This Saturday represents arguably the best day all season of girls’ basketball – regionals. Four teams, three games, one title.
OTH is breaking down each regional involving area programs.
We tip things off in Class 1A.
Projected Winner: Blackhawk Christian
The strength of schedule that the Braves play throughout the year way overwhelms that they don’t have the best record in this Regional…but it is close to the best.
The last Sagarin ratings of the season have Blackhawk Christian in 9th in Class 1A, actually one spot behind North White. But, the schedule they play and the depth the Braves have been able to display often gives them an edge. While their “strength of schedule” was just the 213th best in the state, there were games that really built Blackhawk Christian along the way.
Forget so-called strength, the Braves learned plenty about themselves in close battles like those against Adams Central, Wayne or Woodlan.
With depth, a lot is rightfully made about Hailee Kline and her rise to being arguably the best player in program history. She is a high level scorer and finds ways to contribute even on nights, rare ones, when her shot isn’t falling. And on those nights, Lily Helmuth, Ema Kline and Aubrie Swain have stepped up big. Perhaps the best balancing act for this group though is Allie Boyer’s inside play. She has taken her aggression and skill up to a higher level this season and this Regional is going to struggle in having someone to match her consistently in the post.
Senior player you can’t miss: Caitlin Conn, North White
While yes, we are calling Blackhawk Christian the favorite in this Regional, make no mistake that North White is in position 1.2 and in part because of Conn. This is a very good North White team that is balanced, but Conn stands out with her aggression as a forward despite being just 5-foot-8.
She has been playing varsity in some form for four years and the program is built to see her succeed as someone who can score around the rim. She has attempted just one three this year (she made it), so she knows what her strengths are and shooting 52 percent from two point range is one of those.
Conn is averaging a team high. 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
Don’t be surprised if: Anyone wins this Regional
There is no Class 1A regional in the state with as balanced of a field as here at Caston.
So Blackhawk Christian is our favorite. And North White is in that second spot. We can slot Kouts in third and Argos fourth, but honestly this is a really interesting field that could see any of the three games Saturday go any way.
Kouts has two double digit scorers, led by Allison Capouch. The junior is a diverse 6-foot-1 wing that doesn’t mind dabbling inside. She is averaging 17.9 points per game and this team goes how she does. She is one of the more prolific scorers and defenders in this Regional.
For Argos, it is all about balance. Four players average between 7.5 and 11.2 points per game. If Argos can get everyone hitting their stride, they are just as dangerous as anyone else in the field.
Kouts (20-6) vs. North White (18-6), 10:30 a.m.
Blackhawk Christian (18-7) vs. Argos (16-8), noon
Championship, 8 p.m.