards and over 3 blocks.
While Glenn averages nearly 47 points a game, a good chunk of that scoring comes from senior Bethany Hayden with 15.2 points. The key area will be rebounding since there’s a near 10 board difference. I expect Marian to win sectionals again. The Lady Knights are 4-0 vs John Glenn.
Prediction 47-33 Mishawaka Marian
Top 10 3A Teams in Northern Indiana
- Mishawaka Marian
- Benton Central
- FW Concordia
- Jay County
4A 6 @ Homestead
Huntington North 18 (2006)
Homestead 12 (2017)
South Side 7 defending Sectional Champs
Muncie Central 7 (2015)
Wayne 1 (1979)
OTH’s Sectional 6 Preview
FW South Side (14-7) vs Huntington North (7-14)
Nice season for the young Lady Vikings but their season ends here.
Prediction 64-43 South Side
4A #2 Homestead (22-3) vs FW Wayne (1-19)
Homestead is a bad matchup for Wayne and for pretty much most of the SAC teams.
Prediction 72-20 Homestead
Muncie Central (5-17) vs FW South Side
(Yawn) South Side all the way..
Prediction 69-34 South Side
4A #2 Homestead vs FW South Side
This is a rematch from last year’s first round sectional meeting where South upset Homestead. This is also a rematch from Homestead’s 43-30 SAC title win and the 48-33 Homestead win 6 nights later. There have only been 5 games where Homestead was in jeopardy of getting the win with 3 of those losses coming against high quality competition outside of the area radar.
The Lady Spartans are deep all across the board with Sydney Graber, Sylare Starks, Riley Parker, and the true freshman Ayanna Patterson to name a few. As for the Lady Archers, they have a lot of weapons with Jaci Jones, another true freshman in Olivia Smith, and Alaya Chapman. However, the biggest difference to me is the depth, their ability to space the floor, their tenacious rebounding, and the fact that everyone is a threat at Homestead.
Because this has been a huge rivalry in the SAC in recent years, I expect this game to be close, but this time it is Homestead that prevails. Homestead is 8-7 all time in the playoffs vs South Side.
Prediction 54-47 Homestead
4A 5 @ DeKalb
DeKalb 15 (2006)
Snider 13 (2015)
Northrop 11 (2009)
Carroll 8 2-time defending Sectional Champs
East Noble 7 (2016)
North Side 2 (1979)
OTH’s Sectional 5 Preview
DeKalb (2-19) vs FW Northrop (11-9)
This is not their year for the young DeKalb Lady Barons. Northrop, your journey awaits you!
Prediction 52-30 Northrop
FW Carroll (11-10) vs FW Snider (8-11)
Here’s the interesting storyline for this game. Carroll appeared to be the favorite of winning in a weaker sectional. But, Northrop and Snider have improved drastically with snider beating Carroll just last Friday. The Snider group led by Da’Leshia Davis and her 18.4 points 8.9 boards and 4 assists. This team has played significantly better as they have only allowed about 42 points a game in the last 3 games. They have beaten Bellmont, Concordia, and Carroll to enter sectionals on a roll.
Carroll has a pretty nice core themselves led by sophomore Emiliy Parrett and her 12-13 point per game average along with Malia Williams and Olivia Hoepnner. I know people are falling into the Snider cinderella story, but I don’t buy it. Even though Carroll has been inconsistent, there’s just something them in the playoffs that you can’t overlook. I see Carroll getting revenge. Snider is building its reputation and it could be a start of a good run starting next season.
Prediction 48-43 Carroll
FW North Side (5-16) vs FW Northrop
Northrop is a bad matchup for North Side. Onward Northrop.
Prediction 68-44 Northrop
East Noble (4-19) vs Carroll
Sorry, East Noble, the team is very young and defense is an issue especially against either Snider or Carroll who both can score the basketball. Carroll, Northrop awaits you.
Prediction 61-38 Carroll
Northrop vs Carroll
These two teams met back on Nov. 16 with a 62-54 Carroll win. Carroll had went on a 6-1 start during this stretch while Northrop went 3-4. Since then, Carroll finished the regular season 5-9 while Northrop went 8-5.
