In Class 3A, teams like Concordia Lutheran, Norwell and Bellmont have made some local waves and will look to make a splash on a bigger level in sectional play. It’s the second most wonderful time of the year (behind the actual start of the season), and we are ready to weed out the pretenders and crown some champions.
CLASS 4A NORTHROP SECTIONAL
Tuesday’s affairs are expected to be an assortment of blowouts, but Friday should be a treat for the fans out at Northrop.
The host Bruins should be playing (with a win over North Side Tuesday) and while they are a significantly more athletic team than East Noble, the Knights are coming off a huge win Friday when they severed Norwell’s Northeast 8 Conference hopes.
Also Friday, we are likely getting a rematch of Carroll and Snider, who just played three days ago (a week before a potential semifinal meeting). Snider knows that it has an advantage after a win last week, but that may make Carroll want it just a little more. If Snider can continue to have depth in its scoring and Daysianae Hinton can continue her rowdy pace, the Panthers will head into Saturday likely looking to avenge an earlier one-point loss to Northrop (58-57).
Depth would be the name in that championship game pitting a Bruin top five of Arielle Thatcher, Breanna Douglas, Niomi Dube, Alicia Tiney-Williams and Morgan Hughes against Snider’s core of Hinton, Kyle Covington, Allana Hurst, Hanna Barnes and Daleshia Davis. That rematch would test both teams in ways they haven’t been tested all season.
Shooter says: Snider defeats Northrop in the sectional final.
CLASS 4A HOMESTEAD SECTIONAL
The host Spartans are clicking on all cylinders after dominating North Side and Northrop in back-to-back Friday nights, to go with a win over dangerous 3A foe Heritage Christian mixed in, as well. Senior star Karissa McLaughlin is scoring at a very high rate and she and classmate Madisen Parker have been shooting the lights out lately.
After McLaughlin more than outscored North Side a week and a half ago, Parker spent most of last Friday outscoring Northrop.
Friday’s game with South Side is likely the most marquee game for any team in this sectional and will give the Spartans the need to push their interior play. This sectional is merely for show I am afraid.
Shooter says: Homestead defeats Huntington North in sectional final.
CLASS 3A CONCORDIA LUTHERAN SECTIONAL
If anyone can find their way by the defense of host Concordia Lutheran, this frog would surely be shocked. This seven-team bracket will take place over four days with just one game being played Tuesday. That game, Angola vs. Canterbury looked like one for the Hornets, but the Cavaliers’ Mason VanHouten poured in 49 points in a win over the weekend, though it was against a lesser team.
If VanHouten can continue her scoring surge, she could be the breakout player of the tournament and tough for the NECC champs to contain.
The winner of that game, however, will run into the juggernaut Cadets Friday and the Concordia defense has been exceptional, putting one of the best scares into Homestead of any SAC school this year.
Sophomores Sylare Starks and Carissa Garcia have added big splashes of offense from the wings for the Cadets. Shooter thinks that they will get a conference foe in the sectional final because Bishop Dwenger’s Ellen Ross has established herself as one of the top two post players in the area. She is coming off a 24-point, 18-rebound effort Tuesday and the Cadets don’t have anyone to contain her consistently in my mind.
Shooter says: Concordia defeats Bishop Dwenger in sectional final.
CLASS 3A NORWELL SECTIONAL
All of this sectional boils down to a Friday meeting between Norwell and Bellmont.
The NE8 foes faced off once before with the Knights winning 56-47 on January 14, which was the Squaws’ only conference loss of the year. Nonetheless, Bellmont won the conference title outright and is in the middle of its best season since 1994, which was the last time it won a conference crown.
Call this semifinal showdown another game of depth, because even though Norwell is older it isn’t that much more battle tested than Bellmont.
Norwell’s Logan Rowles and Kaylee Roller are tough as nails to guard and two of the more hard-working players in this sectional. Bishop Luers and Columbia City’s game Tuesday is likely a game for a spot in the finals, as either should beat Heritage in the semifinals.
Shooter says: Norwell defeats Bishop Luers in sectional final.
CLASS 2A CHURUBUSCO SECTIONAL
One thing is clear here, Woodlan is going to work as hard as it can to get to the sectional final so it can seek revenge on South Adams, which knocked it out of the ACAC title race a couple of years ago.
The Starfires took a piece of the conference crown following that win, which was their first ever.
Both teams have a fairly easy path to get back to each other with Woodlan’s test against the Bluffton vs. Eastside winner Friday perhaps being the only hiccup. You can’t look past Bluffton, which tapered off later in the season after an early strong start. The Tigers have scoring capable of causing some waves in this sectional should they get by Eastside Wednesday. Zoey Pearson could be one to watch for Bluffton and an attempt to upset Woodlan Friday in a semifinal.
Shooter says: South Adams defeats Woodlan in sectional final.
CLASS A BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN SECTIONAL
The Braves have had an up and down season, but have a strong inside presence in Isabella Coats. While her offensive game is still somewhat raw, she is a monster rebounder for other teams in this class to try and contain.
Shooter says: Blackhawk Christian defeats Bethany Christian in sectional final.
This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Shooter at firstname.lastname@example.org.