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January 29, 2013

GREG'S PICKS: Draw produces some interesting sectional matchups

New Albany gets tough draw, as it will play No. 2 BNL in first round

> 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:

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