The featured image is of(2024) of Angola High School (with the ball).
Tuesday evening, November 1, marks the official start of the season, as more than 90 teams around the state open with their first game. With that in mind, I wanted to continue my thorough, multi-article preview spread throughout the next week, looking ahead at each Sectional, the top teams, and preseason all-state teams. I will now look at the second Class 3A North Regional, which incorporates the winners of Sectional #21 through #24. Below is a look at the teams in each of those Sectionals, along with some general comments and analysis.
(SAG = Final 2021-2022 Multiclass Sagarin Rating (395 teams); SOS = Final 2021-2022 Strength of Schedule)
Garrett (27-2), SAG 20, SOS 69
Woodlan (19-5), SAG 74, SOS 125
Angola (15-10), SAG 87, SOS 84
Bishop Dwenger (12-14), SAG 119, SOS 48
Leo (9-15), SAG 160, SOS 98
Heritage (12-12), SAG 168, SOS 128
Concordia Lutheran (4-19), SAG 239, SOS 53
If a team was hit hard by graduation, it was Garrett. In the Spring, the Railroaders said goodbye to Morgan Ostrowski (11.7p, 8.6r, 2.0b), Nataley Armstrong (9.4p, 3.1r, 8.6a, 2.7s), Taylor Gerke (8.3p, 3.3r, 2.1s), and Faith Owen (6.9p, 2.7r), along with four additional Seniors who played sparingly. We still included Garrett in our “Ten More to Keep an Eye On” section of our Class 3A Preseason Top-10, because 2022 Indiana Junior All-Star(16.2p, 5.2r) does return. The Senior wing is a talented athlete, she can score the ball at all three levels, and as long as she’s in the lineup, they have a chance. She has committed to Huntington University. Beyond that, 5-6 Junior guard Makenna Malcolm (1.9p), 5-5 Senior guard Aida Haynes, 5-7 Junior guard Brooklyn Jacobs, and 6-0 Junior post Kelsey Bergman each saw limited minutes at the ends of games. One exciting newcomer, however, is 5-7 Senior guard Maddy Schenkel. She is a versatile combo guard who transferred in from Bishop Dwenger. She can handle the ball some and facilitate, but she’s also a capable multilevel shooter/scorer. She could help offset the attention paid to Kelham. If the Railroaders can find consistent scoring anywhere else, it will be a plus in their attempt to repeat as Sectional champs. One team who has always been a “fly” in the ointment for Garrett over the years, are the Hornets of Angola. The Lady Hornets always seem to have length, team speed, and athleticism as a unit. They will have to play without 2022 graduate Lauren Leach (11.8p, 7.9r, 4.0a), who is now playing at Hope College. But Angola returns everyone else, and they hope to get a full season out of everyone this time around. Junior point guard (8.3p, 2.8r, 2.5a, 3.0s) brings a ton of energy for them with her speed, quickness, and feisty play. Sophomore wing (6.5p, 3.7r, 2.4s) is a budding star who could really take off in Year-2. 5-8 Senior guard (6.1p) gives them another perimeter scoring option. 5-7 Junior forward Leah Snyder (6.0p, 7.9r), 5-7 Senior wing Tyrah Stillman (4.1p, 3.7r), and 6-0 Junior forward (3.5p, 3.4r) give the Hornets a presence inside. Oberlin was injured in mid-December and missed all but one game the rest of the season. She will be back and healthy this year, and she could be a real x-factor for them because of her size and athleticism.
