State Tourney Preview: Class 4A South
NOTE: Due to weather / internet complications, this article did not post on 1/29 as intended, therefore all content was written and prepared prior to any Tuesday night games. I have chosen to stick with my original picks and material…
NOTE: Due to weather / internet complications, this article did not post on 1/29 as intended, therefore all content was written and prepared prior to any Tuesday night games. I have chosen to stick with my original picks and material instead of updating it based on Tuesday’s results.
The IHSAA State Tournament began last night for a few schools across the Hoosier state. With that in mind, I wanted to offer a brief preview of each Sectional in the South for Class 4A, which incorporates Sectionals #9 through #16. Below is a look at the teams in each of those Sectionals, along with some general comments and analysis. This is the final article previewing the individual Sectionals in the IHSAA State Tournament; eight articles have posted in total (1A and 2A posted yesterday).
(SAG = Current 2018-2019 Multiclass Sagarin Rating; SOS = Current 2018-2019 Strength of Schedule)
Sectional #9 at Mount Vernon
New Palestine (20-2) SAG 20; SOS 64
Mount Vernon-Fortville (17-5) SAG 41; SOS 35
Pendleton Heights (13-10) SAG 91; SOS 49
Greenfield-Central (9-13) SAG 125; SOS 59
Connersville (10-12) SAG 155; SOS 83
Richmond (5-18) SAG 199; SOS 55
Sectional #9 is primarily the Class 4A HHC schools plus Connersville and Richmond thrown in there. New Palestine had an outstanding season, and the combination of Leah Seib (2019), Jordan Reid (2020), and Katie Herron (2019) is strong inside. Mount Vernon is playing very well in Coach Julie Shelton’s second season back. Lexi Shelton (2021) and Sydnee Perry (2020) are the top performers for the Lady Marauders. Pendleton has been strong at times this year, and they hope to pull off an upset along the way. Kailyn Graham (2019), Aubree Dwiggins (2020), and Megan Mills (2020) are all double-figure scorers for the Arabians. Also keep an eye on high-scoring Hannah Farrell (2020) of Greenfield-Central and sharpshooter Marley Smith (2019) of Connersville as other top players.
Championship Game Prediction: New Palestine over Mount Vernon in a tight one
Sectional #10 at Cathedral
Warren Central (18-2) SAG 3; SOS 6
North Central-Indianapolis (18-6) SAG 4; SOS 1
Lawrence North (17-6) SAG 9; SOS 4
Heritage Christian (16-6) SAG 29; SOS 15
Cathedral (9-14) SAG 110; SOS 19
Lawrence Central (5-16) SAG 113; SOS 8
Arsenal Technical (0-20) SAG 367; SOS 100
If you are bored and want somewhere to go just to watch games, may I suggest Sectional #10? The top four teams are about as good of a collection of teams as you will see in any Sectional statewide. Warren Central is the defending State Champion in Class 4A, and the inside-out duo of 6-5 Cydni Dodd (2019) and Shaila Beeler (2019) has been a joy to watch for four years now. Throw in leading scorer K’Ja Talley (2020), and Warren is primed for another tourney run. However, Warren must first square off with North Central and their roster full of talented athletes. Guards Rikki Harris (2019) and Savaya Brockington (2019) are about as potent a pair as you will find, not to mention the frontcourt contributions of wing Jasmine McWilliams (2020), forward Meg Newman (2021), and post Nakaih Hunter (2021). Then there is Lawrence North, and they are capable of beating anyone as well. They start with Jayla Smith (2021), Katie Davidson (2020), and Kristian Young (2020), then scatter other athletes and skillful players throughout their lineup. Heritage Christian has also been hot lately, recently knocking off Homestead and Hammond Bishop Noll. Ariana Wiggins (2021) and Sydney Watkins (2020) make quite the pair in a young backcourt. Cathedral wing Justis Gordon (2020) is another talented player to keep an eye on, as she can score points in a hurry.
Championship Game Prediction: North Central over Heritage Christian
Sectional #11 at Southport
Ben Davis (14-8) SAG 13; SOS 7
Pike (12-11) SAG 15; SOS 3
Roncalli (14-6) SAG 28; SOS 26
Perry Meridian (9-13) SAG 81; SOS 17
Decatur Central (16-7) SAG 102; SOS 164
Southport (5-17) SAG 158; SOS 29
Sectional #11 is very interesting this year. You have a bunch of teams who’ve had up and down seasons, but most of whom have played tough schedules. Just about anyone can compete for this Sectional, but I think Ben Davis is sneaky good and could honestly make a run through the State Tournament with their toughness and feisty play. Cherrelle Newsom (2020) and Ambrea Wensey (2019) are so much fun to watch for the undersized Giants, while Khera Goss (2020) is a really nice talent for them as well. Pike went through the Marion County Tournament unscathed, and they’ve played other top teams really close. They lean on Jada Roberson (2019) and Kinnidy Garrard (2019). Roncalli has a nice duo of their own in Maddie Bischoff (2021) and Alana Vinson (2020). Also keep an eye on Ariana Booker (2019) and Caitie Baird (2019) of Perry Meridian, as well as Ajulu Thatha (2019) of Decatur Central and Lexie Green (2020) from Southport.
