This Saturday, regional play will take place across the state in girls basketball and our area has one or two teams in each class.
At Marion, everyone is looking up at Northwestern, the top-ranked team in the state in Class 4A.
Can anyone give the Tigers a game? Let’s take a look.
The buzz saw that is the Northwestern Tigers enters Saturday with an undefeated record and an average margin of victory of 40 points.
The top three scorers are seniors, with guard Madison Layden (25.7 ppg) and forward Kendall Bostic (20.4 ppg) the centerpieces.
Coach Kathie Layden has an embarrassment of riches throughout the roster. Senior Klair Merrell also averages in double digits, while the team collectively shoots 41 percent from range and 76 percent from the free throw line.
Benton Central is a 24-win team that may eventually capture the 3A state title. Northwestern beat Benton Central by 50 points in late January.
This team is an absolute monster.
While Northwestern is impressive, no team in this regional has played a more difficult in-state schedule than Fishers. The Indy-area slate put together by the Tigers was stacked with challenges throughout the season.
Fishers’ road to a sectional title included beating Westfield and Hamilton Southeastern, two teams with a total of 36 wins this year.
Junior guard Katie Burton is the lone player for the Tigers averaging doubles figures in points at 15.4 per game. But four other players, including seniors Tamia Perryman and Kaitlynn Feagan, averaging seven or more points.
The prevailing thought is that Fishers cannot match Northwestern score for score. Look for the semifinal game between the two to be Fishers attempting to slow the game down and limit possessions.
The Spartans are 25-0 against teams in Indiana this year, with the lone loss coming at Notre Dame Academy (OH) in December.
While the schedule has been difficult, no opponent was as good as Northwestern is. Does that mean the Spartans will lose if they reach the final in the event they match up with No. 1? Not necessarily, but it will demand a near-flawless effort.
Rylie Parker needs to be deadly from the outside.
Sydney Graber needs to be that inside-out threat she has been all year.
Ayanna Patterson needs to have one of the best games of her prep career thus far.
The supporting cast needs to play with exceptional gusto and execution.
Kudos to the Chargers for winning four straight sectional titles. However, they have yet to win a regional game over that time period.
Considering the field in this year’s regional, that streak is likely to continue.
Carroll has some solid pieces in Emily Parrett (11.3 ppg) and Olivia Hoeppner (11.2 ppg), with complementary pieces like senior Malia Williams, junior Delane Sheets and freshmen Saniya Jackson, but will it be enough to find a way to beat a Homestead team in the semis that rocked the Chargers by 38 points in December?
CLASS 4A MARION REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Fishers (23-1) vs. Northwestern (26-0), 10 a.m.
Homestead (25-1) vs. Carroll (17-6), noon
Championship, 8 p.m.
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