Semi state Saturday is here and it carries a new layout with teams needing to win two games in a true bracket, much like Regional play was before this season.
Is it good? Is it bad? That is a discussion for another time.
Instead, we sit with just three area teams left as Snider reps the SAC and the NECC is one of five area conferences with multiple teams participating in the semi state round with Fairfield in 3A and Central Noble in 2A.
CLASS 4A AT HUNTINGTON NORTH
Snider (21-4) vs. Fishers (24-2), 10 a.m.
South Bend Washington (27-0) vs. Lake Central (22-5), Noon
Championship, 8 p.m.
Here we go, the big one. What used to be dubbed the “regional of death” is now wholly the “semi state of death” with some of the best teams in the state competing and you could say in their own way that all four of these schools could be considered state title contenders.
That said, get the noon game out of the way. Even with Amiyah Reynolds sidelined, South Bend Washington is just too good for Lake Central.
Snider is easily the most intriguing team in this bracket as the Panthers were not expected by many to even make it out of the Sectional round yet here they sit two wins (maybe two upsets) away from a state finals berth with a team that will see many players back next season. Snider has won eight straight and 19 of their last 20 and Fishers themselves have not lost since November. Snider last won a semi state in 2001 and Fishers has never taken a semi state title.
Last week, Snider flexed their depth. Jordyn Poole remained a monster with 24 points in a win over Harrison but it was Ciara Sims that really helped push the Panthers over the top. Sims scored 24 points on 56 percent shooting. With eight offensive rebounds and high success in the paint, it is fair to say that Sims has altered the course of this postseason.
Fishers didn’t just beat Homestead last week, they dominated them. Their always balanced offense stayed balanced with Hailey Smith scoring 19 and Olivia Smith adding 12. The Tigers beat the Spartans shooting 47 percent from the field, but pulling down 33 rebounds and ripping the ball off 14 times. Fishers is good at just about everything. Do they have a dog fight in them? Outside of Noblesville in the sectional semi final, Fishers has not played a game within single digit points since January 17 and Carmel.
BOUNCE SAYS: Call me crazy, but give me an upset in the morning as Snider tops Fishers…but then falls to South Bend Washington at night because doesn’t everybody fall to them?
CLASS 3A AT LAPORTE
Twin Lakes (27-0) vs. Hamilton Heights (20-5), 11 a.m.
Tippecanoe Valley (22-3) vs. Fairfield (25-2), 1 p.m.
Championship, 8:30 p.m.
While area team Fairfield doesn’t have Hamilton Heights on their schedule first, they may be the most intriguing overall team in this Semi State because they have beat some good teams and some good teams from Northeast Indiana (Jay County and Norwell) to get to this spot against the unbeaten Twin Lakes juggernaut. That 11 a.m. game in LaPorte may be the best overall game in the entire state on Saturday.
To get a shot at either of those teams, Fairfield will have to tackle Tippecanoe Valley. The Vikings have won nine straight since being drubbed by Northrop at the end of December.
Depth could be Tippy Valley’s strength with seven players who have participated in 24 or 25 of their games this season. With Fairfield’s defensive strengths, the Vikings will need some solid scoring depth. While Kayden Mellott is one of the semi state’s best scorers at 19.5 points per game on 47 percent shooting, nobody else on the team averages more that 7.4 points per game. Instead, look for Tippy Valley to help make this a defensive battle too as they average 14.8 steals per game, led by three per contest from junior Chesnee Miller with three others averaging two or more steals per game.
Fairfield is averaging around 17 points more per game than Tippecanoe Valley is giving up at this point and it could be really hard to stop all four of the quality scorers that the Falcons can put out. Morgan Gawthrop and Brea Garber continue to lead the way, but Kaylee Dillon has been doing a lot of great intangible things in the postseason.
BOUNCE SAYS: Fairfield beats Tippy Valley, but falls in the semi state final to…let’s say Hamilton Heights because I’ve been wrong about them all postseason.
CLASS 2A AT LOGANSPORT
Andrean (25-3) vs. Lapel (20-7), 10 a.m.
Central Noble (25-2) vs. Lafayette Central Catholic (20-6), Noon
Championship, 8 p.m.
The Cougars have had their trips through Logansport before and have had some solid successes there as well. Just five conferences in the state have multiple Regional champions and it is huge for the NECC to have that success with both the Cougars and Class 3A’s Fairfield.
The Cougars will run into the Semi State favorite at noon so they certainly have their work cut out for them. Yet, and we say this again, who has been able to actually stopped Central Noble to this point? Madison Vice went wild in the Regional title win last weekend with 33 points on 69 percent shooting from the field. She got to the rim, got to the line and LCC is going to have to find ways to slow that flow down. Currently LCC is giving up 40.6 points per game and the Cougars are scoring 11 points more per game than that so it’s a huge chance.
Carley Barrett (15.8 points) and Tori Thompson (13.2) are the scoring leaders for LCC, who do average 56.5 points per game themselves. Barrett is one those deep, al- around players also leading LCC with 7.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while adding in 2.9 steals. As much as LCC has to try and stop the high scoring output of Vice, Barrett could hurt you in a lot of different ways.
BOUNCE SAYS: LCC tops Central Noble, then beats Lapel for North Semi State title.
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