Girls’ sectional brackets released: Clinton Central, Rossville begin postseason action next week
BY JIMMY GILLISPIE email@example.com
This week’s winter weather has already canceled games on Tuesday night and might impact practice schedules for the four Clinton County girls’ basketball teams as they prepare for next week’s sectional tournaments.
On Sunday, the sectional pairings were announced and the two county teams with the best records came out of the selection show with first-round byes. The other two squads will open play next Tuesday night.
Here’s a look at the three sectionals.
The Clinton Central squad will face a South Vermillion team with the same amount of wins. CC and SV will play at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Southmont, following the opening game between Riverton Parke and Southmont, which starts at 6 p.m.
“There are some very good teams in our sectional,” CC head coach Kyle Etherinton said. “I was impressed with Fountain Central the other night. Seeger has to be the favorite. They have a fantastic group of role players and some stars. In the middle, you have Southmont and Riverton Parke, who have had good seasons so far. Then you have South Vermillion and us.”
Central is currently 3-15, while South Vermillion is 3-13. Both teams played Seeger and Fountain Central, who have the two first-round byes in the Class 2A Sectional 38. The semifinal games will be played on Feb. 14.
“South Vermillion is very similar to us as far as records go,” Etherinton said. “Tim Terry has been there 34 years I think. He basically is South Vermillion girls’ basketball. His teams are always prepared, even if the records don’t always show it. You don’t get to almost 300 wins if you’re not doing something right. I’m looking forward to going up against them. These are the type of matchups you look forward to. Growing up in Indiana, the mystique of the state tournament, being a part of that is something I’m looking forward to.
“I think it’s going to be a very close game,” he added. “I think all bets are off because it’s the state tournament and anything can happen.”
Heading into next week’s sectional, Etherington said his team has to improve on its defense and ball handling. Those will be two keys to advancing in the Bulldogs’ sectional.
“I think every team is going to have to take care of the ball,” Etherinton said. “We have a lot of teams in the sectional that like to put pressure on the basketball and get up and down the floor. For us, I think we have to take care of the ball and make each possession count. The second thing is cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason. Defense is going to win the championship. We’ve got to pick up our defensive intensity for the entire game.”
Clinton Prairie and Rossville will be playing in the Class A Sectional 54 in Rossville. It’s a six-team sectional where all six teams are familiar with each other as four of them are Hoosier Heartland Conference foes.
The first round games, beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, will feature Tri-Central (8-9) and host school Rossville (1-16) in the first game, followed by Carroll (12-4) and Frontier (5-11) playing the second game of the night.
“When you look at it, I think it’s a very balanced sectional,” CP head coach Jason Haid said. “It’s a sectional that’s up for grabs with quite a few teams playing pretty well right now. Anybody can beat anybody. That’s the first thing that jumps out of my mind.”
CP (12-5) will play the winner of the TC-Rossville game and Faith Christian (2-14) will play the Carroll-Frontier winner. The semifinal games will start at 6 p.m. Feb. 14. CP has beaten the other five teams in the sectional, but three of those are by a combined 10 points.
“We had close games with Carroll, Tri-Central and Frontier,” Haid said. “The teams are pretty familiar with each other so it should be very competitive.”
Prairie is scheduled to play at West Lafayette and Rossville is scheduled to play Sheridan at home on Thursday night. Heading into next week’s sectional, Haid knows his Gophers must improve in a couple of areas if they want to win the tournament.
“We are going to have to play physical,” Haid said. “It’s going to be a matter of ball security and shot selection. We just have to execute, because it’s one and done and you have to make sure that you’re focused.”
Western Boone sectional
Frankfort’s girls’ basketball team joins four other Sagamore Athletic Conference squads at the Western Boone sectional. The Hot Dogs received a bye for Tuesday’s first-round game so their first contest will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14.
Lebanon (15-4) will play North Montgomery (1-18) in the only game Tuesday night. The game will start at 7 p.m. at WeBo. Frankfort will play the winner of that game in the semifinal. The other semifinal game will feature Crawfordsville (10-7) and WeBo (14-5) and that will start at 6 p.m.
“It’s a good draw in the sense that we only have to win two games in order to win the sectional and not win three,” Frankfort head coach Andy Ross said. “Anytime you have the shorter bracket, that’s a good thing. Obviously, playing the winner of Lebanon and North Montgomery, will be a challenge but our sectional is pretty good anyway. It didn’t matter who you played. You’re going to have to end up beat a very good basketball team. We knew that and are expecting that.”
“I’m sure no one is going to completely change what they’re doing,” he added. “We have a pretty good idea of what to expect and what we need to do better.”
Frankfort beat NM 80-67 on Dec. 7 but lost to Lebanon 69-48 on Jan. 10. Both games were at home. The Hot Dogs have also recently lost to Crawfordsville and WeBo.
“If we play Lebanon, we know things we need to tweak and improve on in order to not just play well for three quarters against them, but be able to play well for four quarters,” Ross said. “If it turns out to be North Montgomery, we know some things that gave them problems last time we played them. Hopefully we’ve gotten better, because that game was a little while ago.”