With girls basketball postseason coming around quickly, Bounce is here to quick preview and discuss the area Sectionals, continuing in Class 3A.
And for Bounce’s money, this is the most fun area Class to watch this postseason.
Projected Winner: Lakeland
Here is one where you are just going to have to trust me. According to John Harrell, Lakeland has the second best chance to win this Sectional and its not far off from the best odds. While computer generated stats areal good, Lakeland is a favorite because of their experience. This is the defending champion and while some talent from that team is gone, many remain including juniors Peyton Hartsough and Alivia Rassler, who can both fill it up. Lakeland has also won 4 of their last 6, including two wins over semi final opponent West Noble.
Senior player you can’t miss: Jazmyn Smith, West Noble
While admittedly a surprising down year for the Chargers, Smith is averaging 16.8 points per game and consistently has been one of the NECC’s top scorers each night with multiple 25-plus point games to her credit. Smith is going to be the most prolific scorer in this Sectional and certainly one worth making sure you. get out to see one more time in her high school career.
Don’t be surprised if: Wawasee comes out on top
The Warriors are most solid in a solid field. They don’t have this big stand alone player but do have four players who score over 7.5 points per game. They share the ball well and just get it done. That effort and comfort with each other has them sitting as the favorites in the eyes of many with a senior led group that wants to go out with a bang.
NorthWood (3-21) vs. Tippecanoe Valley (15-7), 7 p.m.
West Noble (5-17) vs. Lakeland (11-11), 6 p.m.
Wawasee (11-11) vs. NorthWood/Tippecanoe Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.
Projected Winner: Garrett
Why wouldn’t they be? After missing out on a postseason crown last season, the Railroaders are hungry and led by a senior laden group that wants to go out as state title contenders, which they have to be considered as even in a tough northern part of the state for this loaded class 3A. Check the record, Garrett doesn’t lose. And while that means everyone will be giving them their very best game, it also means that Garrett can handle the pressure of being hunted. They have a little bit of everything on their roster and a deeper bench than they’ve had in years. Garrett is a lot of fun to watch and this week should be no different.
Senior player you can’t miss: The Railroader 3…or 4?
I remember seeing the bulk of this senior class together as freshmen in the Sectional round at Concordia and you could just tell there was something different about them. Faith Owen, Nataley armstrong and Morgan Ostrowski didn’t have to bring a program out of the weeds; Garrett has always been solid. But the trio took the charge in changing the dynamic and making the Railroaders far better than solid during their tenure. You absolutely cannot miss getting another look at these three before their time at Garrett is up. They play off each other so well and that fourth senior starter, should she be able to play this postseason, completes their frontline mold. Time will tell if Taylor Gerke will suit up this week, injury and all, but if she does expect a maximum effort from her as well.
Don’t be surprised if: Woodlan makes a run
I’ve been impressed by the Warriors. With a ton of focus going to be on another potential Angola/Garrett meeting, I think people have forgotten that this is a 19-4 Woodlan team with loses only to various Sectional favorites Jay County, Norwell and Garrett. And while yes, they did lose heavily to Garrett, this isn’t opening week anymore. Avah Smith and Taylor Kneubuhler are one of the best inside pairings you will see and have dominated the glass with Smith’s 10.3 rebounds per game contributing to her double double season. Dakotah Krohn remains one of the AcAC’s highest level defenders and all three of them can score. If you think the winner of this Sectional is a foregone conclusion, you are wrong because Woodlan is going to put in some fight on their home court.
Woodlan (19-4) vs. Angola (14-9), 6 p.m.
Concordia Lutheran (4-18) vs. Leo (8-14), 7:30 p.m.
Garrett (23-1) vs. Woodlan/Angola, 6 p.m.
Bishop Dwenger (11-13) vs. Concordia Lutheran/Leo, 7:30 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.
Projected Winner: Norwell
Well they’ve won 9 of the last 10 Sectionals, so there is that. Look, we all knew Norwell was going to be good again because of their coaching and their strong pipeline. Did we know they’d be this good after a pretty heavy reload? Nope. Yet here they are, nearly as dominate as ever, co-champions of the NE8. Kennedy Fuelling has taken over where sister Kaylee left off and that is a very high level of play. Mackinzie Toliver continues to be a glue as well with her experience. It also doesn’t hurt that your coach has won over 400 games like Eric Thornton has.
Senior player you can’t miss: Anna Parent, Bishop Luers
Parent snuck into the lineup as a freshman as a role player and has spent every single year getting better. Never has that been more evident than this, her senior season. Parent is averaging team bests in points, assists and steals while also being second among the Knights in rebounds per game. She has found comfort in taking over and being a leader for this group. Along the way, her senior season has been can’t miss.
Don’t be surprised if: Bishop Luers changes things on Wednesday
Bellmont is a contender, Heritage could be fun, but it is Luers who gets the first crack at. an upset when they face Norwell on Wednesday. Norwell won the first matchup by a comfortable 23 points but that was November and a lot can change in every way in that amount of time. Norwell remains my heavy favorite in this one, but if there is a team with the best shot at beating them, it is the one that has spent the year getting stronger by having to face off against high level SAC aggression and tempo.
Eastern (3-20) vs. Oak Hill (7-15), 7 p.m.
Bellmont (14-8) vs. Mississinewa (7-15), 6 p.m.
Norwell (18-4) vs. Bishop Luers (12-10), 7:30 p.m.
Heritage (11-11) vs. Eastern/Oak Hill, 6 p.m.
Bellmont/Mississinewa vs. Norwell/Bishop Luers, 7:30 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.
Projected Winner: Jay County
By far the top team here, the Patriots are can’t miss basketball. Renna Schwieterman has had another fantastic season and has already established herself as a Jay County legend. The Patriots have not won a Sectional title since 2006, so bringing one home here would really enshrine this group as one of the best ever. Standing next to Schwieterman, Madison Dirksen is one of Class 3A north’s best two way threats and helps make this a really balanced and complete team.
Senior player you can’t miss: Mia Shields, Hamilton Heights
The senior shooting guard is a high end defender that is gritty and can alter games with her on and off ball defense. With 10 games of three or more made three pointers, she can clearly score too but those five games of 4 or 5 steals stand out. In those games, Hamilton Heights is 5-0,
Don’t be surprised if: Jay County dominates this entire thing
There isn’t much to say that isn’t covered above. While some Sectionals I am comfortable in saying are wide. open, it wouldn’t shock me in the least if Jay County just rolls everyone here on their way to a title. Once they could get past Tuesday, they may in fact just do that.
Jay County (20-3) vs. Hamilton Heights (15-5), 6 p.m.
Muncie Burris (2-7) vs. New Castle (12-9), 7:30 p.m.
Delta (3-18) vs. Jay County/Hamilton Heights, 6 p.m.
Yorktown (5-17) vs. Muncie Burris/New Castle, 7:30 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.
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