Throughout the weekend, your favorite amphibian is going to be checking in on the sectionals that will most interest our area teams and readers.
We started out in Class 1A, where Lakewood Park is the defending sectional champion. This sectional starts on Tuesday.
Note: Records are as of the morning of Saturday, January 26.
BETHANY CHRISTIAN (12-9)
The Bruins have the most success against other teams in this Sectional with a record of 5-1. They last won their Sectional in 2016.
Bethany Christian has a habit of either winning big or losing big, with an average of around three points per contest sitting as their margin in scoring. Games have been decided within five points for them just three times, including beating Whitko in overtime and losing to Lakewood Park which was their only loss to a Sectional opponent.
Their first round draw of Hamilton on Wednesday is a favorable one, although the two teams did not play this season.
The Bruins are led by senior Anya Kauffman and her 16.3 points per game although she hits just better from two points range (37 percent) than three point range (30 percent).
LAKEWOOD PARK (6-12)
The defending sectional champions have not had the season many expected, but do hold a win over Bethany Christian, 45-41, on December 1. The Panthers won 17 games a year ago in winning their title and are still led by now sophomore Chloe Jolloff. They will face Blackhawk Christian on Wednesday in the 6 p.m. game. The Panthers lost to Blackhawk Christian on January 18, 52-45. They have also lost to host Fremont.
It may be an uphill climb for Lakewood Park, but many players on this team have the lingering memory of winning a title last season.
This is a very young team however, with no seniors. Led by a pair of 5-foot-7 sophomores in Tori Miller and Jolloff, they are coming off a year when they had five seniors to help claim a sectional title. They also hold a win over Class 2A Churubusco.
Fremont has spent much of the year battling teams in higher classes, but are 2-0 against Class 1A. They will take on Lakeland Christian in the lone Tuesday game of this sectional. Senior Bella Dangerfield is capable of big scoring games, especially for Class 1A. She scored 25 points when they beat Blackhawk Christian at the beginning of the season and recently put in 18 in a win over Prairie Heights.
Their only two games against Class 1A came against the Braves and Lakewood Park. While they have traded wins and losses most of the way, they did win six straight in December and into the first game of January.
Defensively, this team is sound while averaging 11.4 steals per game and have six girls who average at least one steal per contest.
BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (10-12)
First year head coach Steph Gongaware has led the Braves to substantially more wins than the previous season and some of those have to give the Braves hope that they can push through into contender status in this sectional. They first have to beat Lakewood Park again. 15 of Blackhawk Christian’s games this year came out of Class 1A. Chalk wins over South Adams and Lakewood Park as a couple of the better ones on their schedule.
The Braves have had some balanced scoring and Hailee Kline has really stepped up along the way including 19 points in the win over Lakewood Park. She could end up being one of the more fun players to watch in this Sectional.
Do not expect much from Hamilton in this sectional, where they will be over matched most of the time. As a team playing a limited schedule this season, the gaps in their schedule have made it difficult to find much footing overall. Following a December 19 win over Howe Military, they did not play a game for almost a full month.
LAKELAND CHRISTIAN (12-9)
While they have one of the best records in the Sectional, their opponent pool hasn’t been as sharp as some others. Only two of their wins have come against IHSAA sanctioned schools. They are led by Tori Calizo’s 12.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per contest.
ELKHART CHRISTIAN (10-8)
They have had just instances of winning back to back games this season and never more than two in a row. They did get a bye to Friday’s semifinal and will only need two wins. Like Lakeland Christian, they play a heavy schedule of non-IHSAA teams with four wins coming against teams in the IHSAA. Among those however were both Blackhawk Christian and Hamilton.
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