Northrop is an interesting team because they’re pretty young, but much like last season they’re very talented. Destiny Jackson is a baller for Northrop averaging 11.8 points 9.1 boards 2.3 assists and 2.4 blocks. Northrop has an additional 3 other players that can score the basketball or make plays at will and this team grabs over 33 rebounds a game (more than Central Noble if you’re asking). So, this team really emphasizes the defensive side of the game especially when they’re averaging over 4 blocks a game.
Discipline and capitalizing from the free throw line will be key since this will be a game of attrition. Northrop’s biggest problem has been their struggles from 3-point land and only shooting 53% from the free throw line. Northrop is 3-2 all time in playoffs vs Carroll. Carroll has had a nice run of success, but I think in a close as this one will be, I think Northrop will shock everybody and win the sectional.
Prediction: 47-44 Northrop
4A 4 @ Northridge
Warsaw 17 (2015)
Elkhart Memorial 14 (2012)
Plymouth 12 (2013)
Goshen 7 (1996)
Elkhart Central 3 defending Sectional Champs
Concord 3 (1992)
Northridge 2 (2017)
Northridge (17-6) vs Plymouth (17-5)
After Northridge’s run to state ended in a heart-breaking first-round loss to Elkhart Central, they seem poise to get back to that same position they were in at semistate in 2017. This isn’t a flashy team, but they’re a very solid defensive team led by Morgan Litwiller (20.8 points and 6.6 boards) who recorded 1,000 points earlier this year. They shoot well from deep at 30% and over 100 made 3’s, and they’re a strong 76% from the free throw line. This a team with a lot of solid role players and one solid superstar.
Plymouth on the other hand, has some scoring depth with Hallie Reichard, Cassidy Holliday, and Claire Tanner.Much like with Northridge, they shoot the 3-ball well, but don’t take nearly as many 3’s, and they still shoot 72% from the free throw line.
However, their biggest problem is the rebounding department with only 18.4 boards a game. So, you can say they really lack an interior presence to crash the boards and get greasy. I like Northridge’s experience to help them survive and advance. This will be their first playoff meeting.
Prediction 53-44 Northridge
Elkhart Memorial (6-16) vs Warsaw (13-8)
Warsaw all the way.
Prediction 50-33 Warsaw
4A #11 Elkhart Central (16-6) vs Goshen (14-7)
On paper, Elkhart Central is the obvious favorite to win sectionals. Outstanding scoring attack led by Kaitlyn Costner (16.2 points and 3.7 assists), Trinitee Harris (13.9 points and 4.2 assists), and Yiesha Williams (11.6 points and 5.2 boards).
They have 4 players shooting 50% or higher, they shoot 32% from downtown, and averaging 26.8 boards and nearly 3 blocks. A lot of people would say: Look at Elkhart Central! They’re a great team! Goshen is a nobody!
Not so fast.
If you don’t watch Goshen basketball and pick against them like that, then you’re blind as a mouse. Goshen is a very-defensive minded team and I know that from Shaun Hill’s days at Bremen high school. They don’t shoot the ball very well, but they can score and score enough to win. This team shoots 66% from the free throw line compare to just 53% for Elkhart Central. Goshen averages 26.5 boards, but they average in an insane 6.3 blocks a game.
They have a player that can make a huge difference for her team on both sides of the court: the coach’s daughter: Brynn-Shoup Hill. the 6’2 sophomore averages 14.3 points, shoots 26% from downtown, shoots 83% from the free throw line, and she averages 7.8 boards and 4.7 blocks.
I’ll take the CN game for instance, Central Noble shot 40% in the game, but they were outrebounded by Goshen, had 11 shots blocked by Goshen (9 from Shoup Hill), and only scored 37 points. Media experts, don’t pick Elkhart Central just because they’re flashy and they can score. Knowing Coach Hill and that Goshen team, I FULLY EXPECT this team to slow down and frustrate the crap out of Elkhart Central and that will be just enough to get the major upset win. Goshen is 7-2 all time in the playoffs vs the Lady Blazers. I know Go crazy..