Woodlan played several girls last season, but at the end of the day, three stood out. Of those three, guard Dakotah Krohn (13.3p, 3.2r, 5.0a) left via the diploma, so the Warriors will need to find someone to take care of the basketball. Back, though, are Senior forward(13.4p, 10.2r, 2.0s) and Junior forward (11.0p, 6.2r). They are an impressive duo to anchor the frontcourt. 5-7 Senior guard Gabi Klopfenstein (2.9p, 3.0r) also has considerable experience to add to the lineup, but from there opportunities are wide open for everyone else returning. One thing is for sure, the Lady Warriors always play hard and battle each possession. Bishop Dwenger has lost a great deal of production from their backcourt, as Lexi Linder (12.9p, 4.6r, 3.0a, 3.1s) and Mackenzie Sokol (9.9p, 4.2r, 2.5a, 2.2s) both graduated, and the aforementioned Maddy Schenkel transferred to Garrett. Undoubtedly, the focal point this season will be 6-3 Junior post . She has great size and strength, solid athleticism, and she continues to develop her skillset. 5-8 Senior forward Clara Burns and 5-10 Senior forward Vanessa Cook surround Eke up front, while 5-6 Junior guard Taylor Aselage could be the top perimeter option to help make up for the losses of Linder, Sokol, and Schenkel. The Leo Lady Lions return Seniors Leah May (12.0p, 4.5r, 2.1a), a 5-6 guard, and Haylee Schott (6.1p, 5.3r), a 6-0 post, but most of the rest of their production left via graduation. While they will build around those two veteran performers, plenty of opportunity will present itself for a number of other younger players looking to make their mark. Juniors Abby Bovie, Isabelle Collins, Emily Cogdell, Kayla Adams, and Kacey Gibson all saw limited minutes last season, so they’ll likely be called upon first. The Heritage Lady Patriots are another team who will be looking to fill some voids. Missing this year are leading scorer & rebounder Ella Bickel (13.2p, 5.9r), Abby Zelt (5.3p, 3.9r), and Shelby Schane (4.9p, 3.3r, 2.1a), all springtime grads. 5-6 Senior guard Claire Bickel (9.9p, 4.2r, 2.4a) looks to step into her sister’s spot as team leader, while fellow 5-4 Senior guard Kendall Zelt (5.4p) will help make up for the loss of her own sister. Three more Sophomores and three more Juniors each played in 13 or more games, providing the Patriots with a number of semi-experienced options to fill their lineup. The Lady Cadets hope to lead Concordia Lutheran back towards the success they had just a few years ago. Senior forward is a great starting point. She is a strong and athletic front-liner who can score it anywhere inside of 15-feet, plus she is great on the boards. Nelson is committed to play at Huntington University next season. She should get help from Junior , a transfer last year from New Haven who is now able to see Varsity action. She is a fairly athletic, hard-working combo guard who will likely act as a primary ball-handler for the Cadets. 5-4 Sophomore Lauren Goodman is another nice, young guard for Concordia who can also handle the ball quite a bit.
Benton Central (27-2), SAG 15, SOS 31
Twin Lakes (19-6), SAG 38, SOS 41
Rensselaer Central (17-7), SAG 79, SOS 162
Western (14-10), SAG 82, SOS 74
West Lafayette (12-11), SAG 88, SOS 38
North Montgomery (12-10), SAG 269, SOS 316
Frankfort (3-20), SAG 329, SOS 248
Twin Lakes is not only a heavy favorite to win Sectional #22, but they are also our #1 team in the Class 3A Preseason Top-10 (you can see their team preview here). Benton Central has long been a powerhouse in Class 3A, but with significant graduation losses, 2022-2023 will be somewhat of a rebuilding year. Point guard Tressa Senesac (12.3p, 3.0r, 6.1a, 2.8s) and wing Kennedy Tolen (15.7p, 6.9r, 2.4a, 2.5s) were their heart & soul the last couple of seasons, but they have headed off to college. Additionally, defensive wing Courtney Tolen and backup post Carlee Musser have joined them. That leaves the Lady Bison thin on experience. 6-1 Junior post (9.5p, 7.2r) does return, and she is one of the best defensive post players in the state, regardless of class. Fellow Junior, 5-9 wing , has started in the past and could turn into their go-to scorer offensively. She is a nice athlete and a very good shooter. Another 5-9 Junior wing, Rachel Tolen, has experience off the bench but looks to start this time around, as does 5-5 Junior point guard Ellie Wetli. 5-7 Sophomore guard Avery Hardebeck is yet another talented youngster looking for an opportunity. In 2021-2022, Rensselaer Central had one of their better groups in recent memory, but as they make the move to Class 3A, they must now say “goodbye” to Jessie Ringen (16.3p, 3.4r, 3.2a, 2.3s), Morgan Van Meter, Avree Cain, Abby Ahler, and Kenzie Moore. 5-10 Sophomore forward Taylor Van Meter (9.8p, 3.7r, 2.1s) and 5-9 Junior forward Sarah Kaufman are the two returnees with the most experience. Both are inside-out players who can knock down the occasional 3-pointer or play in the mid-post effectively. Junior wing Cadence Manns and Sophomore guard Jesi Fleming push for time around the perimeter, while 6-0 Sophomore front-liner seeks an opportunity as well. Also keep an eye on 5-8 Freshman guard . She injured her knee in the Spring and is still working her way back to 100%, but she enters with a lot of fanfare locally. She could have an instant impact for the Lady Bomber backcourt.
