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BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Dragons begin quest for state title against familiar foe

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Silver Creek senior Marissa Gasaway battles for a rebound during the Dragons’ 58-56 win at Salem earlier this season. Class 3A No. 1 Creek could face the No. 2 Lions in the Madison Sectional final.

The Silver Creek girls’ basketball team has state-title aspirations this season.

Rightfully so. The Dragons enter this final week of the regular season with an 18-3 record and ranked No. 1 in Class 3A.

However before Creek can play in the 3A state final, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. Feb. 27 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, it must first make it through the sectional, regional and semistate rounds of the IHSAA State Tournament.

The Dragons can take their first steps toward Bankers next week in the 3A Madison Sectional. They found out Sunday night, when the IHSAA released pairings for all sectionals across the state, who they’ll have to go through to claim their first sectional title since 2011.

Silver Creek will begin its quest for a state championship next Wednesday, when it faces a very familiar foe, Charlestown, in a first-round game. The Dragons visit the Pirates at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night in their regular-season finale before the two face off one week later in the sectional.

Below is a glance at the sectional pairings involving our local teams, along with a quick look at how they could play out.

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IHSAA SECTIONAL PAIRINGS

Records through this past weekend. Times to be announced.

CLASS A NEW WASHINGTON SECTIONAL

Game 1: CAI (1-17) vs. Rock Creek (2-6), Tuesday Feb. 2

Game 2: South Central (1-12) vs. Borden (11-6), Tuesday Feb. 2

Game 3: Lanesville (17-3) vs. Game 1 winner, Friday Feb. 5

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Grace Ellison

Game 4: New Washington (7-11) vs. Game 2 winner, Friday Feb. 5

Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, Saturday Feb. 6

Cook's quick take: No. 1 Lanesville, the two-time defending sectional champion, is the heavy, heavy favorite to make it three in a row. Through last weekend, the Eagles had beaten four of their sectional foes (CAI, Borden, South Central, New Wash) by an average of 51.8 points per game this season. The sectional final will likely be a rematch of last year's championship game between Lanesville and New Washington. The Mustangs, who lost 54-41 to the Eagles in last season's title tilt, are 4-1 against the other teams in the sectional this season. That includes a 53-26 loss at Lanesville last Thursday, as well as a 35-25 win over Borden — their likely semifinal opponent — earlier this month. 

CLASS 2A EASTERN SECTIONAL

Game 1: Clarksville (6-13) vs. Providence (5-14), Tuesday Feb. 2

Game 2: Austin (9-11) vs. Crawford County (6-12), Tuesday Feb. 2

Game 3: Eastern (9-9) vs. Game 1 winner, Friday Feb. 5

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Sydney Waldron

Game 4: Henryville (6-11) vs. Game 2 winner, Friday Feb. 5

Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, Saturday Feb. 6

Cook's quick take: The host Musketeers, the two-time defending sectional champs, are the prohibitive favorite. They enter this week 4-0 against other sectional teams, having beaten the Wolfpack by eight, the Generals by 42, the Eagles by 12 and the Pioneers by 16. Eastern's opponent in the sectional final will likely be the winner of the first-round game between Austin and Crawford, the teams that are rated second and third, respectively, in the sectional field according to the Sagarin Ratings.   

CLASS 3A MADISON SECTIONAL

Game 1: Salem (16-2) vs. Corydon Central (9-10), Tuesday Feb. 2

Game 2: Charlestown (7-8) vs. Silver Creek (18-3), Wednesday Feb. 3

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Kennedy Coleman 

Game 3: North Harrison (12-3) vs. Madison (9-10), Wednesday Feb. 3

Game 4: Scottsburg (8-12) vs. Game 1 winner, Friday Feb. 5

Game 5: Game 2 vs. Game 3 winner, Friday Feb. 5

Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, Saturday Feb. 6

Cook's quick take: The top-ranked Dragons are the prohibitive favorite since, heading into this week, they've beaten five of the other teams in the sectional by an average of 15 points per game. This, however, is the toughest field (the seven teams have combined for 79 wins) in 3A. It definitely won't be an easy road for Creek, which would have to face the Pirates for the second time in seven days, then the winner between the Lady Cats and host Cubs before a likely showdown against the No. 2 Lions in a rematch of last year's memorable final, won 54-52 by Salem. The Lions will be gunning for their fourth sectional title in a row, as well as trying to avenge their 58-56 regular-season loss to the Dragons.  