Championship Game Prediction: Ben Davis over Roncalli on a last second defensive stop
Sectional #12 at Terre Haute South Vigo
Brownsburg (19-3) SAG 7; SOS 9
Avon (13-9) SAG 34; SOS 14
Mooresville (14-9) SAG 53; SOS 24
Plainfield (10-12) SAG 87; SOS 28
Terre Haute South Vigo (8-14) SAG 154; SOS 61
Terre Haute North Vigo (7-17) SAG 170; SOS 81
There’s a good chance the Sectional #12 title will stay in Hendricks County this year, as Brownsburg is very good and Avon causes matchup problems inside. Mooresville has played some tough teams this year as well, and Plainfield can be scrappy. Also, Terre Haute North and South begin Sectional play with a renewal of their rivalry. Top players in Sectional #12 include Veronika Roberts (2019), Allison Bosse (2020), Mackenzie Stien (2020), and Ally Becki (2021) of Brownsburg, Haley Nichols (2020) and Alex Richard (2021) of Avon, Elise Scaggs (2019) and Paige Gregory (2020) of Mooresville, Ellie Wilkerson (2022) of Plainfield, Amani Brown (2019) of Terre Haute South, and Aundrea Kearschner (2019) of Terre Haute North.
Championship Game Prediction: Brownsburg over Mooresville
Sectional #13 at Whiteland Community
Center Grove (19-3) SAG 10; SOS 10
Martinsville (17-6) SAG 40; SOS 30
Whiteland Community (15-8) SAG 51; SOS 36
Franklin Community (10-12) SAG 78; SOS 50
Franklin Central (2-19) SAG 146; SOS 5
Greenwood Community (4-18) SAG 196; SOS 38
There are some good teams and really nice players in Sectional #13, but I think Center Grove is going to be tough to beat for this field, and they have played consistently well all season. The backcourt of Emma Utterback (2019) and Ella Thompson (2019), along with wing Mary Wilson (2021), is dynamic offensively. They have several other girls who play with a great IQ for the game and work hard at both ends of the floor. Martinsville could be the one challenger, as they’ve had a strong year despite major 2018 graduation losses. Those two teams match up in the first round. Martinsville has gotten consistent play from Pa’Shence Walker (2021) and Bethany Mackin (2019). Whiteland also suffered graduation losses, but they’ve been solid behind the play of Megan Harlow (2019), Toni Joyner (2020), and Natalie Stuck (2019). Hailee Robbins (2020) of Franklin Community and Rachel Loobie (2020) of Franklin Central are two more nice prospects to keep an eye on.
Championship Game Prediction: Center Grove over Franklin Community
Sectional #14 at Columbus East
Bloomington South (19-3) SAG 19; SOS 48
East Central (17-6) SAG 46; SOS 60
Columbus North (16-7) SAG 56; SOS 40
Columbus East (10-12) SAG 98; SOS 52
Bloomington North (6-16) SAG 200; SOS 87
Shelbyville (4-19) SAG 238; SOS 63
Bloomington South came out of the gate hot this season, and they’ve remained that way throughout thanks to the play of star guard Addy Blackwell (2019). East Central is always well-coached and strong inside. This season is no different, as 6-4 Alyssa Robben (2019) and 6-2 Logan Cox (2019) help wing Brilan McCory (2020). Columbus North will always be a tough ‘out’, and this year they very well could win Sectional #14 behind Alexa McKinley (2021) and Nadia Lomax (2019). Koryn Greiwe (2022) of Columbus East is another player to keep an eye on after an outstanding Freshman season.
Championship Game Prediction: Bloomington South over Columbus North on a last-second shot
Sectional #15 at New Albany
Bedford North Lawrence (19-5) SAG 14; SOS 22
Jeffersonville (14-9) SAG 18; SOS 20
North Harrison (17-6) SAG 54; SOS 71
Seymour (13-9) SAG 88; SOS 31
Jennings County (14-8) SAG 100; SOS 67
Floyd Central (8-13) SAG 139; SOS 44
New Albany (5-17) SAG 144; SOS 43
This Sectional will likely come down to Bedford North Lawrence and Jeffersonville, and they’ll face off right away in the first game. Bedford is 2-0 this year against Jeffersonville entering Sectional play, with wins by one point and 15 points. Jorie Allen (2019) is as tough of a matchup as they come in high school hoops, and she’s getting help from Chloe McKnight (2021), Madison Webb (2020), and Jacy Hughes (2019). Jeffersonville goes as star forward Nan Garcia (2020) plays. They also have a really nice wing in Kiersten Poor (2020), who few people know about. North Harrison had a strong presence in Class 3A in the past, and star forward Lilly Hatton (2019) remains from their State Finalist team. Young point guard Ali Saunders (2022) has been a welcome addition this season. Seymour’s Makenna Fee (2019), Ashton Chase (2019), and Grace Meyer (2021), along with Jennings County’s Callie Wilder (2019) and Addyson Kent (2021), Floyd Central’s Grace Hale (2019), and New Albany’s Ally Willis (2019) are other nice players to watch in Sectional #15.
Championship Game Prediction: Bedford North Lawrence over Seymour
Sectional #16 at Jasper
Castle (18-4) SAG 17; SOS 91
Evansville North (11-11) SAG 101; SOS 94
Jasper (15-7) SAG 103; SOS 115
Evansville Harrison (3-15) SAG 299; SOS 152
Evansville F.J. Reitz (3-18) SAG 300; SOS 178
Evansville Central (3-17) SAG 322; SOS 138
Sectional #16 is completely up to Castle to win or lose this season. They are once again strong inside and out, and they have gotten consistently good play from Natalie Niehaus (2022) and Jessica Nunge (2019) all season long. Evansville North and Jasper are probably the two teams who can affect this at all. North has a really nice wing in Kenna Hisle (2020), while Jasper’s Claire Knies (2020) can play inside or out herself. North and Jasper face off right out of the gate, so Castle will have an easier road having to just play one of them.
Championship Game Prediction: Castle over Evansville North
Header photo of Warren Central celebrating their 2018 Class 4A State Championship; photo courtesy of the IHSAA Twitter account.