It was a wild regional Saturday in girls’ hoops. Only 16 teams remain in the IHSAA girls’ basketball state tournament across all four classes.
What stood out most from today’s slate of girls’ high school games?
ROUGH DAY FOR CENTRAL INDIANA TEAMS
Heading into Saturday, there were 12 central Indiana teams across all four classes competing for a regional championship. Only three of those schools will be playing basketball next weekend – Lawrence North (4A), Triton Central (2A) and Greenwood Christian (A).
A week after surviving a thriller against North Central, Lawrence North recovered from a 12-point deficit to beat Brownsburg, 58-57. Lawrence North mounted a comeback in the second half, thanks in large part to a 13-0 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Lady Wildcats have now won back-to-back regional titles for the second time in program history.
Triton Central’s dream season continued with a 64-38 win over Shenandoah in the Southmont regional. This is the third regional title in program history, and their first since 2012. The Lady Tigers will aim for their first state title appearance when they take on Linton next week in semi-state.
Lastly, Greenwood Christian made program history with their first regional title after taking down North Central (Farmersburg), 74-65. The Lady Cougars will look to win a program-first semi-state title when they take on Loogootee next Saturday.
CAN ANYONE STOP NORTHWESTERN?
Coming into the weekend, a case could be made that the Marion regional was the most difficult to advance from in Class 4A. Three sectional champions in that group – Northwestern, Fishers and Homestead – each had a legitimate case that they could win the Class 4A title.
After Saturday night, Northwestern made it loud and clear that they are the team to beat in Class 4A. Northwestern dismantled Fishers – the team that knocked out last year’s state champion the week prior – 67-40 in the regional semifinal game. Hours later they tore apart a Homestead team that features a future Miss Basketball candidate, Ayanna Patterson, 72-35.
Led by future Big 10 players, Madison Layden and Kendall Bostic, Northwestern looks like they are leaps and bounds above the remaining teams competing in Class 4A. Lawrence North may be the best shot to take down last year’s Class 3A champions but based on recent results it may be a tough ask.
HAVING SENIORS MATTER COME TOURNAMENT TIME
A common thread found among most of Saturday’s regional champions – a team’s senior leadership is a critical factor between teams that advanced and teams that didn’t.
Take for example Lawrence North, who’s starting five consists of four seniors and a junior. Despite some inconsistent play in January and February, the Lady Wildcats continue to survive and advance thanks in large part to their senior-laden team. Kristian Young and Katie Davidson were critical to Lawrence North’s comeback over Brownsburg, scoring 43 of the team’s 58 points. Davidson scored the go-ahead bucket with just over 15 seconds left.
Much credit for Triton Central’s historical season goes to senior leaders Maya Chandler and Rylie Stephens. Chandler and Stephens have led the team in points this season, averaging 19 and 16.7 points per game, respectively.
Greenwood Christian is the rare example of a team that is successful in spite of their youth. Alexis Mead is the lone senior on the Lady Cougars, and she’s not even the team’s leading scorer. Greenwood Christian nevertheless continues to win with a roster that consists mostly of sophomores and juniors.