Prediction 44-40 OT Goshen
Concord (14-8) vs Northridge
Another very interesting matchup much like with the Plymouth game. Concord at times can flat out score. They have two players combing for nearly 22 points and they’re driving force of that Minutemen squad and Concord grabs 27 boards a game and 1.5 blocks. This team also shoots 70% from the free throw line. Concord will be good for a while, but I still like Northridge in the end. Concord is 5-3 all time in the playoffs vs Northridge but hasn’t beaten them in this stage in 26 years.
Prediction 49-42 Northridge
Warsaw vs Goshen
This could be one of those ugly, gritty playoff games in this round regardless who wins between Goshen and Elkhart Central. Warsaw much like Goshen emphasizes their defense, but with a bit more scoring touch. Warsaw has a ton of depth led by Maddie Ryman. This team shoots pretty well from the field and from deep, and they’re a nice 685 from the free throw line. They don’t rebound quite as well as Goshen or Elkhart Central, but they’re a scrappy bunch at Warsaw.
This will be tight and it will be ugly, but I see the Lady Tigers in the orange and black to advance to the sectional championship. Warsaw is 4-0 in the playoffs vs Goshen.
Prediction 45-43 Warsaw
Northridge vs Warsaw
This is a rematch from the 44-37 Raider win back on Jan.5 and much like with the previous two rounds, I’m expecting another tight one since this sectional is so tough to predict. However, I just have this feeling Northridge hosting the sectional and bitter from last year will find a way to win this sectional. Warsaw is 3-2 all time vs Northridge in the playoffs.
Prediction 50-41 Northridge
4A 3 @ Mishawaka
Penn 18 defending Sectional Champs
South Bend St. Jospeh 13 (2017)
LaPorte 9 (2017)
Mishawaka 6 (1996)
South Bend Riley 5 (2003)
South Bend Adams 5 (2001)
South Bend Clay 4 (2010)
Mishawaka (7-16) vs South Bend Riley (5-16)
Gritty game either way, but I like Mishawaka in this matchup.
Prediction 38-28 Mishawaka
South Bend St. Jospeh (15-7) vs South Bend Adams (5-15)
St. Joe is going to move on!
Prediction 62-24 St. Joe
4A #3 Penn (21-0) vs South Bend Clay (6-16)
Penn is a bad matchup for South Bend Clay. Next!
Prediction 70-25 Penn
LaPorte (14-7) vs Mishawaka
LaPorte all the way!
Prediction 55-30 LaPorte
South Bend St. Jospeh vs 4A #3 Penn
There hasn’t been a more recent rivalry quite like Penn vs South Bend St. Joseph. Penn is so dangerous led by Trinity Clinton, Jordyn Smith, and Reganne Pate. The team shoots 48% and get this 42% from downtown with over 140 3’s made with pate shooting 53% and have made 86 of them. They grab 26 boards, 14 assists, 14 steals, and nearly 3 blocks a game. Their lone kryptonite is that they only shot 56% from the charity stripe. St. Joe has always been an excellent girls team, but this isn’t the team that won state last season with 3 seniors and 3 freshman on the team. The seasoned Penn Lady Kingsmen shall advance.
Prediction 58-42 Penn
LaPorte vs 4A #3 Penn
LaPorte has a really nice ball club led by the Ott sisters PFW commit Riley Ott with 17.3 points and 3.6 assists and Rylin Ott with 16.4 points 9.8 boards and 1.2 blocks. LaPorte shoots a respectable 39% and 29% from downtown, they shoot 65% from the free throw line, and grab over 31 boards a game. While I do see LaPorte staying in this game for a while, I can’t see Penn not winning this sectional.
Prediction 54-43 Penn
Top 10 4A Schools in Northern Indiana
- Crown Point
- Elkhart Central
- Kankakee Valley
- Michigan City