GIRLS SAC TOURNAMENT: Team capsules (by seed)
1. HOMESTEAD (13-1, 5-0 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: The Spartans have continued to be as advertised rolling through anyone not named Carmel on their schedule. Sylare Starks (18.3 point per game) hasn’t missed much of a stride as Homestead poised for a third straight tournament title alongside Sydney Graber (15.7 ppg, 9.3 rebounds per game)
KEYS TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Play Homestead basketball. Don’t let who you are and who you have been get lost just because the gap has closed. Teams will look to take you out of your game if you are Homestead. Simply do not let them. Case in point: success in winning this past weekend’s LaPorte Tournament with wins over LaPorte and East Chicago Central.
2. NORTHROP (11-1, 4-1 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: Believe it or not, this team was a nine seed just two years ago. This year, Arielle Thatcher (13.4 ppg, 4.3 apg) has led the way again, but the continued development of Alicia Tiney-Williams inside has been big for this team to spread the court.
KEYS TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Don’t be afraid to try different things. Northrop is deep for a reason and it something significantly endearing about them. If going to the post is working, do it until it doesn’t. Then, shoot the ball. Then, penetrate to the basket. This isn’t a one dimensional team, so never pretend to be.
3. SOUTH SIDE (12-0, 5-0 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: The duel threat point guards, senior Shamari Tyson and sophomore Jaci Jones, has made it difficult for teams to find any real rhythm. This has been a tenacious team that has been able to push physically because of their depth, especially inside where Taniece Chapman, Alaya Chapman, Mikeba Jones and Lamyia Woodson have all been factors.
KEYS TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Play with experience over emotion. South Side may want this tournament more than any other team. Maybe. But ignore the want, focus on the fact that you know this tournament, you know the road to get to the finals and you know what it takes to win big games. The experience factor is huge.
4. CARROLL (8-4, 1-3 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: Nobody has ever come as close to beating Homestead in the SAC as Carroll did at the beginning of December. This is a very deep and seasoned team that dug deep beating Huntington North but failed to close out games against Homestead and Concordia.
KEYS TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Find consistency like you did against Homestead. Even in a strong start to the season, there has not been as much consistency as that game. They were very close to the biggest win of their season, more consistency could mean big things.
5. CONCORDIA LUTHERAN (11-3, 3-2 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: Carissa Garcia (20.3 ppg) has become one of the area’s most proficient scorers and it has kept the Cadets at the top of the list of teams who can be most dangerous in the conference. The Cadets strength outside of Garcia has been, like many other conference schools, a development inside particularly of freshman Chanteese Craig, who clogs up the area around the basket with her defense.
KEYS TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Just let Garcia go and do her thing. She has been a spark plug all year and you often need a star to shine to win this tournament. Roads to competing for a title have to lead through her.
6. BISHOP DWENGER (7-4, 2-3 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: Replacing transfer Jayda Smith in the backcourt was a huge need for the Saints, but they have come out with a line of defensive playmakers. Caitlyn Ryan (3.7 steals per game), Molly Ream (3.4 spg), Olivia Sterba (2.7 spg), Winnie O’ Brien (2.4 spg) and Grace Wharton (2 spg) are a line that most coaches would beg for. They have led to impressive wins over guard oriented teams like Norwell.
KEYS TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Exploit opponents inside. While the guard play has caught up well with the post presence, the Saints shouldn’t rely on that strictly. This isn’t as big of a conference, size wise, as the past and the Saints should look to keep Ellen Ross (15.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg) heavily involved.
7. SNIDER (7-6, 3-2 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: Snider knew they needed the become more multi-faceted individually and have done so with their upperclassmen. Still a very young team, the Panthers wins can be credited a lot to junior Daleshia Davis (14.9 ppg) and senior Hannah Barnes (13.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg). While Davis has started doing a little of everything, Barnes’ drive to get to the basket and not settle for deep shots has kept them competitive.
KEYS TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Get hot from the field. Snider is young and a lack of experience is never good in the holiday tournament. This team is going to need to find their shooters often and hope that they can stay consistent for a number of days.
8. BISHOP LUERS (8-4, 1-4 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: Lydia Reimbold has come out her shell as a sophomore (13.4 ppg, 3.4 apg, 3.7 spg) and has the Knights competing in games they weren’t expected to. Their SAC record isn’t so good, but the one-two punch of Reimbold and Kathryn Knapke (13.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg) has Luers rolling against some of the tougher teams in the NE8, ACAC and NECC.
KEYS TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Out grind your opponents. Luers has been able to get gritty, especially defensively with wins over good non-conference opponents. They need to out tough and out work opponents to have any shot.
9. NORTH SIDE (4-10, 0-4 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: Teams North Side has beaten have a total of 10 wins and the Legends have yet to find consistency. Ja’Shanek Brooks started the season as a star in a win over Whitko, but since there has been little finding a top player. Nya Coleman has shown some signs, but most of the team is still looking for footing.
KEYS TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: North Side is one of just two teams with a zero percent chance of competing for a tournament title. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t cause some waves if they focus on upsetting first round opponent Bishop Luers. Get to the basket here and reduce forced jump shots that have often failed you. That is their key.
10. WAYNE (1-12, 0-5 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: If it wasn’t for the work of Mya Jackson, the entire season would be negative. Jackson scored 25 points with 12 rebounds against Snider and then scored 23 points the next night against Logansport for the Generals’ only good run of the year.
KEYS TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Let us all be realists and say that this isn’t going to happen. Wayne’s focus here should be on winning a game in this tournament, something that have not done since 2004. To do that against Snider, they will need to attack the basket with Jackson and close out hard on Snider shooters.
*Capsules are listed by tournament seeding