Adams Central Jets 8-12 2A 36
The Jets are definitely not the title threats from the past couple seasons. However, when you look at the sectional as a whole, is there really a clear cut favorite in 2A 36? I would say no. Every team in this field has a weakness that can hinder their ability to win sectionals whether it’s on offense or defense. Plus, when analyzing this Jets team, this is a team that still has a lot of athleticism and size, and you know the typical Doug Curtis team is going to execute a solid matchup zone defense with some physicality to the postseason recipe.
Player to watch: Marissa Van de Weg
Prairie Heights 11-10 2A 35
With the talented trio of Kennedy Kugler, Alayna Boots, and Trevyn Terry plus a strong defense, Prairie Heights is not a team to sleep on this postseason. While their shooting numbers are less than stellar, they make up for it by their strong defensive game, a good point guard in Boots, and a tall, athletic frontcourt (mainly Kugler and Terry) that makes box-outs a complete pain. They also got some luck in the draw as they don’t play Fairfield until the sectional finals if these two would meet. Yes, the Bremen matchup isn’t particularly the easiest of draws. But I wouldn’t think anything different for Bremen. If Heights can get past this matchup, the door is open to make it back to Saturday’s championship game with likely Fairfield.
Player to watch: Alex German/Caylee Bachelor
Fremont 6-15 1A 51
Yes, Fremont is definitely not a team you expected to be on here, but let’s put it straight. Outside of Blackhawk Christian and maybe Bethany Christian, no one in this sectional is that great. Lakewood Park also doesn’t have a great draw after Elkhart Christian with Blackhawk drawing a bye. The winner of Fremont’s game with Bethany pretty much (barring a situation with sickness) takes you to the sectional title game.
Jada Rhonehouse is the one that keeps Fremont in this sectional conversation because she’s capable of dropping 20-25 and grabbing over a dozen boards. It will however come down to how the young supporting players on the roster perform against an improving Bethany team. Fremont comes in losers of their last 7 games, while Bethany since the return of Mariah Stoltzfus are 6-2 at the time I’m writing this post. Now, I would do Bethany instead of Fremont, but Bethany isn’t considered a 260-area school.
Player to watch: Addy Parr
Lakeland Lakers 11-11 3A 21
This sectional in 3A 21 is a complete mess. Basically any team can really win this sectional. While Wawasee and Tippy Valley may have the best shot to do it, Lakeland does have some talent and experience from last year to take that into consideration. What does hurt Lakeland’s chances is the season-ending ACL injury for Faith Riehl (their leading scorer), but they do have some talent in Peyton Hartsough, Kayla Poole, and Alivia Rasler. Plus, you add Hayden Frost and Grace Iddings on the roster, and it’s a decent team.
Lakeland also drew a semifinal matchup with West Noble. So both teams have a 50-50 shot of a sectional title game appearance, plus this will be their third meeting this season.
Player to Watch: Alivia Rasler
Bishop Dwenger Saints 11-13 3A 22
You knew a SAC team was going to be on this list, and no SAC team fits this title better than Dwenger. The Saints not only avoided the 3-headed monster of Angola, Garrett, and Woodlan, but they also drew a bye. Therefore, they’ll wait for the two worst teams in that sectional to battle each other: Concordia (weird to say that) and Leo (still weird to say that).
However, what makes it interesting here is Dwenger’s 2 wins against the Cadets and Lions came in dramatic fashion. The 58-57 win over Concordia came at the FT line with no time remaining on the road. The 83-78 win over Leo had to go to three overtime periods (the longest game of the season) with Lexi Linder dropping 44 in a crazy game. In other words, these Saints don’t make things easy on themselves, but I would rather be in Dwenger’s position than Angola’s with Woodlan and Garrett.
As long as Dwenger can get to Saturday, anything can happen. Yes, Garrett is the favorite, but that’s why you play the games. After all, Bishop Dwenger does have a knack for good playoff performances.
Player to watch: Lexi Linder