The tournament: Girls basketball sectional play starts today

The 2019 girls basketball sectional tournament commences today across Indiana.

Owls receive favorable draw

Seymour will open Class 4A Sectional 15 play Wednesday against the host school, New Albany, a team the Owls beat on a last-second shot Thursday.

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Makenna Fee’s runner in the lane proved the game-winner in a 67-65 win for the Owls (13-9).

Ashton Chase led the Owls with 19 points, Fee added 16 and Grace Meyer scored 14. Meyer and Fee also each pulled down 11 rebounds in the contest.

Alayasia Douglas and Ally Willis each scored 20 points to pace the Bulldogs (5-17).

Sectional 15 is one of the toughest for Class 4A. The teams have a combined record of 88-67 for a 56.8 winning percentage. That winning percentage is the ninth best of any sectional and second best for 4A behind Northridge 93-55 (62.8).

While the Owls received a favorable draw, coach Jason Longmeier isn’t looking past any opponent.

“We’ve had this happen two other times. In the past, we’ve won in the regular-season game and then turned around and not played so well in the sectional,” he said. “We have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball than what we did the first time we played (New Albany). We want to play fast but not out of control. In the fourth quarter, we played fast and were 9-for-12 from the field. We got better shots and were more patient.

“We also need to be better in our press. We let it really get spread. If we are going to be successful against them, when the ball is in certain people’s hands, we need to have solid press traps.”

Should the Owls advance, they will play the winner of the game between Jennings County (14-8) and Floyd Central (8-13) Friday in the semifinals.

The Owls fell to the Highlanders 55-35 on Nov. 20 and posted a 59-53 win over the Panthers on Dec. 4.

Jennings has won six straight games going into the sectional, including victories over Columbus East and Floyd.

The Highlanders have experienced an up-and-down season. Floyd’s biggest win of the campaign was against Bedford North Lawrence, a 36-26 stunner, on Jan. 14.

“I think all four teams in the bottom half of the draw feel (fortunate with the bracket),” Longmeier said. “Any of us four on any given day can beat one another. You need to take advantage of the draw. If we happen to get by New Albany, Jennings is playing really well right now, and Floyd has gotten a lot better. Floyd has already proven they can beat us. The good thing is we, on paper, have avoided the top-three teams in the sectional until the finals. We need to take advantage of that.”

If the Owls win the first two rounds, they will face a tough test in the finals.

In the upper bracket, North Harrison (17-6) awaits tonight’s winner between Jeffersonville (13-9) and Bedford North Lawrence (18-5).

The Owls lost to BNL 46-26 on Dec. 6, North Harrison 63-46 on Jan. 5 and Jeffersonville 73-51 on Jan. 15.

Last year, BNL won the sectional final 57-55 in double overtime against Jeffersonville. The Stars went on to take the regional by posting wins over Columbus East and Center Grove before falling to eventual state champion Warren Central in the semistate.

Seymour aims for the school’s 12th sectional title and first since the 2007-08 season.

“We’ve gotten better this year,” Longmeier said. “We still make too many mistakes, and we need to fix some of that. I think the draw re-energized us a little bit. We have been unfortunate at times with some really poor draws. This one really sets us up to compete.

“We’ve played with a lot of stress the past couple years in the tournament. This group has to play loose, carefree and fast. We’ve not been very successful in the tournament. At the end of the day, we can’t point to the draw if we don’t do well.”

Braves ready for tough test

In another one of the most competitive sectionals in Indiana, Brownstown Central plans on taking the draw one game at a time.

Class 3A Sectional 30’s six-team field has the third-best winning percentage of any sectional in the state. The teams have a combined record of 89-46 for a 65.9 winning percentage.

The Braves (14-8) will face the host, Charlestown (14-9), in the opening round tonight. On Jan. 5, the Braves topped the Pirates 47-44.

In that game, the teams were tied at 36 through three quarters before the Braves held the Pirates to eight points in the fourth quarter. Payton Farmer led the Braves with 12 points in the game.

The Braves won the rebounding battle 33-20 against the Pirates and finished with just eight turnovers.

“We’re going to have attack the basket,” Braves coach Karla Rieckers said. “Sometimes, we want to settle for passing the ball around the 3-point line. We can’t do that. We need to drive and attack. We need to also make sure we block out and rebound. It needs to be one shot and done.”

Samantha Matthews led the Pirates with 18 points against Brownstown. The 5-7 senior guard recently signed to play at the University of Tampa.

“(Matthews) is a really nice player for them,” Rieckers said. “We have to know where she is at and need to get her stopped. She can drive and shoot from outside. If we come out ready and do what we’re capable of doing, I like our chances.”

If the Braves advance, they will face Scottsburg (17-6) on Friday in the early game.

The Braves fell to the Warriorettes 58-56 in overtime Nov. 23 at home. The loss was the second of three straight overtime losses for the Braves in the middle of the season.

In that game, the Braves led by 10 points in the fourth quarter but saw their lead diminish. A 3-pointer by Kady Clancy with 23 seconds left ended up sending the game to extra minutes, where the Warriorettes held the Braves to five points.

“Scottsburg, we haven’t really talked about them yet with the girls. Right now, it’s one game at a time,” Rieckers said.

Katherine Benter had 17 points, Ashley Schroer added 14 and Halle Hehman scored 13 against the Warriorettes.

Jaylah Mays, a 5-6 junior, led the Warriorettes with 23 points.

“That game, Scottsburg came out in the fourth quarter and we gave up 18 points,” Rieckers said. “We can’t allow them to score that many points. In one stretch of that game, we were ahead by 10 or 12 points. I think we would need to play a complete game. That stretch during the season, I don’t think we did that.”

