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IPFW hoop recruit leads talented field at area sectional

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For more on prep basketball, follow The News-Sentinel.com crew via Twitter at PrepHoops_ns.

Rinehart's Angola squad playing very well of late

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 1:55 am

In the near future, Angola senior Rachel Rinehart will join IPFW women's basketball coach Chris Paul's movement to keep Indiana talent, particularly Northeast Indiana talent, close to home.

Paul and the Mastodons will add Rinehart and South Side forward Ariana Simmons to the roster next season, as well as forward Brett Green out of Mooresville High School.

The trio will join a pair of current IPFW freshmen from the Hoosier state.

But before Rinehart begins thinking about her collegiate career, she and her Angola teammates have their eyes on something much more immediate – a sectional championship.

Without a sectional crown since the program's only title in 2003, the Hornets (18-3) hope this season sees the team bring home a trophy.

“We are playing very, very well coming into sectionals,” Angola coach John Berger. Last year, we weren't playing as well going (into the playoffs), even though we had won 21 in a row, we were kind of at the end of that run and playing not to lose.”

Despite a field that boasts the best overall cumulative record amongst all 64 sectionals, Angola may be on the verge of ending its title drought. The Hornets received a favorable draw with the bye today and will take on the winner of Woodlan and Garrett on Friday at Bishop Dwenger. While both are quality teams, neither is Leo or Concordia Lutheran, two teams that have combined to eliminate Angola in the postseason four straight seasons and will play each other in a quarterfinal matchup tonight.

Another advantage for the Hornets is Rinehart, a 5-foot-8 point guard that is averaging 17.2 points and 4.9 assists per game so far this season. A natural at the position after playing it at every level since elementary school, the symmetry between Rinehart and Berger has grown to where each knows what the other is thinking.

“She sees the floor as well as anybody and she understands different phases of the game,” Berger said. “She knows it is not always go, go, go (down the floor), but take our time and make sure we get a good look or get the ball to the open person.”

Rinehart has also worked on her shot, particularly at the free throw line. The senior shot just 59 percent (68-of-115) from the stripe her junior season, but has upped that to 70 percent (84-of-120) through 21 games in her senior year.

“This summer when (Coach Paul) recruited me, he said he could tell I had been working on my shot,” Rinehart said. “I still have room to improve.”

Barring transfers, IPFW will not have much turnover on the roster next season with the Mastodons not having a single senior on the roster. But Berger believes Rinehart can get solid playing time as a freshman.

“I think she can step in and play,” Berger said. “IPFW is a very, very good fit for her and she could get some very good minutes (her first year).”

But first things first.

“It has been all five of us seniors' goal to win sectionals,” Rinehart said. “We have come close a couple times. Hopefully we can do it this year.”

Girl's Sectional Pairings

Class 4A

Snider

Today

Northrop (6-13) vs. DeKalb (11-9), 7 p.m.

Wednesday

Carroll (9-11) vs. Columbia City (8-14), 6 p.m.

East Noble (13-7) vs. Snider (17-3), 7:30 p.m.

Friday

North Side (3-16) vs. Northrop/DeKalb, 6 p.m.

Carroll/Columbia City vs. East Noble/Snider, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Homestead

Today

South Side (18-3) vs. Wayne (6-12), 6 p.m.

Jay County (8-12) vs. Homestead (19-3), 7:30 p.m.

Friday

New Haven (2-18) vs. South Side/Wayne, 6 p.m.

Huntington (5-15) vs. Jay County/Homestead, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Class 3A

Bishop Dwenger

Today

Leo (17-4) vs. Concordia Lutheran (14-6), 6 p.m.

Woodlan (12-7) vs. Garrett (15-6), 7:30 p.m.

Friday

Bishop Dwenger (7-12) vs. Leo/Concordia Lutheran, 6 p.m.

Angola (18-3) vs. Woodlan/Garrett, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Championship, 7 p.m.

Mississinewa

Today

Mississinewa (3-17) vs. Norwell (18-3), 6 p.m.

Bellmont (5-15) vs. Heritage (12-8), 7:30 p.m.

Friday

Eastbrook (14-6) vs. Mississinewa/Norwell, 6 p.m.

Whitko (7-13) vs. Bellmont/Heritage, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Class 2A

Bluffton

Today

Bishop Luers (9-11) vs. Adams Central (7-13), 6 p.m.

Bluffton (5-14) vs. South Adams (7-12), 7:30 p.m.

Friday

Eastside (1-19) vs. Bishop Luers/Adams Central, 6 p.m.

Churubusco (3-17) vs. Bluffton/South Adams, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Championship, 7 p.m.

Class A

Canterbury

Today

Lakeland Christian (4-17) vs. Hamilton (7-13), 6 p.m.

Bethany Christian (11-9) vs. Howe School (1-5), 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday

Elkhart Christian (4-16) vs. Lakewood Park (15-4), 6 p.m.

Blackhawk Christian (6-14) vs. Canterbury (18-3), 7:30 p.m.

Friday

Semifinals, 6 and 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Championship, 7:30 p.m.