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Tourney time: Winter sports postseason breakdown


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The IHSAA winter sports playoff season is upon us, beginning with wrestling sectionals Saturday and the draw for girls basketball sectionals Sunday. With that in mind, here are postseason primers for each sport, complete with my fearless predictions.

Wrestling

Sectional: Saturday (sectional draw was Monday).

Shenandoah Sectional (9 a.m.): Eastern Hancock, Blue River Valley, Cambridge City Lincoln, Centerville, Hagerstown, Knightstown, New Castle, Northeastern, Richmond, Tri.Defending team champion: New Castle.

Warren Central Sectional (8:30 a.m.): Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon, New Palestine, Beech Grove, Franklin Central, Marshall, Roncalli, Shelbyville and Triton Central at Warren Central, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. Defending team champion: Warren Central.

Returning individual champions at WC: Taylor Fee, NP, 113 pounds last year/126 now; Sam Locke; G-C, 126/132; Josh Farrell, G-C, 138/152.

Regional: Top four in each weight class at sectional advance to regional meet. Eastern Hancock at Richmond Regional, Feb. 2, 8 a.m.; Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and New Palestine at Perry Meridian Regional, Feb. 2 at 9 a.m.

Semistate: Top four in each weight class at Richmond, Perry Meridian regionals advance to New Castle Semistate, Feb. 9 at 9 a.m

State finals: Top four in each weight class at semistate advance to state finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. First round is on Feb. 15 at 6p.m. Quarterfinals Feb. 16 begin at 9:30 a.m., followed by semifinals. Consolation finals at 5 p.m., then spotlight finals at 7:30 p.m.

Fearless predictions: First, a newsworthy note: New Palestine’s Tommy Cash, the reigning 106-pound sectional champ and current No. 2 ranked grappler at 120, is out for the season. That will strike a blow to the Dragons’ chances at the team title. … Hancock County’s pair of undefeated wrestlers — NP’s C.J. Red (106) and G-C’s Josh Farrell (152) — will cruise to the regional round. … Other sectional winners will be G-C’s Sam Locke (132), NP’s Gordon Wagner (138), G-C’s Austin Rose (170) and NP’s Brian Wagner (182). … Keep an eye on MV’s Dustin Tackett in the 160-pound weight class, a division that is wide-open. … Eastern Hancock moved into a new sectional this winter, stepping into a tourney with more similarly-sized schools as opposed to its previous Warren Central Sectional. Last year the Royals had two wrestlers seeded at sectional. Now, EH has four wrestlers seeded in the top five alone, and the rest of the squad is seeded no lower than eighth. Hunter Knopp (170), the top seed at 170, will bring home an individual sectional title for the Royals.

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Girls swimming & diving

Sectional, Jan. 31 (prelims), Feb. 2 (swimming and diving finals): New Palestine hosts Centerville, Connersville, Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central, Hagerstown, Mt. Vernon, New Castle, Richmond, Rushville, Shenandoah. Defending team champion: Mt. Vernon.

Returning event champions: 200 medley relay, MV; 200 individual medley, Carly Fernandes, G-C; 100 butterfly, Taylor Johnson, G-C; 100 backstroke, Carly Fernandes, G-C; 100 breaststroke, Emily Trimpe, NP.

Diving regional: First-place sectional finishers qualify for Plainfield Regional, Feb. 5.

State finals: First-place sectional finishers and any contestant who equals or betters the state time standard at sectional qualifies for state meet. Places one through eight at diving regional advance to state meet. State finals held at Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI. Swimming prelims at 6 p.m. on Feb. 8, with swimming and diving finals beginning at 1 p.m. on Feb. 9.

Fearless predictions: Fernandes and Johnson will be repeat individual winners. … Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and New Palestine placed in the top six last year; all three will be in the top five this go-around. … The Marauders, winners of three of the past four sectional meets, always seem to swim well in this meet, so they’ll make it four championships in five years. … Eastern Hancock’s Sarah Henderson will qualify for an individual event final, a program first. The Royals will also advance two relay teams to the final round.