The Western Lady Panthers won the 2014 Class 3A state championship, but in the eight seasons since, they have not won a Sectional crown, and last year was their first winning season over that span. Despite the losses of Ella Biggs, Karson Lechner, Audrey Rassel, and Michaela Stewart to graduation, the Panthers return a nice core group of players who can contend in Sectional #22. Senior front-liner(12.6p, 7.6r) is a strong, hard-working post who will likely be featured at times throughout the season. Twin gives them another strong, physical post who can offset the attention given to Caroline. Junior guard is primed for a breakout year, and she’ll take on a lot of ball-handling and perimeter scoring responsibilities. 5-9 Junior forward Kayleigh Turner and 5-10 Junior post McKenna Smith solidify the frontcourt, while 5-7 Junior guards Chloe Hunt and Lauren Bradley should be York’s running ‘mates in the backcourt. The West Lafayette Red Devils are also primed for a very good season. Most of their production, especially at the top, returns, and they have talent and skill across the board. Junior wing (18.2p, 6.0r, 2.6a, 4.6s) is the unquestioned leader of the group, and she showed her mettle throughout the grassroots season. She can handle it a little, score it at all three levels, and she’s a talented on-ball defender. 5-8 Senior guard (13.7p, 2.4r, 2.4s) is a smooth shooter who can get hot quickly, so she will keep defenses honest. 5-9 Junior forward (13.3p, 4.9r in 7 games) looks to put in a full season after missing much of last year injured. She is a welcomed re-addition to the lineup. 5-10 front-liner Annie Karlaftis (7.1p, 10.6r) is their workhorse inside, and she can post double-doubles on any given night. 5-6 Junior guard Vivian Huston (5.5p, 3.0r), 5-10 Sophomore forward Molly Andrew (3.5p, 3.8r), and 5-3 Junior guard Reegan Leeper (1.8p, 2.2a) each return with significant experience. Watch out for this team come Sectional time, as they can sneak out of Sectional #22 with a trophy. During the 2021-2022 season, North Montgomery posted their most wins in nine years. To repeat that will be difficult, as they graduated a great deal of production. Gone are Katie Rice (15.5p, 9.9r), Madi Welch (8.1p, 3.0r, 2.4s), Lydia Dugard (5.2p, 5.0r, 3.0a), and Hadley Broadwater (3.3p, 3.4r), four of their five starters. Best of the returnees is 5-9 Sophomore forward Piper Ramey (6.9p, 7.7r), and because she’s young, she gives the Chargin’ Chargers a lot of hope for the future. Seniors Jaydelyn Phillips (1.2p) and Madison Banta look to offer veteran leadership, but North Montgomery will be depending on a host of newcomers to play big minutes right out of the gate. Frankfort hasn’t posted a winning season since 2008-2009, but this year they could be improved, as a lot of experience returns for the Hot Dogs. 5-3 Senior guard Madyson Cook, and 5-7 Junior forward Saira Flores, return the most experience, while Sophomore guard Daizy Valdez also saw some action last year as a rookie.
Norwell (19-5), SAG 46, SOS 60
Northwestern (19-5), SAG 52, SOS 72
Bellmont (17-9), SAG 65, SOS 83
Maconaquah (15-8), SAG 101, SOS 159
Mississinewa (7-16), SAG 225, SOS 95
Oak Hill (8-16), SAG 238, SOS 155
Peru (5-18), SAG 262, SOS 169
Sectional #23 is absolutely loaded at the top. With Norwell, Northwestern, and Bellmont all returning key players from a season ago. Norwell is our #4 team in our Class 3A Preseason Top-10. They are always very fundamental, disciplined, and well-prepared (you can see their team preview here). Bellmont actually knocked off Norwell in upset fashion during the 2022 Sectional. We have them #8 to begin the year (you can see their team preview here). Northwestern comes back to Class 3A after a three-year stint in Class 4A following their State Finals success. I felt like there were seven teams who were all extremely close and could have filled the last four spots in the preseason Top-10, with Northwestern being one of them. So, to me, the Lady Tigers are right there and should be considered a state contender once again. Leading the way is 6-2 Senior wing (22.1p, 6.2r, 4.1a, 3.8s). The 2022 Indiana Junior All-Star and Purdue University commit does it all for the Tigers, from handling the ball and initiating the offense, to knocking down shots outside, to battling on the interior. She’ll get help from 5-7 Sophomore guard (9.1p, 2.2r). She is a strong and fairly athletic combo guard who can act as a primary ball-handler, but she’s much better attacking the basket. 