SHOOTER: Previewing and predicting the girls sectional basketball lineup
It is that time again. Cheers, jeers, hoops, hops and one team (per bracket…) hoisting that wooden trophy in the shape of this great state. Watch out for splinters, but celebrate with that beautiful prize because this week we hand out some postseason hardware.
Its sectional week for the girls!
And sadly a time for Shooter to develop some haters. This frog is only picking eight girls teams to make it out of this week alive, so if you are one of the other 30-some teams in the area, I am sorry but Shooter has to type what Shooter’s heart feels. It will be a heck of a week, so who will survive?
Sectional 4 at Concord: OK, let’s take a short glimpse for Warsaw’s sake. The Tigers have been serviceable, but c’mon have you see Northridge? Shooter really thinks that Wawsaw could get a couple of nice wins over Concord and then likely Goshen. But the party won’t last long. SHOOTER SAYS: NORTHRIDGE BEATS WARSAW IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 5 at Carroll:Sectional 5 at Carroll: This sectional holds one of the state’s top offensive players, but she won’t get a trophy to add to that claim. Leigha Brown of DeKalb is due a big performance on the postseason stage and she will get one Friday opposite Carroll. Write it in Sharpie, it is going to happen. But the truth of this sectional is that a pair of Summit Athletic Conference heavyweights are going to slug it out for a title. On the surface, Northrop and Carroll are very much the same. No set star, just a quality team where 7-8 different girls can contribute significantly any night. The ultimate war of attrition who balks first at their opponent’s strength. Both teams can shoot and handle the ball well and score in a variety of ways. If Shooter had to guess, and conveniently I am doing just that, in the post is where this sectional will be won and lost. SHOOTER SAYS: NORTHROP BEATS CARROLL IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 6 at South Side: Well Shooter is going to either be really right or really wrong tomorrow when it comes to this sectional. If you didn’t know already (see the link below) Shooter thinks that South Side and Homestead facing off on Tuesday in the opening game is ludicrous. But Shooter will say that he loves this scenario for Shamari Tyson, South Side’s senior point guard. Why? Because if you told this frog that I could pick one current area player to lead me to one win, I’m picking Tyson. As tenacious as they come, Shooter will say that it is of my belief that nobody wants success more than her. Tuesday’s game is going to be a slugfest basketball-wise and Shooter will be right there when all is said and done. My guess is I will be in awe. South has homecourt advantage and that is worth something tangible. But they had it last time too. SHOOTER SAYS: HOMESTEAD BEATS MUNCIE CENTRAL IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 21 at Fairfield: A couple of NECC teams have the chance to claim a postseason title here when they meet in Friday’s semifinal (should West Noble beat NorthWood on Tuesday. And they will. I said so). The host Fairfield and West Noble are no strangers, they just played their second game of the season against each other last Friday night. This time, Shooter thinks the Chargers win, but don’t hold me to it. In fact, if Fairfield wins, pretend I didn’t even write this. Another fun and irrelevant factoid: Tippecanoe Valley is the only team in this sectional unbeaten against Class 3A schools and teams in this sectional. SHOOTER SAYS: WEST NOBLE BEATS TIPPECANOE VALLEY IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 22 at Bishop Dwenger: Angola’s winningest season in program history couldn’t get better, could it? With a sectional title in hand, I would call it better. Nobody possesses the depth that this Hornets team has, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a very good sectional. Skip ahead to Friday where Angola, Bishop Dwenger and Concordia Lutheran should all advance to. While the Cadets should roll over Leo, Sophia Pierce is capable of mounting an upset bid for the Lions. On the southern side of the bracket, Bishop Dwenger is much stronger in the post than the Hornets, but it has to get the ball to the post around explosive Hornets guards. It wouldn’t be a mistake for you, the casual prep hoops fan, to venture out to Bishop Dwenger on Friday night. SHOOTER SAYS: ANGOLA BEATS CONCORDIA IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 23 at Bellmont: Here is one of those big ones and, unless you are a fan of the other five teams in this sectional, it is all about one more showdown between Norwell and Bellmont. The Squaws are often looked at as the superior team of the