By GREG MENGELT
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Sunday’s IHSAA girls’ basketball sectional draw produced some interesting area first-round matches, some potential compelling semifinals and a potentially exciting championship game at Scottsburg.
It also gave some area teams that may not have been expected to get to their respective championship games a chance to do so.
Starting in Class 4A at New Albany, Jeffersonville (6-13) and Floyd Central (10-9) will meet in the tournament’s opening round. Jeff beat the Highlanders at home on Dec. 18, 56-45. That was awhile ago and the Red Devils have lost eight of their last nine. Plus, this time it’s on a neutral court, so it should be interesting to see what happens.
The winner will face 7-11 Jennings County in the first semifinal. Floyd lost to the Panthers a week ago today (51-41) and the Red Devils fell at Jennings in overtime on Nov. 23 (46-41).
The host Bulldogs (9-10) weren’t so fortunate. They drew second-ranked Bedford North Lawrence in next Tuesday’s second quarterfinal. The Stars beat New Albany 63-28 on Dec. 1. With the Bulldogs’ injuries, it’s hard to imagine them stopping BNL from advancing.
The Class 3A sectional at Scottsburg could be the most interesting and definitely has the most contenders. After rivals Corydon (15-5) and North Harrison (6-12) meet next Tuesday, Silver Creek (14-6) and Charlestown (9-9) will meet for the third time this season in the second quarterfinal on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Silver Creek has beaten the Pirates twice this season. Both games came down to the final play with the Dragons winning each by a point. The winner will likely face host Scottsburg (12-7) — a very slight sectional favorite — in the second semifinal on Friday, Feb. 8.
The Warriorettes, who literally limped in having lost three of their last five and one of their top players, beat up on Charlestown on Dec. 1, 84-46. However, there’s no doubt the teams have gone in different directions since then. Silver Creek upset the Warriorettes 45-41 on Saturday.
Either Corydon, North Harrison or Brownstown Central (8-8) will face either Silver Creek, Charlestown or the hosts in the title game. It seems it could be any combination in the championship and six of the sectional’s seven teams (sans Salem) have a legitimate chance to win the crown.
Host Paoli (16-1) is a huge favorite to win its Class 2A sectional. The Rams will open with Clarksville (4-16) in next Tuesday’s first quarterfinal and would face Providence (10-9) in the first semifinal with a victory. The Rams haven’t played either Clarksville team, but they would be a heavy favorite against both.
Henryville (11-9) will face winless Crawford County (0-20) in next Tuesday’s second game. The Hornets and Wolfpack will first meet on Thursday in both teams’ regular-season finale. With a win, Henryville would face Eastern (9-11) in the second semifinal on Feb. 8, giving the Hornets and Musketeers a better-than-expected shot at reaching the championship.
The Class A New Washington Sectional could be decided on the opening day. After Christian Academy (4-12) and South Central (6-13) will battle in next Tuesday’s first quarterfinal, favorite New Washington (16-2) hosts two-time defending sectional champion Borden (11-6) in the second game of the night.
The Mustangs held off Borden 49-46 in a hard-fought contest on Nov. 27. The Braves have won four straight; the eighth-ranked Mustangs have won 10 in a row and are unbeaten in 2013.
Lanesville (10-8) will face either CAI or South Central in the first semifinal on Feb. 8, while winless Rock Creek (0-18) gets the unenviable task of taking on either the Mustangs or Braves in the second semifinal.
The Class A sectional will likely be decided between New Wash or Borden against either South Central or Lanesville on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Don’t forget, there are still a handful of regular-season games left before next week’s sectionals. Here’s a look at some of the best matchups for Tuesday — the next-to-last big day of the 2012-13 regular season:
GAMES TO WATCH — TUESDAY
GAME OF THE WEEK
NEW WASHINGTON AT NEW ALBANY
• Time: 7:30 p.m.
• Records: New Washington 16-2; New Albany 9-10.
• Rankings: New Washington — Class A No. 9.
• Series last 10 years: New Albany 4-0.
• Last year: New Albany 69, at New Washington 50.
• Analysis: We’re still awaiting news on Tanner Marcum’s ankle injury. We still don’t know whether Brianna Nixon will play tonight — if at all the rest of the season. Either way, New Washington has an excellent chance to beat New Albany for the first time, following up a rare win over Jeffersonville on Jan. 10. This is a Mustangs team that — if it can beat New Albany — may not lose again for a long, long time. They’ll be huge favorites in their own Class A sectional next week.
• Greg’s Pick: New Washington 55, New Albany 51.
COLUMBUS EAST AT FLOYD CENTRAL
• Time: 7:30 p.m.
