With just 16 teams left standing in the 34th Annual State Tournament Series, the Final Four fields have been set for Semi-State action to take place on Saturday at four locations around the state. The two-game Semi-States will be at Elkhart Central, Plymouth, Southport and Bedford North Lawrence, with all first games starting at 1:00 p.m. ET, and second games immediately after.
All teams still on their feet were state-ranked in the final ICGSA polls, except for 4A Pendleton Heights, who jumped over Fort Wayne South after South eliminated No. 6 Jay County early in the tournament at Sectional 6. Jay County was the highest-ranked team in the Sectional fields that fed into the Huntington North Regional, with No. 14 Lafayette Jeff the next highest-ranked team. Jeff fell to Pendleton Heights in the morning Regional game in a 60-59 thriller, and then the Arabians knocked off Fort Wayne South in the evening final. All the No. 1 ICGSA-ranked teams are still in the mix.
All fans without a vested interest are hoping for a Ben Davis v. South Bend Washington 4A final, pitting two nationally ranked teams against each other with two premier players in Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame) and Alex Bentley (right, Penn State) possibly going head to head on the biggest stage in the state. In the latest USA Today Super 25 rankings, Ben Davis is sitting in the top spot, while Washington is ranked fifth. In the ESPN Fab 50 Rankings, Washington holds the No. 1 ranking while Ben Davis is at the No. 2 spot. However, both teams will have to come ready to take care of business this Saturday against Mooresville and Pendleton Heights before they can even look ahead to what could be the most epic girls basketball state final in Indiana history. Photo from the Indianapolis Star.
Final Four Matchups
4A - No. 1 Ben Davis v. No. 7 Mooresville; No. 2 South Bend Washington v. Pendleton Heights
3A - No. 1 Benton Central v. No. 4 Fort Wayne Elmhurst; No. 6 Crawfordsville v. No. 10 Owen Valley
2A - No. 1 Heritage Christian v. No. 9 Austin; No. 2 Oak Hill v. No. 3 Garrett
1A - No. 1 Vincennes Rivet v. No. 6 University; No. 7 Fort Wayne Canterbury v. No. 11 Southern Wells
REGIONAL FIRST ROUND OVERTIME WINNERS ALL FALL IN FINALS
The one-day, two-game format of Regional games can certainly take a toll on personnel, and there is no more truth to this statement as proved by the outcomes of the finals games. In all three instances where games went to overtime in the early session, the teams that advanced from those overtime thrillers fell in the night games. Jeffersonville (right), who defeated Bloomington South 41-38 in overtime, lost to Mooresville by six points in the final at the 4A Bedford Regional. Turkey Run, who outlasted Lafayette Central Catholic 55-49 in overtime, fell to Southern Wells 41-34 in the 1A evening session at Tri-Central. And after Waldron advanced by a single point in a 53-52 double overtime nailbiter over Jac-Cen-Del, the Mohawks fell 12 points short in a 44-32 loss to University. Jeffersonville, though ousted by No. 7 Mooresville in the final, has much to look forward to in the coming years. Red Devils head coach Chad Gilbert, who started two freshmen and three sophomores, has nearly everyone back next season, including frosh post phenoms Jalynn McClain and Lakin Roland. McClain was outstanding on the day, with 21 points and 9 rebounds in the early game against Bloomington South and 25 points and 10 rebounds in the loss to Mooresville. Photo from the News & Tribune.
After compiling an 18-2 record heading into the tournament and not receiving a single vote in the 4A polls throughout the season, 4A Pendleton Heights just wanted a little respect. So they went out and got it themselves by winning their first-ever Regional title. The Arabians and head coach Shari Doud, now 23-2, advanced to the 4A Semi-State field with a 60-59 heart-stopping win over Lafayette Jeff in the early Regional round, and with a 10-point win over Fort Wayne South in the evening game on Saturday. Sophomore guard Hannah Douglas and senior forward Amanda Gaskin led the Arabians in the victories. Douglas tallied 18 points in the morning game and 21 points in the final, while Gaskin logged two double-doubles on the day with18 points and 10 rebounds against Jeff and 12 points and 13 rebounds in the final. But the team heroics award should probably be bestowed upon sophomore Kelsey Hubble (left), who scored the winning bucket at the four second mark (and all seven of her points in the last 1:20 of the final quarter) in the tightly-contested early game against Regional favorite Lafayette Jeff. The Arabians will face No. 2 South Bend Washington at Plymouth on Saturday. Photo from the Herald Bulletin.