two, but Norwell has beaten them in each of their three matchups in the last two seasons, proving that they are the dominant program. The trip to a clash in the finals is no easy ride. Norwell kicks things off Tuesday against a Bishop Luers squad that beat Homestead. I repeat, they beat Homestead. Shooter is continually impressed by the development of Lydia Reimbold as she has pushed Luers through some tough games. One of the very best sectional games, regardless of class could come Tuesday. Keep in mind Norwell beat Luers by 13 last week. For Bellmont, the roadblock to a final is Marion, and that is a sizeable roadblock. No really, they have a 6-foot-7 sophomore in RaShaya Kyle that is going to be very hard to get by. SHOOTER SAYS: NORWELL BEATS MARION IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 24 at Blackford: Jay County looked like a world beater at times in the regular season, but also lost some games it shouldn’t have. Wins over Bellmont, South Adams and Concordia highlighted scoring depth and balance that the Patriots will need at Blackford. Shelby Caldwell and Hanna Ault are both capable of taking over games for Jay County, who hits a big test against Hamilton Heights early on this week. Sophomore guard Bayleigh Runner is quick with the ball and the Patriots may struggle with her in a Friday semifinal meeting that is certain to happen. SHOOTER SAYS: HAMILTON HEIGHTS BEATS YORKTOWN IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 35 at Central Noble: The host Cougars are 6-0 against the five other teams in this sectional and 8-0 against Class 2A. Do you need any more information? The only upset you will see Shooter pick here is a Tuesday win for Whitko over Prairie Heights and that ain’t much of an upset. With just two wins, the Wildcats are due and I don’t know that anyone in this sectional, outside of Central Noble, can keep Whitko’s Ellie Snep off the glass. She’s arguably the best rebounder in the entirety of Class 2A and it could be a nice time for her to shine. But ultimately, the Cougars are too strong from top to bottom and their top (juniors Sydney Freeman and Meleah Leatherman) is much higher than other teams’ top end. SHOOTER SAYS: CENTRAL NOBLE BEATS LAVILLE IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 36 at Eastside: No team in this sectional has tested itself as much as South Adams, which comes in playing as good of basketball as it has all season. On Tuesday, look for Churubusco to get by Adams Central and South Adams to beat Eastside. On the top half of the bracket, Churubusco should be no match for a Bluffton team that has played really good basketball this year. Shooter has been impressed with the Tigers and young Emme Boots, the freshman who now leads them offensively. The Saturday final is all ACAC if you ask me. And while I really, really like Bluffton and what coach Karl Grau is growing, the Starfires are really set out to make the most of one last hoorah with their senior class. SHOOTER SAYS: SOUTH ADAMS BEATS BLUFFTON IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 37 at Oak Hill: Only one team of area interest slips into this sectional with Manchester likely getting host Oak Hill on Friday in the semifinals. Oak Hill is good. How good? Its only two losses are to South Side and 3A’s Northwestern (22-1). SHOOTER SAYS: OAK HILL BEATS NORTH MIAMI IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 52 at Bethany Christian: On paper, this looks like the host team’s sectional to win. Bethany Christian has tested itself with some 3A and 4A schools and with a first-round win, should coast to a title game after a win victory over winless Hamilton on Friday night. Locally, the attention goes to the bottom half of the bracket. Fremont should beat Blackhawk Christian in the opening round and Lakewood Park has been rolling along lately with freshman Chloe Joloff shining, so it will beat Elkhart Central and I pick the Panthers to meet Bethany Christian in the final in a rematch of a December 2 game. The outcome? Its not different. SHOOTER SAYS: LAKEWOOD PARK BEATS BETHANY CHRISTIAN IN SECTIONAL FINAL
Sectional 55 at Southern Wells: The lone area team in this sectional, the host Raiders join five other teams who all have losing records heading into the postseason. The Raiders have the benefit of playing more 3A schools because of their conference and therefore testing themselves more than other teams with similar records. Shooter doesn’t see Southern Wells having any issues to get by Daleville Tuesday or Wes-Del in the semifinals. The only true test could be Liberty Christian in the finals, but even though the Lions are an OK team, home court is worth the points. SHOOTER SAYS: SOUTHERN WELLS BEATS LIBERTY CHRISTIAN IN SECTIONAL FINAL