CLASS 4A NEW ALBANY

Game 1: Jennings County (13-6) vs. Seymour (8-9), Tuesday Feb. 2

Game 2: Bedford NL (18-2) vs. New Albany (6-14), Tuesday Feb. 2

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Keegan Kaiser and Nevaeh Bates battle for a rebound. 

Game 3: Floyd Central (6-13) vs. Game 1 winner, Friday Feb. 5

Game 4: Jeffersonville (5-11) vs. Game 2 winner, Friday Feb. 5

Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, Saturday Feb. 6

Cook's quick take: The third-ranked Stars are the overwhelming favorite to capture their 10th consecutive sectional title. BNL is 5-0 against the other five teams in the sectional, having beaten them by an average of 27.8 points per game during the regular season. Their foe in the final will likely be Jennings County, which lost by eight (52-44) at Bedford on Dec. 1.   

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TOP PERFORMERS OF THE WEEKEND BOYS

BOYS

Tucker Biven (New Albany): The junior guard totaled 30 points in a pair of games over the weekend. BIven tallied 20 points to lead the Bulldogs to an 81-72 victory over Class 3A No. 3 Silver Creek on Friday night. 

Dakota Capps (Clarksville): The junior guard netted 34 points over the weekend. He scored 16 points in the Generals' 52-47 win over Scottsburg on Friday night, then netted 18 in Saturday's 67-57 loss at Lanesville. 

Brady Dunn (CAI): The junior guard tallied 22 points in the Warriors' 49-40 loss at Paoli on Saturday night.  

Brandon Rayzer-Moore (Jeffersonville): The junior guard tallied a game-high 24 points, hitting four 3-pointers, in the Red Devils' 80-52 win at Columbus East on Saturday.

Trey Kaufman-Renn (Silver Creek): The senior forward scored a game-high 30 points in the Dragons' 81-72 loss at New Albany on Friday night. 

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Charlestown senior Clayton Rothbauer drives to the basket during the Pirates’ 49-40 victory over visiting Henryville on Tuesday night.

Clayton Rothbauer (Charlestown): The senior guard scored 15 points in the Pirates' 60-50 loss to Eastern on Friday night. The next night, Rothbauer tallied 18 points — 13 in the fourth quarter — in the Pirates' come-from-behind 89-84 victory over visiting Corydon Central. 

Jaren Starks (Clarksville): The senior guard netted a team-high 19 points in the Generals' win over Scottsburg on Friday night, then scored 17 in Saturday's loss at Lanesville.  

GIRLS

Marissa Gasaway (Silver Creek): The senior center had eight points, 10 rebounds and four assists in the Dragons' 61-42 win at Eastern on Saturday night. 

Kaidin James (New Washington): The freshman tallied a team-high 16 points in the Mustangs' 66-29 win at South Central on Saturday night.  

Maddie Nipper (Charlestown): The freshman scored 46 points in a pair of games for the Pirates on Saturday. First, she had a career-high 27 in Charlestown's 65-60 loss at North Harrison in the afternoon. Then that night, Nipper notched 19 in Charlestown's 65-22 win at Christian Academy. 

Alana Striverson (Silver Creek): The senior wing scored 16 points and had three rebounds in the Dragons' 61-42 win over Eastern.  

GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK

GIRLS: Silver Creek (18-3) at Charlestown (7-8), 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night: The Dragons go for their first-ever Mid-Southern Conference title when they visit the Pirates. 

BOYS: Silver Creek (10-3) at Madison (10-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday night: The Dragons' big weekend (they visit Bloomington South on Saturday night) begins with a game at the Hoosier Hills Conference-leading Cubs.  

