Throughout the last few days, your favorite amphibian has been checking in on the sectionals that will most interest our area teams and readers.
We continue today with Class 4A Sectional 5, where Carroll is the two-time defending champ. This sectional begins Tuesday. Statistically, it is the second worst Sectional in the state with a winning percentage of .328 when combining the records of all of the teams.
Less than three weeks ago, the Panthers were destroyed by Homestead 70-20 that dropped the team to 5-11 on the year.
But since then, Snider has won three straight – including two over sectional opponent Carroll – and enters this week as Bounce’s favorite in this field.
What has changed?
The big reason has been confidence. When the Panthers can compete, make plays and lead in games, they feed off that positivity and play with confidence. But when they fall behind, they are quick to fall apart.
The key this week will be Snider’s post players, namely freshman Niesha Anderson and junior Marqueisha Weeks-Bryant. Their ability to hold opponents without much production in the post will be important.
It has been an up-and-down year for the Chargers, who enter this week as inconsistent as ever. In the last two weeks Carroll has beaten a very good team in South Side, struggled to put away a bad North Side squad and looked confused and flustered in last Friday’s defeat at Snider.
If the Chargers are to make a run, the most important player may be freshman Jasmine Anderson. While short on experience, she was one of the few players to show any type of interest in shooting the basketball in the loss to Snider. Anderson and senior Delane Sheets need to lead the way in my opinion.
Credit needs to be given to Northrop coach Rashida Muhammad, who after losing most of her production from last year’s 20-win team regrouped with a new cast of characters to post another double-digit win campaign.
The Bruins have also had success against sectional opponents, including a 10-point win over Snider on Jan. 8. A roster largely made up of freshmen and sophomores is led by senior Treva Datcher both in the locker room and on the scoreboard. With a favorable draw, Northrop should advance to Saturday’s championship, but has an inexperienced squad matured enough over the course of the season to win a sectional title?
NORTH SIDE (5-16)
The Legends’ lone win against a sectional opponent came all the way back in November, a 51-40 win over DeKalb. Nya Coleman is one of this team’s lone bright spots, dropping 13.4 pounds and grabbing 7.8 rebounds a contest. She will need to be huge if North Side is going to hang with likely opponent Northrop on Friday after the bye. The Bruins won the first matchup this season earlier this month by 22 points.
EAST NOBLE (4-19)
Most knew it was going to be a rebuilding year for the Knights, who have just one junior and no seniors on the varsity roster. East Noble has one just once since mid-December, a victory over Leo a few weeks ago. Players like sophomores Carly Turner, Grace Patton and Kylie Garton are going to lift the Knights back towards the top of the Northeast 8 in the coming years, but they aren’t yet ready to lead this team to sectional victories.
One of the Barons’ two victories this year came against East Noble a few weeks ago, but the two teams will likely not match up in the sectional. DeKalb is averaging just 28 points a game and has been held below 25 points in seven contests on the year. That doesn’t bode well for a team that opens postseason play against a physical offense like Northrop has.
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