Outside the Huddle’s resident frog Bounce is previewing every area sectional and giving our thoughts on who to watch.
We continue our look at Class 3A with the sectional at West Noble.
Despite a regular-season loss to West Noble last month, Bounce is still going with the Panthers as the decided favorite in this field.
NorthWood ended the regular season with four straight victories and the defending sectional champion is looking the part of a team that has shaken off its early-February woes.
Sophomore guard Cade Brenner is the top scoring threat for the young NorthWood squad.
Is this the year the Chargers win their first-ever sectional championship?
The draw certainly helped out West Noble, which will take on a familiar foe in Lakeland in the first round with the winner going to the championship game.
A mix of youth and experience lead the way for the Chargers in sophomore Austin Cripe (18.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and senior Brockton Miller (10.1 ppg, 4.3 apg).
The Warriors will open the sectional against the very same Tippecanoe Valley team that it beat in the final game of the regular season. If victorious, Wawasee will get a rematch with NorthWood, a squad that beat the Warriors convincingly in January.
Why is Wawasee a contender to win a sectional title for the first time since 2010? Coach Jon Everingham’s team is 5-1 against 3A foes and 3-1 in the sectional, with the lone defeat coming against NorthWood. If they can solve the puzzle that is NorthWood, the Warriors could be in the final.
The Vikings have yet to beat a 3A foe this year and lost to NorthWood by 37 points just a few weeks ago. While this team has put up some impressive performances this year, it lacks consistency, something that is needed to survive sectional week.
Losers of their final four games of the regular season, the Lakers stumble into the playoffs trying to some of their flash.
This squad has just two winning streaks on the year and will need to win three times to capture a title. Even with Brayden Bontrager’s 20 points per game average, that seems like a tough road.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brayden Bontrager, Lakeland: Speaking of, Bontrager is Lakeland’s top scorer and can be dangerous on the perimeter, where he has launched twice as many three-point shots as anyone else on the team. The senior can also crash the boards and be a pest on the defensive end.
Cade Brenner, NorthWood: As good of a sophomore as you are going to find in this field, Brenner may be the top scorer in the entire sectional. He can create and has a quick release, making it incredibly difficult to close out on him as a shooter. He has help, but Brenner makes the Panthers offense go.
SECTIONAL 21 AT WEST NOBLE
Tippecanoe Valley (7-14) vs. Wawasee (10-11), 7 p.m.
West Noble (11-9) vs. Lakeland (9-12), 6 p.m.
NorthWood (12-8) vs. Tippecanoe Valley/Wawasee, 7:30 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.
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