Lets be honest here, this is all Jay County all week long. No disrespect to the other 6 teams in the conference but the Patriots not repeating would be the biggest surprise of the season. At 4-0 in conference, the Patriots are a win over last place Southern Wells away from winning a conference regular season title. This week should be no different.
The Patriots start the tournament by rematching a team they beat by 42 in Adams Central and AC is not a big slouch of a team at all. But Jay County has dominated everyone except Woodlan in this conference. Renna Schwieterman is averaging 17.7 points per game and is coming off a game last week where she had 22 in the first half. There is no shortage of Jay County scoring with her, Madison Dirksen (12.5) and Izzy Rodgers (10.1).
WHO COULD SURPRISE
Woodlan would be the surprise and while they would like to be called the contenders, it still sits in Jay County’s court. That said, Woodlan is the only team we could see upsetting the Patriots along the way. The two teams have titles in each of the last two ACAC Tournaments and Woodlan only lost 46-43 against Jay County in November.
Avah Smith is coming off a monster double double in a nice win over Blackhawk Christian last week and Woodlan has quality momentum as they have won six straight and their three losses in their 12-3 record are not bad ones at all: Jay County, Garrett and Norwell.
5 PLAYERS TO WATCH
Izzy Rodgers of Jay County has been a consistent hand and that goes a long way for a blue collar approach like the Patriots can have. While she is the team’s third leading scorer, she had four straight games with 12 or more points in December. In this conference, points can be a premium so she could really break out as teams try to stop her teammates.
Dakotah Krohn of Woodlan leads this team in scoring despite a few notable outbursts from Avah Smith. The duo works well off each other, and Krohn has really honed in on improving her court vision and tightening up a defense she has been known for throughout her career. She currently averages 13.4 points and 4.8 assists per game with the ability to have a hot hand herself. Her scoring was impactful in close, quality wins against Heritage and Angola.
Marissa Van de Weg of Adams Central is the person to go to if defense really wins games. Averaging around 3 and a half steals per contest, she is smart on and off ball. With more than a handful of 5-plus steal games, she even swiped it nine times against Churubusco.
Monroe Heller of Bluffton is one of a pair of seniors on this team. She leads the Tigers in scoring at 10.3 points per game and has a good tempo about her. Bluffton is most successful when she finds a comfort zone offensively.
Peyton Pries of South Adams has been leading a pretty silent charge for this above average team. South Adams have some nice wins, paced by Pries’ 11.2 points and 2.5 steals per game.
LIKELY TOURNAMENT MVP
This is Renna Schwieterman‘s to lose. The ACAC Tournament actually hands out this honor and there is no reason to think anyone other than the conference’s best player is going to come away with this honor in 2022.
The junior is, as mentioned, averaging over 17 points per game and is a averaging 22 points per game against the next 3 out of 4 best teams in Woodlan, South Adams and Adams Central.
BOUNCE’S TOURNAMENT PREDICTION
The 48th ACAC girls basketball tournament will belong to the same team the 47th did: the Jay County Patriots.
But how do we get there?
Just look at the bracket below and you will see Bounce’s projected path play out. The Patriots pick up a win Tuesday against Adams Central while Heritage will beat Bluffton and Woodlan tops South Adams. Very easily, Woodlan and South Adams could be the best game of this entire girls tournament.
In the semi-finals, the now host Jay County will dominate the Raiders of Southern Wells while Woodlan picks up another quality win over Heritage.
That gives us a finals between Jay County and Woodlan on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Berne at South Adams. That is where I see Jay County picking up another win over Woodlan this season and taking the title.
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