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  • Val T.

Girls basketball draw: Rochester girls to face Knox for first time since 2002, Valley awaits winner

Caston gets West Central; Culver to play Marquette while Argos draws Westville; Pioneer gets bye


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

The Rochester girls basketball team has not met Knox since 2002, but that is about to change after the schools drew each other during the IHSAA draw that was released Sunday.

Among area schools, Tippecanoe Valley received a bye and could face either the Lady Zs or Lady Redskins in the semifinals.

Another matchup being revived after a 22-year hiatus will be the first-round matchup between Wabash and Winamac. Pioneer received a bye and will await the winner.

Also, Class 1A, No. 2 Caston drew West Central as they begin their quest for their first sectional title since 1985 while Culver drew a ranked opponent and Argos drew an opponent that they eliminated in last year’s sectional.

Sectionals will be held statewide from Jan. 30-Feb. 3. Tickets are $7 per session or $15 for an all-sectional ticket.

Regionals are Feb. 10, semistates are Feb. 17, and the state finals will be held at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Feb. 24.

The regional format has changed to where each game will be placed at a site that is closest for both teams involved regardless of class. Last year, sites hosted specific classes for the regional.

Caston and Winamac remain as regional host sites.

Rochester, Tippecanoe Valley

Rochester is hosting Class 3A, Sectional 18. The last time they hosted a sectional in 2016, they won the sectional.

Among common opponents, Rochester has a win over a team to which Knox lost (Kouts), but Rochester also has lost to a team that Knox beat (Winamac).

Rochester and Knox last met in a regular season game on Nov. 30, 2002. Rochester won 64-28 and would eventually go on to win 22 games and their Class 2A sectional that year.

They left Rochester’s regular season schedule the following season. Their Class 3A, Sectional 18 quarterfinal meeting at 8 p.m. Jan. 30 will be their first since that date.

Knox had four consecutive winning seasons from 2018-22 and also won three sectionals during that span under coach Neill Minix.

Knox slipped to 5-20 last season. Minix resigned as coach in July after being hired as the athletic director at the school.

James Adcock has taken over and guided the Lady Redskins to a 7-15 record this time. Portland Minix, who is Neill’s daughter, scored 26 points in the aforementioned win over Winamac.

Rochester has seemingly balanced the good and the bad. They are 10-10 and have scored and allowed the same number of points (741).

The Rochester-Knox winner will advance to play Tippecanoe Valley in the semifinals on Feb. 2.

Valley is the defending sectional champion, and like last year, they received a bye.

Valley has the best record of any team in the sectional at 16-3, and they are coming off wins over West Lafayette Friday night and Kokomo Saturday afternoon.

Valley is also 5-0 against other teams in the sectional, including a 42-16 win over Rochester on Nov. 21 and a 61-15 win over Knox on Jan. 4.

In the other half of the draw, John Glenn drew Bremen with the winner to face Culver Academy.

John Glenn defeated Bremen 47-43 on Nov. 21, and their rematch will occur at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30.

Culver Academy has won five straight games to improve to 12-7. They do not play John Glenn or Bremen during the regular season.

The sectional champion will play the Sectional 17 champion at Highland in the regional.

Caston

Already champions of the Cass County and Miami County Invitationals and the Hoosier North, the Lady Comets will seek to add a sectional title to their trophy case when they begin Sectional 52 play against West Central at South Newton at 8 p.m. Jan. 30.

This will be the first Caston-West Central game since a 47-24 Lady Comet win on Jan. 14, 2021. It will also be their first sectional meeting since West Central beat Caston 36-21 on Feb. 15, 2014, in the sectional final.

In fact, West Central has won all six sectional meetings between the teams in the class basketball era, also knocking out Caston in the 2001, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013 sectionals.

West Central has improved their offensive scoring average from 30.6 to 38.5 to 43.9 to 50.1 over the last four seasons, and they have improved from six wins last year to 11 wins so far this year, but they will face a Caston team that ranks No. 2 in the state in defensive scoring average.

The West Central-Caston winner will play South Newton (1-14), who received a bye, in the semifinals.

In the other half of the draw, Tri-County, who handed Caston their lone loss on Jan. 11, drew Frontier with the winner to meet North White.

Tri-County defeated Frontier 64-35 on Dec. 7 and North White 63-18 on Nov. 28. Tri-County is also the defending sectional champion.

The sectional champion will play the Sectional 51 champion at Lakewood Park in the regional.

Argos, Culver

Culver will host Class 1A, Sectional 50, and they drew No. 3 Marquette Catholic in a quarterfinal on Jan. 30.

This will be the teams’ first meeting since Culver beat Marquette Catholic 50-23 on Nov. 15, 2012. This will also be their first sectional meeting since a 58-32 Culver win on Feb. 11, 2004.

Marquette Catholic leads the state in defensive scoring average at 29.1 ppg. Their only losses are to Class 4A Hammond Central and Class 3A New Prairie. They are the only team in the sectional with a winning record.

The Marquette Catholic-Culver winner will meet Oregon-Davis (5-13), who received a bye, in the semifinals.

In the other half of the draw, Argos, the two-time defending sectional champion, will take on Westville in the second quarterfinal on Jan. 31. Argos beat Westville 48-45 in last year’s sectional semifinals.

Westville has lost five straight games to drop their record to 7-8 under coach John Marshall, who is back for a third stint as coach. Of their seven wins, one was against a Class 3A team (Boone Grove), and three others (Winamac, North Newton, Whiting) came against Class 2A competition.

Argos senior Samantha Redinger scored 17 of her 22 points in the second half in last year’s sectional game against Westville. Redinger leads the state in scoring this year at 32 ppg.

The Westville-Argos winner will meet the Triton-Trinity Greenlawn winner in the semifinals.

Triton beat Trinity Greenlawn 58-27 on Nov. 27 in their regular season meeting. Trinity Greenlawn is 0-6 against other teams in the sectional and has never won a postseason game in their history.

The sectional champion will play the Sectional 49 champion at Morgan Township in the regional.

Pioneer, Winamac

Wabash and Winamac will meet in a Class 2A, Sectional 36 quarterfinal at North Miami. The winner will play Pioneer, who received a bye in the semifinals.

Wabash and Winamac will be meeting for the first time since Wabash defeated Winamac 42-38 in a Class 2A sectional semifinal game in 2002.

This could be a matchup between strong guards Bryleigh Boggs and Kaitlynn Honeycutt of Wabash against Kandace Kroft and Maggie Smith of Winamac.

Common opponents include Rochester and Manchester. Wabash lost to Rochester while Winamac beat the Lady Zs. Also, Winamac lost to Manchester while Wabash split a pair of meeting with the Lady Squires.

Winamac is seeking its first sectional title since 2014. Wabash is seeking its first sectional title since their 2015 regional championship team.

Pioneer lost to Wabash 44-29 on Nov. 21. Pioneer and Winamac will meet in their Hoosier North game at Winamac on Tuesday.

In the other half of the draw, Lewis Cass will take on North Miami in a semifinal on Feb. 2. Lewis Cass is the only ranked team at No. 10 while North Miami is the two-time defending sectional champion.

The sectional champion will meet the Sectional 35 champion at Eastside in the regional.







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