- Val T.
Girls basketball draw: Caston, Pioneer to meet for 3rd time in sectional
Lady Zs draw Wabash; Valley receives bye; Winamac to face Frasure, Judson again; Argos gets bye, could face Culver in semis
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Pioneer girls basketball team’s bid for another run to the Class 1A state championship game will begin with a game with their upstart rival from Caston.
That was among the revelations from the IHSAA draw, which was held Sunday night.
Tippecanoe Valley and Argos were area teams that received byes. Rochester drew a team that they have already beaten while Winamac will play a team against whom they lost last week. Culver will play an opponent twice in a five-day span.
Pioneer, ranked No. 6 in Class 1A, will play Caston at 6 p.m. Feb. 2 in a Class 1A, Sectional 52 quarterfinal at Tri-County.
Pioneer is the defending semistate champion and the two-time defending sectional champion.
Pioneer beat Caston 49-32 at Logansport in the first round of the Cass County Invitational on Dec. 2 and beat them again 60-45 at Caston in their Hoosier North meeting on Dec. 15.
Pioneer also beat Caston 64-20 in last year’s sectional final and has won the last eight meetings in the series.
Caston has not beaten Pioneer since Dec. 13, 2016, but Pioneer came back to avenge that defeat in the sectional semifinals that season.
The last time Caston and Pioneer met three times in a season was the 2016-17 season, when Pioneer won two of the three. That included a 33-25 Pioneer win in the sectional semifinals.
In 2013-14, Caston beat Pioneer three times, including a 40-26 win in the sectional.
Caston already has 14 wins, which is their most since the 2013-14 team also won 14 games. No Caston team has won more than 14 games in the 21st century, but they have a chance to add to that total in their final two regular season games against Class 2A, No. 9 Carroll (Flora) Tuesday and LaVille Thursday.
Caston has not won a sectional title since 1985.
The Caston-Pioneer winner will play Frontier in the semifinals. Both Caston and Pioneer have wins during the regular season over Frontier.
In the other half of the bracket, Tri-County drew No. 15 North White with the winner to meet South Newton in the semifinals. North White is 4-0 against other teams in the sectional, including wins over Caston, Pioneer, Tri-County and South Newton.
North White plays Frontier on Thursday in their regular season finale.
Rochester will begin defense of their Class 2A, Sectional 37 title when they Wabash at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at Manchester.
The game is a rematch of a Dec. 12 game in which the Lady Zs prevailed 45-43.
The winner of the Rochester-Wabash game will play Delphi in the semifinals. At 3-9, Delphi has played the fewest games and had the worst record of any team in the sectional. Delphi did not play a game from Nov. 24-Jan. 5.
Rochester knocked Delphi out of the 2020 sectionals.
Elsewhere in the bracket, Manchester will play No. 9 Carroll (Flora) in the quarterfinals. The Lady Squires are coming off a 39-37 win over Rochester on Saturday. Carroll is 17-3, a five-win improvement already from last year. The Manchester-Carroll winner will play Lewis Cass, who received a bye, in the semifinals.
Valley will wait until 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 to begin play in Class 3A, Sectional 20 at Wawasee. They will play the winner of the NorthWood-Wawasee game, which will be played at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2.
Wawasee beat NorthWood 44-39 in their regular season meeting at the Hardwood Teepee on Jan. 9.
NorthWood won the Class 3A state title last season but are languishing at 1-13 so far this season. One of their 13 losses was a 57-52 defeat to Valley on Jan. 12.
Valley travels to Wawasee for their regular season meeting on Tuesday.
Valley lost to NorthWood 48-39 in last year’s sectional quarterfinal. They also lost to Wawasee in their most recent postseason meeting, dropping a 40-39 heartbreaker at Fairfield in the 2018 sectional semifinals.
Valley is seeking their first sectional title since the Anne Secrest, Meredith Brouyette and Hannah Dunn-led Lady Vikings won three straight sectionals from 2015-17.
In the other half of the draw, Central Noble will meet Lakeland at 6 p.m. Feb. 2, and the winner will play West Noble in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Feb. 5.
West Noble already has wins over Central Noble and Lakeland.
In the bottom half of the Class 1A, Sectional 50 bracket, Culver will play West Central at 8 p.m. Eastern on Feb. 2 at Oregon-Davis with the winner to play Argos in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Feb. 5.
The Culver-West Central matchup will be the second in five days between the teams. West Central will travel to Culver for their regular season meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Culver and West Central also played twice in a five-day span last year, and Culver won both, including a 43-22 win on its home floor in the sectional.
Culver has won the last four meetings with West Central.
Argos beat Culver 41-26 in their Bell game meeting at Culver on Jan. 11.
Argos and West Central are not scheduled to play during the regular season. Argos has won the last four meetings against West Central and has not lost to the Lady Trojans since Jan. 2, 2015.
Argos’ Bi-County championship game against Triton Saturday and regular season games this week against Lakeland Christian and Triton have been canceled.
So by the time Argos hits the court on Feb. 5, it will be their first game in 16 days.
In the other half of the bracket, Oregon-Davis will play Triton with the winner to play LaCrosse.
Triton beat O-D 57-51 on Wednesday in their Bi-County semifinal matchup.
LaCrosse is 3-15 and averaging 33 points per game. They lost to O-D 73-36 on Jan. 4 but did not play Triton.
Triton was not able to play in the Bi-County Tournament championship game one day after beating Oregon-Davis.
Oregon-Davis is the defending sectional champion and has won 11 sectional titles in the last 14 years under coach Terry Minix.
Three days after North Judson’s Lilliann Frasure hit 12 3-pointers and scored 50 points against Winamac, the Lady Warriors found they will play Frasure and the Lady Jays again in a Class 2A, Sectional 34 quarterfinal at Judson on Feb. 3.
At 13-5, North Judson has the best winning percentage of any team in the sectional. North Judson is also 3-0 against other teams in the sectional.
North Judson also eliminated Winamac in the sectional in each of the last three years.
Winamac’s most recent sectional title came in 2014, and their 57-47 win over North Judson in the sectional final that year was their most recent postseason win over the Lady Jays. Winamac also knocked North Judson out of the sectional in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012.
The North Judson-Winamac winner will meet the North Newton-South Central (Union Mills) winner in the semifinals. South Central is the defending sectional champion, and at 14-7, they have the best record of any team in the sectional.
In the other half of the draw, Westville will play Hebron in one quarterfinal and Boone Grove will play Rensselaer in the other.