Regional Saturday is on the way and it sure looks different.
Gone are the morning semifinal games to try and win a regional title at night. Instead, each site is host to two games on the day where two different regional champions will be named. And those two teams will advance to a now-four-team semistate.
So there is a chance of far more Regional champions coming out of Northeast Indiana this season. Who does Bounce thinks will be those teams?
CLASS 4A AT MARION
Homestead [19-5] vs. Fishers [23-2]
Fishers has had an impressive run through the last couple of weeks with their two overtime win over Noblesville being the biggest despite the fact that Fishers already beat them early this season. Fishers has not lost since a November 26 game against Snider, one of a couple of common opponents. This a super balanced team and their matchup with Homestead makes a lot of sense for both sides. Seniors Haley and Olivia Smith are the ones that push the Fishers offense, but often Talia Harris has been huge in stopping other teams with six games of four or more steals.
All of that said, Homestead has had to pick up big wins last week too. Their victory over Columbia City was as impressive as it was unexpected and avenging a loss to Huntington North the way they did was impressive too. The Spartans can rely on a lot of different people and that has made them vastly improved since the season began. Freshman Myah Epps has constantly answered the call and stepped up in big games and Alison Stephens has been in her fair share of big moments in her career, so with them at the forefront, Homestead is peaking at the right time.
This is a pretty balanced matchup that will come down to making shots. Homestead thrived with their shooting percentages last week during Sectional play. Homestead is 5-2 against common foes while Fishers sits 8-1, that one loss coming to Snider.
This is one, if we didn’t play the game, that is actually too close to call. But we have to make a call. BOUNCE PICKS FISHERS
Fort Wayne Snider [20-4] vs. Harrison (West Lafayette) [16-9]
John Harrell says that Snider has the 3rd best chance of winning a regional title of any team in 4A heading into the weekend. Why is that?
Well Harrell uses a lot of statistics to make these decisions. OTH on the other hand, well we’ve seen Snider’s strength first hand. That strength comes in toughness and gritty play, among other areas. But lets just keep throwing all of that aside for the moment to talk about the defense. Johnea Donahue is Bounce’s favorite area defender and that is clearly fair to say. She has transformed Snider time after time with her nagging pressure. She alone can change a game defensively, but the Panthers are just loaded with weapons to help.
The Panthers are averaging 14.3 steals per game and 5.2 blocks; scoring on them has become a real challenge for most teams and with seven straight wins, is that really going to change this weekend? Donahue lead the way with 5.7 steals per game, Jordyn Poole adds 3.4, Tia Phinezy and Ciara Sims both average 1.3 steals too while Phinezy also averages 3.8 blocks per game and will swat the ball back from basically every area of the court making her a matchup nightmare.
West Lafayette Harrison was great in conference, going a perfect 8-0 but hasn’t been as good out of conference. They too have a tough to score against post in Campbell Moore, who is averaging 5 blocks per game and has blocked seven shots on three separate occasions. Other than Moore, Riley Finn is certainly the biggest challenge for Snider on Harrison’s team. Finn is a high level scorer who leads the team in about everything you can imagine include scoring, three pointers, assists and steals. Those five steals per game show that Donahue isn’t the only high level defending wing in this game.
Like the Homestead game that will be played before this one, it’s a close one that can go either way. Yet, my confidence in Snider has been sky high and it just keeps getting bigger. BOUNCE PICKS SNIDER
These opinions represent those of Bounce and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Bounce on Twitter at Bounce_OTH
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