5-6 Senior guard Ashley Newell (6.3p, 2.5r, 2.1a) and 6-0 Junior forward Lexi Hale (5.0p, 5.5r) also saw a great deal of action a year ago, and they give good effort in their supporting roles. Missed most will be 6-0 front-liner Leah Carter (4.3p, 4.5r, 3.8a), who graduated. She was a sizeable presence who did a lot of things for them defensively. 5-11 Sophomore post Berkley Wray (2.7p, 2.4r) saw some action last year, and she’ll likely be asked to fill the void left by Carter. 5-9 Senior wing Bailey Henry (1.8p, 2.5r) has also put in her time over the years, and she should provide additional veteran leadership. The Lady Tigers have never been terribly deep, so as long as Layden is on the floor, they’ll always be in the game. Maconaquah had a really nice 2021-2022 season, as one of the best to ever wear a Lady Brave uniform, Lilly Maple (24.1p, 7.4r, 3.8a, 5.0s), put on a show all year. Unfortunately, she is gone via the diploma, as are Averi Miller (6.6p, 3.1r) and Alexandra Merritt (4.6p, 5.6r), better known as three-fifths of their starting lineup. 6-3 Junior post (8.1p, 8.4r) does return, and she has consistently progressed each year. However, she is rehabbing a knee injury and might not be at 100% for a little while. 5-9 Junior wing Miranda Stoll (7.6p, 3.9r) and 5-4 Junior guard Bailey Carson (2.9p, 2.0r) have the next most experience, as Stoll was a starter, while Carson was their de facto 6th-person. 5-10 Senior forward Courtney Stoll (1.5p), and 5-5 Junior guard Sydney Barnes (1.2p) also look to step into much more critical roles this Winter.
Regardless of what their record is, Mississinewa is always a feisty group. This season, they must play without graduates Mia Catey (14.8p, 7.3r, 2.1a, 2.9s), Megan Stanley (4.1p, 2.7r), Katelyn Ramey (2.8p, 3.1r), and Kylie Roberts (1.3p). 5-7 Senior guard Abby Smith (8.9p) is their dangerous perimeter threat, as she buried 50 3-pointers on the season. Defenses definitely can’t lose track of her. 5-7 Sophomore guard Jaci Crick (8.6p, 3.6r, 2.0a) looks like a future star for the Lady Indians, and she could even be a breakout star this season. Fellow Sophomore guard Carsyn Yeakle (2.6p, 4.5r), is a scrappy, athletic player who makes a lot of hustle plays. If the Lady Indians can get any interior production, even just rebounding and defense, then they can cause problems for opponents with their hustle and perimeter play. Since moving to Class 3A, it’s been a tough run so far for Oak Hill. The Golden Eagles were 16-8 in their first season at that level, but they’ve had consecutive 8-win seasons since. This year it will continue to be a little challenging, as leading scorer Treniti Thurman (11.7p, 4.1r, 2.0s) graduated, along with Joy McDivitt (6.4p, 3.5r), and Nikki Alston (7.4p, 2.0r in 2020-2021), who was injured but made a singular appearance last year on Senior Night. The good news for Golden Eagle fans is that a number of younger players saw the court last year. 5-4 Junior point guard Taylor Holloway (7.0p, 2.8r, 2.1a, 2.0s) will likely be the leader this season, and she’ll get a majority of her help from 5-7 Senior wing Melissa Kluevein (4.3p, 3.2r), 5-6 Junior wing Alivia Shaw (2.3p, 2.1r), plus a trio of Sophomores in Alexa Myers (3.4p, 2.8r), a 5-7 wing, Janey Van Dyke (2.3p, 4.2r), a 5-11 post, and Liz Godfrey (2.3p, 2.4r), a 5-8 wing. Peru seeks improvement this season, but they must do so without last year’s leading scorer, graduate Cate Wolfe (14.6p, 5.3r, 2.0a, 2.3s). A trio of Seniors are back with a great deal of experience, though. 5-6 guard Cameryn Raber (7.5p, 2.0r), 5-7 wing Brianna Bennett (7.1p, 2.6r, 4.2a), and 5-9 forward Madisyn Nordman (3.7p, 3.1r) all saw quality minutes a season ago. 5-8 Junior forward Kaylene Kirk (3.3p, 3.0r) also looks to be in the mix for a key role.
