INDIANAPOLIS | When the IHSAA announced the girls basketball sectional pairings on Sunday afternoon, South Central coach Rick Budka was more upset about the Satellites’ game draw than the opponent.
S.C. will play Sectional 51 favorite Oregon-Davis in the first round, but Budka wishes his team didn’t have to open the tournament’s first game.
“I think everyone knows in this sectional you’re going to have to go through Oregon-Davis,” Budka said. “They are the favorites. I think we can give them a very competitive game.”
The Times No. 10 Satellites will do some advanced scouting on the 14-2 Bobcats when the teams face off on Tuesday night.
“We have to learn what we can (on Tuesday), come back and prepare for the sectional,” Budka said, adding that guard play will be vital in both matchups. South Central is trying to advance out of the sectional for the first time since the 2004-05 team reached the final four.
In Sectional 49, Morgan Township hopes to win a third straight sectional title for the first time in school history, and the Times No. 9 Cherokees aren’t taking anything for granted.
“There are four teams in our sectional with double-digit wins,” coach Kevin Krieger said. “It’s going to be tough.
“There’s pressure to win the sectional every year. We have to execute, defend well and play three really good games to have a chance at a third straight title. There’s no added pressure because there is pressure every year. I think any coach would tell you that.”
Morgan Twp. isn’t looking past its first-round matchup against 21st Century, but a potential second-round matchup against Kouts could be the headline event of the sectional. When Kouts and Morgan Twp. met earlier this year, the Cherokees won on a buzzer beater.
“We have to win our first games first,” Krieger said, “but if it happens, a rematch would be fun to see.”
Entering a new sectional and a new class, Wheeler hopes to make some noise in its first season competing in the Class 3A Sectional 18. Bearcats coach Dustin Nelson believes it is a balanced sectional and nearly any team in the bracket could give Times No. 8 Kankakee Valley a scare.
“I think any time you make a shift from one sectional to another, there’s a little bit of a learning curve,” Nelson said. “You’re not only getting used to the teams that are in the sectional, but also the style of play.
“There are three things going into a sectional. Come sectional time, you want to be healthy, you want to be playing your best basketball and you want to have an idea of who it is you’re going to be playing in terms of who will control the tempo of the game. That’s about all you can hope for. This time of year, it’s all about being healthy, playing well and having a game plan as you go into your draw.”
In the 4A Sectional 2, Times No. 1 LaPorte knows despite a potential championship matchup with No. 4 Merrillville, it cannot overlook a first-round matchup against host Hobart.
“We felt like we’ve been prepared for every road game all year,” Slicers coach Skeeter Heath said. “(We’ve) got to understand they’re probably going to have a pretty good following on their side there and they’ll be playing in familiar surrounds. We’ll have to emphasize the two things I think have been most important to us all year, and that’s defense and rebounding. It will certainly be a good challenge for us.”
The LaPorte coach said the Slicers have to take the tournament one game at a time and continue to execute the game plan well.
“We’re going to worry about Hobart, and if we’re lucky enough to be Hobart, we’re going to worry about our second game,” Heath said. “If we’re lucky enough to win our second game, then we’re going to worry about Merrillville. We’ve had a really good year so far and hopefully we’ll just continue to get better.”