Defending Class 2A State Champions Central Noble will host as they put their 30 game win streak on the line in their home arena.
The overall record of this sectional is 66-60 making it one of 30 Sectionals in the state with an above .500 winning percentage.
Note: Records are as of the morning of Saturday, January 26
CENTRAL NOBLE (22-0)
The key during the 2018 state title run for teams was to try and stop both Sydney Freeman and Meleah Leatherman in the same game. Legend had it that if you could stop both, you could beat Central Noble. Nobody stopped both, nobody beat Central Noble.
If that legend was true or not, I am not sure. What I do know is that if it was true, it certainly is not true now. Along has come Bridgette Gray as a legit, true reliable third scoring option. The Cougars are also getting more contributions on both sides of the ball from Lydia Andrews and Sam Brumbaugh. Anna Stayner and Jocelyn Winebrenner have also given credible minute to this team. The state championship team was not as solid of a seven deep group that this team is.
And then there are Freeman and Leatherman. Freeman has gotten her looks and had herself some great games despite being one of the biggest targets for junk defenses and aggressive play in the area. Leatherman has been an unstoppable force in the paint. So still, containing them both in one game is easier said than done.
On top of it all, the Cougars look like they are having a lot of fun night in and night out. From coach Josh Treesh, all down the bench, there is not visible stress or tension. This team is enjoying the moment.
Bremen is the top contender because they took a decent shot at Central Noble already this season even if they lost by 20. They are certainly licking their chops for another chance, which wouldn’t come until the finals as Bremen first draws LaVille on Tuesday. Bremen’s two best scorers are their two best shooters and that is a big advantage for them. Defenses will try and slow Erin Coffel (15 ppg, 51 percent FG) and Karlee Feldman (11.3 ppg, 51 percent FG), but stopping them is a different story.
Westview has not won more than two straight since a four game winning streak to start the season. Senior Ashya Klopfenstein and sophomore Gloria Miller are the two who will need to lead Westview into Tuesday’s game opposite Central Noble. And why not Westview to be the first one to take a swing at knocking off the defending champions? The Warriors turned a 46 point regular season loss to Central Noble into a 10-point loss in the NECC Tournament. Are they in line for another 36 point swing? That would be silly. But they look a lot more like a threat today than they did just six weeks ago.
PRAIRIE HEIGHTS (7-15)
Junior Alexis German is the name most known to the area and for good reason. She is capable of shooting the ball at a very high level. In one of her best games of the year, against Heritage in November, she scored 24 points by shooting 80 percent from the field. They will get a bye and the winner of Bremen and LaVille on Friday night. Can Prairie Heights win this Sectional? Unlikely. But they have some spots they can make waves and this is a good chance for the young team to grow.
The Lancers are the only team in this Sectional that have zero wins in Class 2A. After a win over 3A Jimtown in the season opener, they have only beaten Class 1A teams. Running into Bremen in the late Tuesday game isn’t a good draw for them. Trynitie Cox has done a good job rebounding the ball on offense for LaVille.
The Wildcats have made strides from a year ago and have two of their last three after losing 11 straight. They received a bye and will play Friday in the semi final against the Central Noble/Westview winner, which will take a big effort from Whitko. The Wildcats best hope hinges on one the state’s best rebounders the last two years, Ellie Snep, being able to be efficient offensively as well.
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