• Records: Columbus East 9-9 (3-3 HHC); Floyd Central 10-9 (1-5).
• Last year: At Columbus East 80, Floyd Central 71 (OT).
• Series last 10 years: Columbus East 8-2.
• Analysis: Both teams had higher expectations than fighting for a .500 season. After beating Seymour in their HHC opener, the Highlanders have lost five straight conference games. It would be big to end on a high note over a solid East squad.
• Greg’s Pick: Floyd Central 60, Columbus East 55.
CHARLESTOWN AT NORTH HARRISON
• Time: 7:30 p.m.
• Records: Charlestown 9-9 (4-4 MSC); North Harrison 6-12 (2-5).
• Last year: North Harrison 60, at Charlestown 49.
• Series last 10 years: North Harrison 11-1.
• Analysis: Behind a sizzling Kaitlynn Henning, Charlestown has won six of its last seven and the loss was a close one at New Albany. After close losses to Brownstown and Corydon, it appears the Cats are better than their record, as well. The series has been tough on the Pirates, but they’ll get it done on Tuesday — even on the road.
• Greg’s Pick: Charlestown 59, North Harrison 49.
CLARKSVILLE AT BORDEN
• Time: 7:30 p.m.
• Records: Clarksville 4-16; Borden 11-6.
• Last year: Borden 60, at Clarksville 23.
• Series last 10 years: Tied 5-5.
• Analysis: A trademark of a Terry Rademacher-coached team, Borden appears to be peaking at the right time. The Braves have won four straight and suddenly look dangerous in their quest for a third straight sectional title.
• Greg’s Pick: Borden 57, Clarksville 33.
LANESVILLE AT PROVIDENCE
• Time: 7:30 p.m.
• Records: Lanesville 10-8; Providence 10-9.
• Last year: Providence 68, at Lanesville 28.
• Series last 10 years: Lanesville 7-5.
• Analysis: With Providence and potentially Paoli on the horizon, this is a vital game in Providence’s quest for its first winning season in 10 years.
• Greg’s Pick: Providence 48, Lanesville 35.
MADISON SHAWE AT HENRYVIILLE
• Time: 7 p.m.
• Records: Shawe 4-14; Henryville 11-9.
• Last year: Henryville 44, at Shawe 26.
• Series last 10 years: Shawe 10-8.
• Analysis: Henryville appears to be on its way to at least a 14-win season.
• Greg’s Pick: Henryville 47, Shawe 35.
ORLEANS AT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
• Time: 7:30 p.m.
• Records: Orleans 11-7; Christian Academy 4-12.
• Last year: At Orleans 32, Christian Academy 31.
• Series last 10 years: Orleans 9-4.
• Analysis: With some luck, Mike Baird’s interim season could end with five or six victories. Even at home, this will be a tough one.
• Greg’s Pick: Orleans 44, Christian Academy 37.
GIRLS’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kaitlynn Henning, Charlestown
The Charlestown sophomore followed her best week of the season with a 27-point performance in Thursday’s 65-30 win over rival Clarksville. She knocked down five 3-pointers in the Pirates’ sixth win in seven games.
Last Week’s Stars
• Alex Tinsley, Silver Creek: 11 points in Wednesday’s 57-40 win over South Central; 20 points, 15 rebounds in Saturday’s 45-41 win over Scottsburg.
• Carson Casey, Borden: 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting and 4-of-4 free throws in Saturday’s 66-40 SAC win over South Central.
• Tanner Marcum, New Albany: Team-high 16 points in 50-36 loss to Seymour on Thursday; 21 points in Saturday’s 57-41 loss to Evansville Bosse before sustaining an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.
• Caroline Ricks, New Washington: eight points, 16 rebounds in last Thursday’s SAC-clinching 52-28 triumph over Lanesville.
• Krista Roberts, Eastern: Team-high 15 points in the Musketeers’ 41-35 win over Henryville.
• Brooke Hinton, Floyd Central: Scored eight of her 10 points in the crucial fourth quarter of a 45-42 win over Providence on Thursday.
• Meredith Endris, Providence: 20 points, including four 3-pointers, in the Pioneers’ 45-42 loss to Floyd Central on Thursday.
GIRLS’ POWER POLL
Team Record Last
1. New Washington 16-2 1
2. Silver Creek 14-6 2
3. Charlestown 9-9 4
4. Borden 11-6 5
5. New Albany 9-10 3
6. Jeffersonville 6-13 6
7. Floyd Central 10-9 7
8. Henryville 11-9 8
9. Providence 10-9 9
10. Clarksville 4-16 10