Sectional realignments have been officially announced by the IHSAA with several area teams moving around in both girls and boys basketball. When the class realignments were announced, Bounce made some assumptions on changes to Sectionals. I was wrong.
Was I using too much common sense? Perhaps. But here are all of the official new look Sectionals for girls basketball and what they could mean.
Class 4A Sectional 5
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Carroll
OLD SECTIONAL FIELD: Carroll, DeKalb, East Noble, North Side, Northrop, Snider
NEW SECTIONAL FIELD: Carroll, DeKalb, East Noble, North Side, Northrop, Snider
WHAT IT MEANS: No changes. Isn’t that refreshing? Breath easy teams of Sectional 5, you know what to expect.
GAME TO WATCH FOR: Carroll versus Northrop
Class 4A Sectional 6
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Homestead
OLD SECTIONAL FIELD: Fort Wayne South Side, Fort Wayne Wayne, Homestead, Huntington North, Muncie Central.
NEW SECTIONAL FIELD: Columbia City, South Side, Wayne, Homestead, Huntington North, New Haven
WHAT IT MEANS: Muncie Central leaves and in their place will be New Haven (a lateral move) and Columbia City (a potential step up in competition). The Bulldogs have struggled in recent years and except for a few individual signs of life, have shown no threat to the top level teams like this Sectional has. That said, this likely a South Side versus Homestead Sectional still.
The only potential wrench that Bounce sees right now? Columbia City. The Eagles didn’t live up to preseason hype last year, but they return a big core of players and will be riding a nostalgia year in the final season their their home gym. Are they good enough to compete for a title in Class 4A? Unlikely. But they could still be only of the best teams in the Northeast 8 Conference.
GAME TO WATCH FOR: Homestead versus South Side
Class 3A Sectional 21
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: West Noble
OLD SECTIONAL FIELD: Fairfield, Lakeland, NorthWood, Tippecanoe Valley, Wawasee, West Noble
NEW SECTIONAL FIELD: Central Noble, Lakeland, NorthWood, Tippecanoe Valley, Wawasee, West Noble
WHAT IT MEANS: As expected, Central Noble will replace NECC foe Fairfield as the Cougars will move up due to success factor as the Falcons move down. This move shows everything wrong with “success factor” as a rule. The success of Central Noble moves them up, but it will come without the two best players in the history of the program, so they are almost set up to NOT succeed now.
This could see three of the top teams in the NECC again though as Lakeland and West Noble will be challengers to Central Noble’s regular season throne as well. The Cougars have been one of the area’s best teams for years, now they will have to prove it on an advanced level. Hopefully it will lead to enhanced respect for coach Josh Treesh IN and OUT of Albion.
GAME TO WATCH FOR: Central Noble versus Lakeland
Class 3A Sectional 22
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Angola
OLD SECTIONAL FIELD: Angola, Bishop Dwenger, Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran, Garrett, Leo, New Haven, Woodlan
NEW SECTIONAL FIELD: Angola, Bishop Dwenger, Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran, Garrett, Leo, Woodlan
WHAT IT MEANS: Only losing New Haven does not do much to change the complexion of this bracket. Concordia losing Carissa Garica and Angola losing several key players does change it some however. This has the potential to be a very competitive Sectional with Concordia, Bishop Dwenger, Garrett and Woodlan all gaining valuable experience to be better teams this season. Will any of them have an answer for Angola’s defense?
GAME TO WATCH FOR: Garrett versus Woodlan
Class 3A Sectional 23
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Marion
OLD SECTIONAL FIELD: Bellmont, Columbia City, Bishop Luers, Heritage, Marion, Mississinewa, Norwell
NEW SECTIONAL FIELD: Bellmont, Bishop Luers, Heritage, Mississinewa, Norwell, Oak Hill
WHAT IT MEANS: Welcome to the defending Class 2A state champion Oak Hill. That should equal a tough new challenge at the top for Norwell and Bellmont. Powerful post Taylor Westgate will return for Oak Hill and after what Marion was able to do with a significantly larger player in this Sectional last season that could matter a lot. To everyone else’s benefit, Oak Hill returns very little of consequence but coach Todd Law doesn’t coach losers very often.