Class 3A No. 2 Salem (19-3), the outright Mid-Southern Conference champion of 2018-19, and Corydon Central (10-13) also face off tonight with the winner playing Silver Creek (15-7) in the semifinals.

Brownstown lost to Corydon 46-44 in its season-opener and Salem 48-40 on Dec. 4 and beat Silver Creek 52-40 on Dec. 13.

“I think our sectional has six tough teams in it,” Rieckers said. “I don’t think anyone is going to get an easy night. We have to be ready all three games.”

Brownstown aims for its sixth sectional title and first since the 2010-11 season.

Cougars, Tigers, Hornets vying for Sectional 62 title

All three of the Jackson County schools in the Class A Sectional 62 at Edinburgh were placed in the same bracket.

Trinity Lutheran (15-9) will face Crothersville (12-11) in the opening game tonight with the winner facing Medora (0-18) on Friday in the semifinals.

The second game tonight will match West Washington (14-9) and Edinburgh (8-13). Shawe Memorial (5-16) drew a bye and will face the West Washington-Edinburgh winner in the second game Friday.

Something is going to have to give tonight, as both the Tigers and Cougars come into the tournament on short losing streaks.

Trinity lost its final three regular season games, and Crothersville dropped its last two.

Trinity and Crothersville met on the Cougars’ floor Nov. 17 with the home team winning 62-47.

Savannah Harweger topped Trinity with 23 points, Sydney Jaynes scored 19 and Hannah Sabotin scored 16. Piper Hensley was high scorer for Tigers with 13, and Maddie Riley scored 13.

Trinity coach Mike Lang said the Cougars will have to be at the top of their game tonight.

“I’m the one that says you see the most upsets at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday,” Lang said. “The last time we played Crothersville at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday, they beat us in overtime. Crothersville has some weapons with Maddie Riley and Piper Hensley. Those two kids can fill it up, and if Piper gets on a roll shooting, she can drop 30 on you in a heartbeat, so we’ve got to do a good job defending and taking their scorers away in order to advance to the second round.”

Lang is hoping the Cougars, the reigning sectional champions, can bounce back from late-season losses.

“We kind of went backwards a little bit at Jennings County, but I saw things I liked at Jennings County,” Lang said. “I like any time we want to play from the inside out. If we get doubled down low, we’ve got to be able to step up from the outside and knock the shots down, but more importantly, we’ve got to own the boards and finish from the free throw line. If we do that, I think we’ll be all right.”

Tigers coach Kevin Hensley said the key for his team is turnovers.

“We need to take care of the ball better. We turned the ball over 25-plus times when we played (Trinity) the first time,” he said. “That was one of our early season games when we were still trying to find ourselves. That’s the main thing, take care of the basketball and rebounding. They have size on us, so we’ve got to box out and rebound. We’ve got to use our bodies and box out really well.”

Lang said Trinity will look to use its size to its advantage.

“The one thing we have is size, so we’re going to try to utilize our size throughout the sectional and see what we can do,” he said. “We also know they’re going to try to take our size away from us, and that’s why we always come back and say we want our defense to create offense.”

Hensley said the Tigers need to slow down Jaynes.

“We’ve got to make sure we protect ourselves inside,” Hensley said. “Jaynes likes to slide inside and shoot over girls with that height. We’ve got to limit their good looks at the rim.”

Medora coach Brad McCammon said the keys for his team Friday night will be working the ball for good shots and keeping turnovers to a minimum.

“What we’ve tried to work on all year long is try to get into our offensive sets a little earlier, be successful earlier and try to have a better transition game and obviously cut down the turnovers. We’ve had way too many turnovers during the season,” McCammon said.

“Rebounding is going to be a key against both Crothersville and Trinity because they get the ball out and push it pretty well,” he said. “In our half-court defense, we’ve got to close out shooters a lot better than we did, especially in the Crothersville game.”

The Hornets lost to the Tigers 74-32 at home on Jan. 14 and did not play Trinity this season.

Kailen Flynn scored 14 and Grace Cobb had 11 against the Tigers.

“We’ve just got to play more of a disciplined, half-court approach and take care of the basketball,” McCammon said. “When you go to the sectional, I always tell the kids it doesn’t matter what happened during the season. It’s totally a new season. You get a clean slate.

“I recall when I was in high school, Linton didn’t win a game the whole entire season and won the sectional,” he said. “In Indiana basketball, you’ve just got to go in with a positive attitude. You’ve got to play to your strengths and not worry about the other team’s strengths.”

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(Name, grade, scoring average)

Brownstown Central

Tayler Garland, senior, 6.6

Katherine Benter, sophomore, 11.3

Payton Farmer, senior, 5.0

Halle Hehman, junior, 10.4

Ashley Schroer, junior, 10.9


Ashton Chase, senior, 11.4

Aidan Hiester, junior, 5.3

Megan Ritz, senior, 1.5

Grace Meyer, sophomore, 11.3

Makenna Fee, senior, 11.3


Maddie Riley, senior, 9.9

Piper Hensley, senior, 14.9

Rebekah Cook, junior, 3.4

Makinzee Isley, junior, 6.8

Makayla Helt, junior, 5.9

Trinity Lutheran

Maddie Bell, senior, 2.3

Kailene Cockerham, freshman, 4.9

Savannah Harweger, senior, 13.0

Sydney Jaynes, sophomore, 15.2

Hannah Sabotin, junior, 10.1


Kailen Flynn, senior, 8.6

Gwyneth Morris, senior, 2.6

Kelsey Turner, junior, 4.5

Kenley King, sophomore, 2.3

Grace Cobb, senior, 5.5