Rochester draws Pioneer in Class 2A sectional quarterfinal
Valley gets NorthWood, Caston gets Frontier, Argos to play Trinity Greenlawn; Culver gets Triton, Winamac
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Pioneer girls basketball team’s first game in the Class 2A state tournament will be against two-time defending sectional champion Rochester, according to the IHSAA draw which was released Sunday.
No area teams received a bye.
Pioneer, the 2021 Class 1A state champion who was bumped up a class per the IHSAA Success Factor, will face Rochester in a Sectional 37 quarterfinal at Lewis Cass at 7 p.m. Feb. 1.
Rochester (15-7) has improved its defensive scoring average from 47.3 last year to 39.9 this year. However, Pioneer point guard and state leading scorer Ashlynn Brooke, who averages 25.7 ppg and who made 12 3-pointers in a game against Peru Thursday, could test that improved defense along with Hailey Cripe, who is averaging 18.7 ppg and who has scored a school-record 1,592 career points.
The Pioneer-Rochester winner will meet Wabash, who received a bye, in the semifinals. Rochester beat Wabash 55-39 on Dec. 11. Pioneer does not play Wabash during the regular season.
In the other half of the draw, the Manchester-Carroll (Flora) winner will meet the Delphi-Lewis Cass winner in the semifinals.
Manchester eliminated Carroll in last year’s sectional quarterfinals, and an attempt at avenging that loss will have to happen without Carroll sophomore point guard Alli Harness, who is No. 2 in the state behind Brooke at 24.8 ppg but who is out with two broken wrists.
Carroll handled Manchester 63-38 on Dec. 11 in their regular season meeting.
Lewis Cass defeated Delphi 40-26 in their regular season meeting on Dec. 14.
Valley lost to NorthWood in the sectional each of the last two years but will look to reverse that trend when they meet in a Class 3A, Sectional 20 quarterfinal at NorthWood on Feb. 1.
The Valley-NorthWood winner will meet Wawasee, who received a bye, in the semifinals.
Valley has won four straight games and 14 of 16 games since an 0-4 start. Their 14-6 record is the best of any team in the sectional.
They are also 3-0 against other sectional opponents, including a 46-33 win over NorthWood on Jan. 11.
Wawasee is also 3-0 against other sectional opponents. Valley hosts Wawasee tonight in their regular season meeting.
Valley has never beaten NorthWood twice in the same season. They ousted NorthWood in the 2015 and 2017 sectionals after losing during the regular season to the Lady Panthers both times.
In the other half of the draw in the five-team field, Lakeland will meet West Noble. Lakeland has already beaten West Noble twice this season.
The Lady Comets, who were tied for No. 12 in the most recent Class 1A coaches poll from last week, drew Frontier in a Class 1A, Sectional 52 quarterfinal at North White on Feb. 1.
That game will be a rematch of a Jan. 14 game at Caston that the Lady Comets won 59-30. Again, Caston will try to contain Frontier sharpshooter Emma Blissett, who scored her 1,000th career point last week.
The Caston-Frontier winner will play Tri-County, who received a bye, in the semifinals. Caston beat Tri-County 57-24 on Jan. 15 in their regular season meeting.
In the other half of the draw in the five-team bracket, North White will play South Newton in a semifinal. North White beat South Newton 51-4 on Jan. 15 in their most recent meeting.
Caston’s only loss to another Class 1A team was a 42-29 loss at North White on Nov. 12. North White is 8-0 against other Class 1A teams.
North White was the team tied with Caston at No. 12 in the most recent coaches poll last week.
Caston has not won a girls basketball sectional since 1985.
Trinity Greenlawn is a new IHSAA member, and their first ever postseason game will be against Argos in a Class 1A, Sectional 50 quarterfinal at Culver on Feb. 2.
The game is a rematch of a Nov. 19 game that Argos won 49-22 when they met in Hoosier Plains play.
The Trinity Greenlawn-Argos winner will face the Triton-Culver winner in the semifinals.
Culver lost to Triton 71-34 on Jan. 14 in their Hoosier North meeting. Triton has won the last eight meetings against Culver and has not lost to the Lady Cavaliers since a Bi-County Tournament semifinal on Jan. 22, 2015.
In the other half of the draw, LaCrosse drew Oregon-Davis, and the winner will play West Central in the semifinals. LaCrosse is 13-6 and already has wins over Oregon-Davis and West Central during the regular season.
The Lady Warriors won a pair of games against Plymouth and North Judson last week and will try to extend that momentum against Pioneer and Twin Lakes this week to close out the regular season.
Following that, Winamac will have to face sectional host Rensselaer in a Class 2A, Sectional 34 quarterfinal on Feb. 1.
The game will be a rematch of a Dec. 2 game at Rensselaer in which the Lady Bombers won 62-31. Rensselaer was ranked No. 13 in the most recent Class 2A coaches poll last week.
The Rensselaer-Winamac winner will face the Boone Grove-Hebron winner in the semifinals.
In the other half of the draw, North Newton will meet Westville, and North Judson will square off with South Central (Union Mills).
North Judson is the defending regional champion, and they defeated South Central in the sectional semifinals during their tournament run last year.
But South Central is 22-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class 2A under first-year coach Ben Anderson this year, and they handled North Judson 60-32 on Dec. 11 in their regular season meeting.
South Central has already won the Valparaiso holiday tournament and the Porter County Conference tournaments this season.
Sectionals will be held statewide Feb. 1-5. Regionals are Feb. 12, semistates are Feb. 19 at LaPorte and Logansport, and the state finals will be held Feb. 26 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Sectional tickets are $6 per session or $10 for an all-sectional ticket.