The local races in Class 3A continue to be wide open as Concordia looks to defend their Sectional title for what feels like the millionth time. In fact, senior star Carissa Garcia has never lost a Sectional title.
But this may be as wide open as Norwell’s sectional. Five of the seven teams have winning records for an overall record of 80-70. The second lowest winning percentage in the conference comes from Leo, who has a win over top winning Angola.
So let’s get weird in Sectional 22.
CONCORDIA LUTHERAN (15-6)
Bounce wants to make sure he heaps a ton of praise on Garcia, who broke out about the time of the SAC Tournament when she was a freshman. Since then, everyone has been on notice as Garcia has outworked almost every opponent she has come in contact with since. As a junior, she became the lone star of the team and is a major contributor all across the floor. Teams in this Sectional, as they have all season, will throw every imaginable defense at her. But she will continue to alter the game any way she can even if she isn’t scoring at a high clip.
If she isn’t scoring at a high clip, enter Nautica Rogers, who has had one of those rare breakout senior seasons. Rogers has established herself as arguably the best true post in the SAC with 12.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. When the Cadets face Bishop Dwenger on Tuesday, the Saints’ inexperieced posts are going to need to give her all they have.
The Cadets have not lost to a team in this Sectional, going 4-0 this year. They beat first round opponent Bishop Dwenger by 19 in December.
While Concordia has lost 4 of their last 7, Angola enters this Sectional on the bracket’s best ride, winning 12 of their last 13 due to a stifling defensive presence and an educated pace on offense that doesn’t rush shots into the opponent’s momentum.
The Hornets can and will be a threat in this Sectional, but their long range game may be important. Offensively, they don’t match up well against a Concordia (that would be a Sectional final) because of the inside presence of Rogers and Chastity Craig. But on the perimeter, they have the experience and the poise to pick apart any team in this Sectional, mark my words. While Hanna Knoll, rightfully, get a lot of attention, watch for Reace Peppler to be a difference maker on Wednesday when they play Leo and beyond.
BISHOP DWENGER (11-9)
The Saints are in a weird place coming into this sectional. Two games ago, Leo dominated them early and it has to give them pause. But then they surged back on the hands of Molly Ream, so they have to be confident too. They will face Concordia on Tuesday and have the unenviable task of trying to dethrone the Cadets in their own gym. What this team can do is beat you with depth and keep their legs fresh, always a key of Sectional week. Nine different girls play 10 or more minutes per game on average and all 13 girls on their roster have played in at least 18 of 20 games.
Woodlan will get the winner of Concordia and Dwenger on Friday in the first semi final. The extra days will be welcome after losing to Concordia by 28 last week. This is a very good Woodlan team who had not won 15 games in a very long time. Their resume is solid and they fought to a second place finish in the ACAC and have done it with minimal impact from seniors. Does that mean that Woodlan is probably still a year away from besting the likes of Angola and Concordia? I will say yes. But does that mean they won’t pull off the upset? I will say no. How coach Gary Cobb tweaks his gameplan going into this bracket means everything.
The Railroaders quietly had a good season. That may be because many other NECC teams loudly had better seasons. They will open against New Haven in the early game on Wednesday. This team has a good freshman class led by leading scorer Faith Owen and they are going to be around to make waves for years to come. But do not discount the abilities of their four seniors, especially Kenzie Casselman, who is as good of a shooter as the NECC has when she is on her game. Keep Garrett on your upset watch list.
The Lions record, at least right now, only has one number that matters: the one in the win column that counts as a win over Angola. That game raised a lot of questions about Angola’s abilities earlier this year. But why didn’t it raise as many about Leo’s? The Lions forced Angola into uncomfortably positions offensively and it forced Angola to take a lot of shots that weren’t likely the best looks. Leo’s best bet is to try the same and also take their own educated shots. They shot 58 percent from the field the first time they played Angola with only four three pointers taken. Angola took 19 shots from deep.
NEW HAVEN (3-19)
Not only have the Bulldogs not beat anyone in this Sectional, they have not beat anyone in Class 3A. They last won in December against a team from Sturgis, Michigan.
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