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Boys swimming & diving

Sectional, Feb. 14 (prelims), Feb. 16 (swimming and diving finals): New Palestine hosts Centerville, Connersville, Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central, Hagerstown, Mt. Vernon, New Castle, Richmond, Rushville. Defending team champion: Greenfield-Central.

Returning event champions: 200 medley relay, G-C; 200 freestyle relay, G-C; 400 freestyle relay, G-C.

Diving regional: First-place sectional finishers qualify for regional meet at Avon on Feb. 19.

State finals: First-place finishers and any contestant who equals or betters the state time standard at sectional qualifies for the state meet. Places one through eight at diving regional move on to state meet. State competition held at Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI. Swimming prelims at 6 p.m. on Feb. 22, with swimming and diving finals beginning at 1 p.m. on Feb.23.

Fearless predictions: Mark Logan will spend a lot of time shaking hands at the sectional awards podium. The coach of the Greenfield-Central boys team will see his team sweep the relays and send multiple swimmers to the state meet. G-C is more senior-heavy than in the past, so its rivals could begin to close the gap next winter. But, expect the blue and gold to take home their third straight sectional trophy come mid-February. … Mt. Vernon will place in the top three. … New Palestine, which used the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet as a sectional trial run, will be in the top five. … Eastern Hancock will place a relay team in the finals, something the program has never done.

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Girls basketball

Sectional draw: Sunday, 5 p.m. (WTTV-4)

Sectional dates: Feb. 5, 8 and 9

 

Eastern Hancock (13-4)

Sectional at Knightstown: Class 2A Sectional 41 vs. Cambridge City Lincoln, Centerville, Hagerstown, Union County, Knightstown.

Defending champion: Centerville.

Regional at Speedway: Sectional winners from Knightstown (Sectional 41), Heritage Christian (Sectional 42), Triton Central (Sectional 43) and Speedway (Sectional 44) at Speedway, Feb. 16.

Semistate: Regional winners meet on Feb. 23. Sites are to be determined.

State finals: Semistate winners meet on March 2 at Indiana State University’s Hulman Center. Class 2A final follows Class A, which begins at 10:30 a.m. All state finals games televised locally on Indiana’s 4.

Fearless predictions:  Precise postseason prognostications on hoops will be postponed until the days leading up to Hoosier Hysteria in the Daily Reporter’s Sectional Preview, so I’ll paint with a broad brush on basketball. For the 13-win Royals, the last time the program reached the sectional final in 2002-03, the team had 16 wins. I expect EH to reach a minimum of 16 wins before its season concludes.

 

Greenfield-Central (8-10)

Sectional at G-C: Class 4A Sectional 9 vs. Anderson, Connersville, New Castle, Pendleton Heights, Richmond.

Defending champion: Anderson.

Regional at Decatur Central: Sectional winners from Greenfield-Central (Sectional 9), Lawrence Central (Sectional 10), Brownsburg (Sectional 11) and Terre Haute South Vigo (Sectional 12) at Decatur Central on Feb. 16.

Semistate: Regional winners meet on Feb. 23. Sites TBD.

State finals: Semistate winners meet on March 2 at Indiana State University’s Hulman Center. Class 4A final follows Class 3A, which begins at 6 p.m.

Fearless predictions: Whiteland (9-10) and Greenwood (14-4) remain on G-C’s schedule before sectional play begins. The Cougars are also 0-3 vs. common sectional opponents this year. And though it’s going to be difficult for the blue and gold to reach double digit victories, they’ve never won less than nine games under fifth-year coach Doug Laker. That streak will be extended before the team’s season ends.

 

Mt. Vernon (15-3)

Sectional at Chatard: Class 3A Sectional 26 vs. Brebeuf, Guerin Catholic, Howe and host Chatard.

Defending champion: Mt. Vernon.

