4A Sectional 9 at Greenfield-Central
Pendleton Heights (13-8) vs. Connersville (12-8), 6
Greenfield-Central (8-11) vs. Anderson (16-4), 7:30
Richmond (11-10) vs. PH-CO winner, 6
New Castle (6-13) vs. GC-AN winner, 7:30
Anderson defending champ. Winner advances to Decatur Central Regional.
The odds: Anderson is the favorite to repeat as sectional champ, listed with an 88.1 Sagarin rating, followed by Pendleton Heights (75.3), Connersville (73.3), New Castle (66.5), Richmond (65.4) and Greenfield-Central (64.7).
Coach’s cornerYour defense has been mostly solid this season. In what areas can the team improve offensively?
GC coach Doug Laker: “I think it’s all about shooting and confidence. Sometimes we’ll shoot with no confidence. We are very streaky, and to get through that streakiness and become efficient, you just have to shoot and shoot and shoot. It’s like riding a bike, it has to become second nature. I woke up a 1 a.m. (Wednesday morning) wondering, ‘How can we get more offense?’ Then I watched tape. We missed seven or eight point-blank shots in the paint (in a 46-32 loss to Whiteland Tuesday). And then we went 7-of-20 from the foul line. In practice, we shoot a ton, and we’ll just keep doing it, and eventually we’ll get over that hump.”
Are you excited about the future of the program?
Laker: “I’m very, very excited. I see our future being very bright. This is what I’ve been doing the last five years, building our feeder program. We have a lot of talent now in eighth grade, seventh grade, sixth grade. We have skill coming. It’s going to be an exciting, exciting time.”
Local forecast: Tough draw for the Cougars, getting Anderson right out of the gate. G-C coach Doug Laker has done well with this relatively young group; eight wins was probably near the max of their potential. And on the defensive end, Laker has never had a better team, statistically speaking. This year’s group is giving up only 46 points per game; the best defensive average of Lakers’ five teams. Unfortunately, the Cougars are scoring at a 45.6-point clip — the low of the last five years. Sophomores Shelby Oldham (9.1 ppg), Regan Lewis (6.6) and Brooke Bell (5.4) and freshman Savannah Girolami (4.3) are building blocks for what should be an extremely competitive G-C program in coming years. In this sectional, however, the Cougars will have to settle for a learning experience. — Brian Harmon, sports editor