Hamilton Heights (18-6), SAG 29, SOS 45
Jay County (20-4), SAG 43, SOS 140
Frankton (23-6), SAG 62, SOS 112
New Castle (14-10), SAG 127, SOS 136
Yorktown (5-18), SAG 211, SOS 91
Delta (3-19), SAG 298, SOS 100
Centerville (3-17), SAG 372, SOS 345
Even though Hamilton Heights appears in our Class 3A Preseason Top-10, the Lady Huskies aren’t immune to defeat this year, especially considering a BIG graduation loss. However, I would still consider Hamilton Heights a slight favorite in Sectional #24 (you can see their team preview here). Jay County will likely be their biggest challenger, as they welcome back 2022 Indiana Junior All-Star and Purdue-Fort Wayne commit (18.3p, 5.8r, 4.5a, 2.4s). The 6-0 forward is highly skilled, she’s a balanced athlete, and she plays with a nice motor. Graduation did take the services of Madison Dirksen (11.5p, 4.9r) and Izzy Rodgers (9.2p, 2.1a), however there are plenty of other players with Varsity experience. Look for 6-0 Senior forward Gabi Bilbrey (5.9p, 6.3r) and 5-7 Junior guard Sophie Saxman (5.1p, 4.6r, 2.0s) to provide a presence on the interior. 5-5 Senior guard Mabrey McIntire (2.9p, 2.1s in nine games) should see a much bigger role this season, as well as 5-9 Junior guard Breanna Dirksen (2.1p). Frankton has been the Class 2A State Runner-Up two of the last three seasons, but now they must adjust to life in Class 3A. They must also do so without Lauryn Bates (14.1p, 7.7r, 4.4a, 2.8s), Bailee Webb (7.0p, 2.7r), Cagney Utterback (6.6p, 2.5r, 2.9a, 2.1s), or Shae Simon (2.6p), all 2022 graduates. This year, the attention turns to 6-0 Junior wing Emma Sperry (10.3p, 7.2r). She has experience handling the ball from when she was younger, but she’s also a multilevel scorer who will be relied upon much more heavily the next two seasons. 5-7 Junior guard Amaya Collins (6.6p, 2.0r) is a nice athlete and a very good perimeter shooter. She could become a double-digit scorer and be a nice sidekick to go with Sperry. 5-6 Senior guard Isabella Dean (5.1p, 2.6r) is an athletic defensive presence in the lineup, while 5-6 Senior point guard Launa Hamaker (1.4p) could inherit some ball-handling responsibilities. 5-11 Senior forwards Haylee Niccum (1.9p) and Addie Brobston help up front with their height and length.
New Castle is a very interesting team, because while they did graduate a couple of key pieces, they return their point guard and solid post play. Gone are Maddy Meek (16.5p, 6.0r) and Emma Blackburn (6.9p, 5.0r), and both will be difficult to replace. But back is 5-2 Junior point guard Emma Hart (11.0p, 4.8r) to take the reins. She is quick, somewhat feisty, but very heady and efficient with the ball. 6-0 Senior front-liner(6.8p, 5.6r, 2.2b) is back for her final season, and she has flashed great potential in the past. 5-5 guard Chloe Vaughn (2.0p), 5-5 wing Jayci Reeves (2.0p, 3.0r), and 5-7 guard Ava Stearns bring a lot of experience in a well-balanced Senior class, while 5-5 forward Morley Blessinger (1.6p, 2.2r) is a Junior who could see more clock this season. Yorktown could be a team who surprises this year, especially with the return of their top six scorers from a year ago. A solid Senior class, led by 5-5 guard Raya Tewari (9.1p, 3.2r), 5-2 guard Amari Wright (9.1p, 3.3r, 2.5s), 5-8 forward Camryn Isaacs (7.4p, 4.9r), and 5-9 forward Jenna Sylvester (4.0p, 6.6r), are helped by the Junior duo of 6-0 post Jayde Garrett (3.1p, 5.1r) and 5-1 guard Hayley Reece (2.8p, 2.2r). Additionally, 5-1 Junior guard and 5-9 Freshman wing look to make their marks this season for the Lady Tigers. Delta, on the other hand, will try to increase their win total, but unfortunately their top three Seniors have chosen not to return. Those three include point guard (10.3p, 3.6r, 2.3a), forward Sydney Stroble (6.4p, 3.9r), and wing Kalynn Logan (5.7p, 4.1r, 2.0s). With that said, there are two key players who return with significant experience. They are 6-1 Junior post Paizley Cool (5.9p, 9.6r, 2.0b) and Junior Hannah Carter (3.6p, 5.2r). Look for the Lady Eagles to play as many as four Freshmen right out of the gates, and while they are young and inexperienced, they will be chomping at the bit and should grow quickly. Centerville is up in Class 3A for the first time, but the Lady Bulldogs haven’t won more than six games since the 2012-2013 season. They could improve upon their three wins from a year ago, as they return three Seniors with experience. 5-6 guard Malorie Woodruff, plus 5-6 forwards Gabby Duke and Shae Bennett, head up the 2023 class. 5-8 Junior forward Graci Plyley and 5-4 Sophomore guard Olivia Hunter also look to contribute this season.