Regional at Danville: Sectional winners from Lebanon (Sectional 25), Chatard (Sectional 26), Beech Grove (Sectional 27) and Brown County (Sectional 28) at Danville on Feb. 16.

Semistate: Regional winners meet on Feb. 23. Sites are to be determined.

State finals: Semistate winners meet on March 2 at Indiana State University’s Hulman Center at 6 p.m.

Fearless predictions: All eyes are on Erica Moore’s right knee. Hancock County’s leading scorer and rebounder has been out for nearly a month after undergoing knee surgery. The Marauders can still win Sectional 26 without Moore, but their regional hopes take a hit if the junior center can’t suit up. Thus, I’ll take the easy way out and say MV will win its third straight outright Hoosier Heritage Conference crown Saturday by dispatching Delta (4-13), before falling to North Central (9-7) in its season finale.

 

New Palestine (3-14)

Sectional at Franklin: Class 4A Sectional 13 vs. Center Grove, Franklin Central, Greenwood, Whiteland, Franklin.

Defending sectional champion: Greenwood.

Regional at Bedford North Lawrence: Sectional winners from Franklin (Sectional 13), Columbus East (Sectional 14), New Albany (Sectional 15) and Evansville Central (Sectional 16) meet at BNL on Feb. 16.

Semistate: Regional winners meet on Feb. 23. Sites are to be determined.

State finals: Semistate winners meet on March 2 at Indiana State University’s Hulman Center. Class 4A final follows Class 3A, which begins at 6 p.m.

Fearless prediction: The Dragons are rebuilding this season, so it’s a bit unfair to offer up a realistic projection for their final few games. Instead, I’ll proclaim the following: before the freshmen quartet of Carly Hackler, Katlyn Keele, Natalie Kehrt and Haley Stratman graduate, they will capture NP’s fifth sectional championship.

***

Boys basketball

Sectional draw: Feb. 17. (WTTV-4)

Sectional dates: Feb. 26, March 1-2

 

Eastern Hancock (3-11)

Sectional at Hagerstown: Class 2A Sectional 41 vs. Cambridge City Lincoln, Centerville, Knightstown, Northeastern, Union County, Hagerstown.

Defending champion: Union County.

Regional at Connersville: Sectional winners from Hagerstown (Sectional 41), Broad Ripple (Sectional 42), Washington (Sectional 43) and Speedway (South Putnam) at Connersville on March 9.

Semistate: Regional winners meet on March 16. Sites are to be determined.

State finals: Semistate winners meet on March 23 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Class 2A final follows Class A, which begins at 10:30 a.m. State finals games televised locally on WTTV-4.

Fearless predictions: After recently snapping an eight-game losing skid, the Royals are due for a success run. Greenfield-Central (2-10) comes to town Saturday night when the athletic program will welcome its 2013 Hall of Fame inductees. Following the G-C tilt are upcoming contests with Tri (3-10) and Hauser (0-12). Mark all three down as victories. EH will be well under .500 entering sectional play, but coach Aaron Spaulding’s plan all along has been to have his team ready for March. They will be.

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Greenfield-Central (2-10)

Sectional at New Castle: Class 4A Sectional 9 vs. Anderson, Connersville, Pendleton Heights, Richmond, New Castle.

Defending champion: Pendleton Hts.

Regional at Southport: Sectional winners from New Castle (Sectional 9), Warren Central (Sectional 10), Decatur Central (Sectional 11) and Mooresville (Sectional 12) at Southport on March 9.

Semistate: Regional winners meet on March 16. Sites are to be determined.

State finals: Semistate winners meet on March 23 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Class 4A final follows Class 3A, which begins at 6 p.m.

Fearless prediction: Greenfield-Central coach Josh Johnson wasn’t red-in-the-face mad following his team’s 71-54 defeat to Shelbyville last Saturday, but his postgame answers have me believing the Cougars will recover quickly. G-C will top Greenwood (1-10) and Knightstown (3-8) on Feb. 2 and 7 respectively, which will put the Cougars’ win total at four, one more than last season’s tally.

