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Concordia team grows into a success story

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

Cadets knock off Angola to claim sectional title

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 1:15 am

It was all smiles and hugs following Concordia Lutheran's 53-41 victory over Angola in the title game of the Class 3A Bishop Dwenger Sectional on Saturday night. But that has not always been the case throughout this season.

The Cadets entered the year as defending Class 3A state champions, but graduated three starters, with just Olivia Hahn and Courtney Smith returning with starting experience.

The program, like any program, had its ups and downs over the 20-game regular season, including a stretch around New Years that saw it lose four of six games.

But the three victories in sectionals was almost a coming of age party for the Cadets, as the few veterans and wealth of underclassmen came together as one to win one of the toughest sectionals in the state.

“We coaches talked about that at our shoot-around and walk-through (Saturday) and said, 'My Goodness we are getting better,'” Concordia coach David Miller said. “We have some kids that are maturing a little bit because we are really young.”

It was not a steady slope for the Cadets (17-6) on their rise this season. Integrating new players is always tough for a program, especially when expectations are so high. Concordia entered the postseason searching for its fourth consecutive sectional and regional title.

“Our chemistry a little bit in the middle of the season was a little chippy,” Smith said. “Me and (seniors Hahn and Jacqueline Dixie) would get the team together and say that we have to drop all of this nonsense and become a family for things to work out for us.”

Smith did her part on Saturday in holding Angola's Rachel Rinehart scoreless from the field. The IPFW commit and Hornets leading scorer shot 0-of-10 from the field, with all seven of her points coming from the free throw line.

“I just wanted to guard the best player on their team and do well on that part,” Smith said.

Things definitely worked out this week as the Cadets showed at times that they have a chance to get back to the state championship, with the key word being “at times”. Concordia has a tendency to start out slow, as it did against Angola on Saturday and Leo in the first round on Tuesday.

But weeks like this past one tend to make teams grow up quickly in a condensed amount of time.

“It is win or go home and we knew we didn't want to go home,” Smith said. “We are so used to winning sectionals every year. Despite the obvious changes of our team, we didn't want to lose and think, 'Oh, it is because of what we lost (to graduation).'”

Concordia will play NorthWood (22-3) at the Bellmont Regional next Saturday.

CONCORDIA LUTHERAN 53, ANGOLA 41

Concordia Lutheran 8 11 13 21-53

Angola 8 9 13 11-41

Concordia Lutheran: Dixie 9, Young 12, Smith 16, Kammeyer 5, Hahn 9, Sparks 2.

Angola: Scott 6, Yagodinski 2, Grubb 13, Rachel Rinehart 7, Bidlack 6, Ericka Rinehart 7.

Girl's Basketball Sectional results

Class 4A

Snider

Saturday

Snider 67, Northrop 29

Homestead

Today

South Side 54, Homestead 53

Class 3A

Bishop Dwenger

Saturday

Concordia Lutheran 53, Angola 41

Mississinewa

Saturday

Norwell 76, Heritage 42

Class 2A

Bluffton

Saturday

Bishop Luers 54, South Adams 13

Class A

Canterbury

Saturday

Canterbury 87, Bethany Christian 34

Girl's Basketball Regional pairings

(All games Feb. 16)

Class 4A

Kokomo Regional

Semifinals

Snider (20-3) vs. Logansport (24-1), 10 a.m.

Westfield (21-2) vs. South Side (21-3), noon

Championship

Semifinal winners, 8 p.m.

Class 3A

Bellmont

Semifinals

Concordia Lutheran (17-6) vs. NorthWood (22-3), 10 a.m.

Hamilton Heights (20-2) vs. Norwell (21-3), noon

Championship

Semifinal winners, 8 p.m.

Class 2A

Rochester

Semifinals

Westview (15-8) vs. Bishop Luers (12-11), 10:30 a.m

Whiting (20-3) vs. Boone Grove (17-6), 12:30 p.m.

Championship

Semifinal winners, 8 p.m.

Class A

Caston

Semifinals

Morgan Township (14-10) vs. Oregon-Davis (21-3), 10:30 a.m.

Canterbury (21-3) vs. West Central (14-9), 12:30 p.m.

Championship

Semifinal winners, 8 p.m.