THEY'RE NOT RIGHT ALL OF THE TIME, BUT THEY'RE CERTAINLY NOT WRONG ALL OF THE TIME
I've been somewhat amazed at some of the games that I've attended this season as to how much referees will allow players to backtalk and act out on calls they don't like. It seems like a lot more of this is taking place than it used to. Eye rolls, foot stomping and out-and-out verbal challenges are tolerated on a much more regular basis than they used to be. I know the emotions are running high at the end of the season and officials take this into account, but it seems to be getting out of hand. Refs are human and they don't always get it right, but for players to disagree with them on every call in an obvious and disrespectful way should not be tolerated. It may play well to the crowd, but it's disrespectful to the game. Refs shouldn't put up with it and neither should the coaches of these players. Called for a foul? Fouls are part of the game, whether deserved or not. The refs aren't going to change the call, so man up and move on.
Speaking about not always getting the calls right, West Side senior Aurielle Anderson (#15 at right) probably had one of the toughest high school career exits I've ever seen due to an official's call. The Cougars were in the last few minutes of what was a losing cause against Michigan City with no options left but to put the Wolves on the charity stripe. Anderson went to foul one of the Wolves and as the whistle was blown for the foul and in the process of the contact, Anderson felt that her opponent was going to tumble toward the sidelines and into the crowd. The 5'4 guard put an arm around her opponent's waist to help prevent her from falling and the ref near the play interpreted it as extraordinary physical contact. Anderson, who already had three fouls, was not only called for her fourth foul, but the ref saw fit to give her a technical as well, effectively ending her high school career. (Wouldn't an intentional foul call have sufficed?) A very tough way to go out for a pretty fantastic and classy little player who, by the way, reacted with absolutely no demonstrative actions on the call. Anderson provided what was probably the most spectacular scoring play of the day at Valpo. After pulling down a rebound in the trees (she led her team with 10 boards), the super quick guard went coast to coast, penetrated through three defenders and double pump-faked on a driving layup. The entire crowd was wowed and some guy in front of us was wondering out loud if she thought she "was trying out for UConn or something." Geno would have been impressed. Anderson is going to Western Michigan next fall and should make a smooth transition to the college game. She was twice as fast and more athletic than any player at the Valpo Regional (which is saying a lot considering the talent there on Saturday), and can literally jump higher than her waist, which explains her rebounding abilities against taller players. A good passer with a calm floor demeanor, Anderson could be the most successful player at the D-I level from the NWI Class of 2009. Time will tell. (BTW, we missed the boat on Anderson, who should have been one of our Super Seven Seniors.) Photo from the Post-Tribune.
IHSAA FACING HOUSE BILL THAT WOULD TRANSFER CONTROL OF ATHLETICS TO DEPT OF ED
In a new development growing out of the Jasmine Watson IHSAA transfer case, a bill in the House is being introduced by a South Bend state representative to put the jurisdiction of high school athletics in the hands of the Department of Education. Under House Bill 1733, the division of interscholastic athletics would be governed by a nine-member board of directors appointed by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction. If the bill, which is now in the introduction stage, advances to the full House and becomes state law, the IHSAA would would lose control of high school athletics on July 1.
THREE-CLASS PROPOSAL PASSED OVER BY IHSAA
The three-class proposal brought before the IHSAA by the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (IIAAA) will not be presented to the IHSAA Executive Board for a discussion and vote. In a survey of high school principals, only 138 of the 326 principals (42%) favored the new three-class proposal. The proposal would have kept sectional travel to a minimum and reprised the four-team, two-game format at the semi-state level for both girls and boys basketball.