This Saturday, regional play will take place across the state in girls basketball and our area has one or two teams in each class.
In Class 1A, with play at Caston High School, it will be Blackhawk Christian who will represent northeast Indiana after winning their host sectional last Saturday. This is a tough draw for the Braves with three of the best remaining Class 1A teams in the state, ranked second, fourth and fifth at the end of the regular season.
MORGAN TOWNSHIP (22-3)
The Cherokees have to be considered a current favorite to win the state title in Class 1A, so this is a very tough matchup. They have not, however, won a regional title since 1998. Located in Valparaiso, the Cherokees average over 55 points per game scoring without any overwhelming individual scorer; they are certainly a score by committee group. Sahara Bee does lead the way; the senior averages a double-double of 12.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per contest. This team goes deep, to eight or nine players per game and have a very solid junior group.
Morgan Township does hold a six-point win over Oregon-Davis, which could be a regional final opponent. Senior Gracie Abbett led the way with 14 points in that game. John Harrell’s website lists them as a near 8 percent favorite to win the Class 1A state title. They finished the regular season as the No. 2 ranked team in the ICGSA poll.
The 2014 state champions last won a regional in 2016 on the tail end of three straight titles. Three of their four losses this year come from teams in Class 4A and 3A with that lone lower-class loss to Morgan Township. Junior Mercedes Rhoades may be the best single scorer in this regional, capable of putting up big numbers. She recently scored 30 against Argos with only two three-point hits. Senior Jaden Worthington was named IBCA All-State Underclass Honorable Mention last season and has really played well during her senior season also. The 6-foot center shoots at a pretty high rate.
Oregon-Davis finished the season as the No. 5 ranked team in the ICGSA poll.
Another team with no regional titles to their name, the Braves enter Saturday as the only team that is unranked in Class 1A. Sophomore Hailee Kline has really separated herself as a quality scorer that can put the ball in the hoop at all three levels and her confidence has just continued to rise because of that. The Braves hopes in the regional round will be who can step out as a second consistent scorer. They run a lot of offense through Sammie Miller, so what will she be able to get from both the high post and the block? Look for Aubree Vander Dussen to get involved, but point guard Hallie Vander Dussen is very capable of scoring even if she is a strong distributor.
The Braves are on a season-best six-game winning streak.
Pioneer is a very good team, but it has a tough draw if it wants to win its first ever regional title. The team has not lost since December 12 and is currently on a 16-game winning streak. Hailey Cripe leads the team on both ends of the floor at 16 points and 3.2 steals per game, but freshman guard Ashlynn Brooke has been a big breath of fresh air since first playing January 9. Since then, she has averaged 13.6 points per game, scoring less than double digits just twice in 10 games. In that time, she hit 23 three-pointers and she and Cripe have hit more threes (96) than two pointers (71).
Pioneer finished the season as the No. 4 team in the ICGSA poll.
Class 1A Caston Regional Schedule
Blackhawk Christian vs. Morgan Township, 10:30 a.m.
Oregon Davis vs. Pioneer, Noon
Championship Game, 7:30 p.m.
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