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February 15, 2013

REGIONAL PREVIEW: New Wash ready for big regional challenge

Mustangs face Vincennes Rivet in 10 a.m. opener at West Washington on Saturay

CAMPBELLSBURG — New Washington junior Ashley Johnson didn’t take much time to celebrate the Mustangs’ first sectional championship since 2007.

Johnson’s mind was on bigger things, namely Saturday’s West Washington Regional.

“I’ve been thinking about it all week,” Johnson said. “It’s been on my mind since we won sectional. We’ve just got to stay focused. We don’t want to settle just for sectional."

“Everyone’s really excited,” junior center Caroline Ricks said. “The atmosphere is phenomenal. We couldn’t ask for a better fan base, a better school and a better community.”

The Mustangs are 20-2, have won 14 games in a row and 18 of their last 19, including the Southern Athletic Conference championship and their sixth sectional title in school history.The Mustangs are 20-2, have won 14 games in a row and 18 of their last 19, including the Southern Athletic Conference championship and their sixth sectional title in school history.On Saturday, New Wash will have to beat two really good teams. The Mustangs open with 19-4 Vincennes Rivet at 10 a.m. The Rivet program is 133-15 over the past six season and the Patriots have been to the state championship game three times in that period, including a state championship n 2010.

The 2012-13 Patriots are balanced.

“They’re very athletic and very basketball knowledgeable,” White evaluated. “They have a good outside and inside game. They’ll present some challenges, but they’re supposed to — it’s tournament time.”

“We know that they have great 3-point shooters,” Ricks said. “That’s what we’re prepared for. They have some good guards that like to drive. But we know we’re going to have to contain their shooters.”

With a win, New Wash would likely play 20-2 Northeast Duboios, which opens with 15-7 Trinity Lutheran in the second semifinal at Campbellsburg on Saturday. The Jeeps made a trip to the state finals a year ago, falling to Fort Wayne Canterbury 64-54 in the title game.

“I think it’s one of the more difficult [Class A] regionals,” White assessed. “It’s most unfortunate that some good teams are going to be eliminated because of this particular tournament.”

The Mustangs hope that in the end, Saturday was just one step in an unprecedented journey for the New Washington girls’ basketball program.

“Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win a state championship. That’s the ultimate goal,” White said. “In order to do that, you have to take it one game at a time. I think our players understand that. Hopefully they’re not satisfied just with winning the sectional championship. They would like to put a regional banner up there as well.”

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