***

 

Mt. Vernon (12-0)

Sectional at Mt. Vernon: Class 3A Sectional 26 vs. Arlington, Brebeuf, Chatard, Guerin Catholic and Howe.

Defending champion: Guerin Catholic.

Regional at Greencastle: Sectional winners from Frankfort (Sectional 25), Mt. Vernon (Sectional 26), Danville (Sectional 27) and Greencastle (Sectional 28) on March 9.

Semistate: Regional winners meet on March 16. Sites are to be determined.

State finals: Semistate winners meet on March 23 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Class 3A final begins at 6 p.m.

Fearless predictions: Stating the obvious here, but the Marauders have the best chance to make a state run of any local hoops squad. Before the season, I predicted a sectional title for Mt. Vernon. Whether I’ve waffled on that forecast is for another time, though I do believe a few things will occur to the Marauders before sectional play. MV’s streak of limiting opponents to 50 points or less will come to an end vs. Lawrence Central on Feb. 9, which will be MV’s third game in eight days. Coach Steve Lynch’s bunch will end the regular season 19-1, falling to Westfield on Feb. 19. But, the Marauders will recover three days later on Senior Night to defeat Yorktown and clinch the Hoosier Heritage Conference title with a triumph over Yorktown, finishing 7-0 in the conference.

 

New Palestine (10-4)

Sectional at Center Grove: Class 4A Sectional 13 vs. Franklin, Franklin Central, Greenwood, Whiteland, Center Grove.

Defending champion: New Palestine.

Regional: Sectional winners from Center Grove (Sectional 13), Columbus North (Sectional 14), Evansville North (Sectional 16) and host Seymour (Sectional 15).

Semistate: Regional winners meet on March 16. Sites are to be determined.

State finals: Semistate winners meet on March 23 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Class 4A final follows Class 3A, which begins at 6 p.m.

Fearless predictions: I haven’t seen the Dragons take the court since senior guard Justin Ikerd went down with a broken foot, but I’ll catch them Friday at home vs. Yorktown (12-2, 3-1 Hoosier Heritage Conference). I’m anxious to see how coach Adam Barton has reshuffled his rotation. As for looking into the future, New Palestine (4-0 HHC) will top the Tigers Friday and eventually finish 6-1 in conference play, falling to Mt. Vernon on Feb. 15. Michael Morris will edge Mt. Vernon’s CJ Coleman for the county scoring title, a category Morris finished fourth in a season ago.

***

Gymnastics

Sectional at New Palestine: No. 13 New Palestine (Hancock County’s lone gymnastics squad) hosts Franklin Central, Greenwood, Cathedral, Morristown, Noblesville, Perry Meridian, Roncalli, Shelbyville and Tindley on March 2. Top six place winners in each sectional event advance to regional; the top six place winners in the all-around competition move on to the regional meet and all gymnasts who receive the score of the sixth place gymnast at the previous state finals advance to regional. The top three scoring teams move on to regional.

Defending champion: Roncalli.

Regional at Lafeyette Jeff: Sectional qualifiers move on to the regional competition on March 8 at Lafayette Jefferson. Top six place winners in each sectional event advance to the state finals; the top six place winners in the all-around competition move on to the state finals and all gymnasts who receive the score of the sixth place gymnast at the previous state finals advance to the state finals. The top two scoring teams move on to state finals.

State finals: Competition begins at 1 p.m., March 16 at Ball State’s Worthen Arena.

Fearless predictions: Roncalli has won four sectional crowns in a row, but NP coach Jenny Musselman told The Daily Reporter earlier this month that the loss of the Rebels’ Schulthesis sisters (Cassie and Kaitie) has the placed the “targets on our back.” The Dragons traveled to Roncalli Thursday night in a dual meet that will likely identify the victor of March’s sectional. Bank on Musselman’s gymnasts snapping the Rebels’ sectional streak, with senior Kenzi Hoffman claiming the individual all-around championship.

 

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