Norwell will be tough again and that won’t change anytime soon with the Maiah Shelton, Lauren Bales, Kaylee Fuelling trio.
The Sectional of course loses Columbia City and Marion to Class 4A.
GAME TO WATCH FOR: Norwell versus Oak Hill
Class 3A Sectional 24
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: New Castle
OLD SECTIONAL FIELD: Blackford, Delta, Hamilton Heights, Jay County, Muncie Burris, New Castle, Yorktown
NEW SECTIONAL FIELD: Jay County, Delta, Hamilton Heights, Muncie Burris, New Castle, Winchester, Yorktown
WHAT IT MEANS: Winchester went to the Class 2A state finals two years in a row, came out with two red ribboned medals and get the reward of moving up to Class 3A and joining this Sectional that will continue to be pretty wide open. Maddie Lawrence of Winchester will immediately become the best player in this Sectional.
GAME TO WATCH FOR: Winchester versus Hamilton Heights
Class 2A Sectional 35
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Central Noble
OLD SECTIONAL FIELD: Bremen, Central Noble, LaVille, Prairie Heights, Westview, Whitko
NEW SECTIONAL FIELD: Bremen, Fairfield, LaVille, Prairie Heights, South Bend Career Academy, Westview
WHAT IT MEANS: Bremen has to be in the best shape here with the exit of Central Noble and their Sectional title winning streak. Whitko also exits while Fairfield and South Bend Career Academy join the Sectional. SB Career Academy has only been IHSAA sanctioned for one season, so don’t expect waves from them. Fairfield on the other hand could be interesting. One season removed from a trip to the Class 3A semistate, coach Brodie Garber returns some talented players and could have more on the way with a talented freshman class.
GAME TO WATCH FOR: Bremen versus Prairie Heights
Class 2A Sectional 36
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Bluffton
OLD SECTIONAL FIELD: Adams Central, Bluffton, Churubusco, Eastside, Canterbury, South Adams
NEW SECTIONAL FIELD: Adams Central, Bluffton, Churubusco, Eastside, Canterbury, South Adams, Whitko
WHAT IT MEANS: Adding in only Whitko means nothing real changes here. Whitko loses one of the area’s best rebounders in Ellie Snep and a coach, so the Wildcats head back to major rebuild mode. Most of these teams rebuild, so a rematch may not be out of the question between Adams Central (who may return the most overall talent) and two time defending champion Bluffton (who returns who will be the Sectional’s best overall player in Emme Boots).
GAME TO WATCH FOR: Adams Central verus Bluffton
Class 1A Sectional 51
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: South Central (technically), Fremont (reality)
OLD SECTIONAL FIELD: Sectional 51 is now home to team mostly from the old Sectional 52. That Sectional consisted of Bethany Christian, Elkhart Christian Academy, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian, Fremont, Hamilton, Lakeland Christian and Lakewood Park Christian.
NEW SECTIONAL FIELD: Bethany Christian, Elkhart Christian, Blackhawk Christian, Fremont, Hamilton, Lakewood Park
WHAT IT MEANS: This will see Lakeland Christian exit and young talent from Lakewood Park, Blackhawk Christian and Fremont all return. I would consider this Sectional more open than in the past as all three of these teams have added experience.
GAME TO WATCH FOR: Lakewood Park versus Blackhawk Christian
Class 1A Sectional 53
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: North Vermillion (technically)
OLD SECTIONAL FIELD: Sectional 53 consisted of Attica, Faith Christian, North Vermillion, Parke Heritage, Riverton Parke.
NEW SECTIONAL FIELD: Lakeland Christian, North Miami, Northfield, Southern Wells, Southwood
WHAT IT MEANS: Northfield got all the way to the semistate game last year before losing to eventual state champion Marquette Catholic. They will have a trio of girls back for their junior seasons that were a big part of that team and it should make them the early favorite here.
GAME TO WATCH FOR: Northfield versus North Miami
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