BOYS: Jeff (5-5) at Lawrence North (14-1), 7:30 p.m. Saturday night: The Red Devils visit the about-to-be-former 4A No. 1 Wildcats, who suffered their first loss — a 55-50 OT setback to Homestead — this past Saturday night. 

BOYS: Floyd Central (7-2) at Evansville Reitz (10-0), 7:30 p.m. Saturday night: The Highlanders will try to knock off the Panthers, who enter this week as one of five remaining unbeaten teams in the state. 

BOYS: Borden (8-6) at CAI (6-7), 7:30 p.m. Saturday night: This intriguing matchup between sectional foes is made even more interesting by the fact that Braves coach Doc Nash helped first-year Warriors head man Hayden Casey break into the profession several years ago.   

DRAGONS REMAIN HIGHLY-RANKED

Following their wins at Columbus North and Eastern, the Silver Creek girls moved up one spot, from seventh to sixth, in the new Indiana Basketball Coaches Association poll released Sunday night.

The Dragons (18-3) received 241 voting points in a polling of 20 panelists. They also remained No. 1 in the new ICGSA (Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association) rankings released Monday.

Meanwhile the Silver Creek boys, following their loss at New Albany on Friday night, dropped to No. 11 in the new IBCA poll released Sunday night. It’s the first time the Dragons (10-3) have dropped out of the Top 10 this season.

The complete polls are listed below.

BOYS' IBCA TOP 20

The Top 20 teams in the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association boys’ poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records and total voting points.

Rank, School Record Pts

 1. Homestead (20)     16-0     400

 2. Lawrence North     14-1     371

 3. Carmel     13-1     352

 4. Cathedral     12-1     351

 5. FW Blackhawk     13-1     319

 6. Indpls Attucks     14-2     290

 7. Hammond     11-1     258

 8. South Bend Adams     13-0     252

 9. Barr-Reeve     13-2     233

10. Lafayette Jeff     13-1     197

11. Silver Creek      10-3     179

12. Warren Central     9-5     166

13. Plainfield     12-1     121

14. FW Carroll     10-2     115

15. Zionsville     10-4     100

16. Westfield     9-3      90

17. Evans. Reitz     10-0      59

18. Gary West     10-3      57

19. Bloomington North     6-2      44

20. Evans. Bosse     11-0      30

     Others receiving votes: Bloomington South, Brownsburg, Center Grove, Chesterton, Columbus North, Crown Point, Evansville North, Fishers, Floyd Central, Harrison (W Lafayette), Heritage Hills, Kouts, Lawrence Central, Leo, McCutcheon, Michigan City, Munster, New Albany, North Central (Indianapolis), Pike, Shenandoah, South Bend Riley, South Bend St. Joseph, Valparaiso.

GIRLS' IBCA TOP 20

The Top 20 teams in the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association girls’ poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records and total voting points.

Rank, School Record Pts

 1. North Central (18)     19-2     381

 2. Crown Point (2)     16-1     372

 3. Penn      17-3     345

 4. Bedford NL     18-2     332

 5. Linton-Stockton     20-1     259

 6. Silver Creek     18-3     241

 7. Franklin     17-1     236

 8. Fishers     14-3     221

 9. FW Carroll     18-2     217

10. Noblesville     17-4     209

11. East Central     16-3     193

12. Zionsville     15-4     172

13. Salem     16-2     151

14. Homestead     13-5     118

15. Carmel     12-6     113

16. Lawrence North     15-8     100

17. Hamilton SE     10-5      90

18. Westfield     16-4      72

19. SB Washington     16-4      67

20. Mishawaka Marian     16-4      65

     Others receiving votes: Andrean (16-1), Angola (16-4), Ben Davis (13-6), Blue River (16-3), Castle (10-3), Columbus East (12-5), Columbus North (8-4), Evansville Memorial (13-4), Garrett (16-2), Goshen (17-3), Hamilton Heights (15-1), Jac-Cen-Del (18-3), Jennings County (13-6), Knox (19-4), Lafayette Central Catholic (12-2), Martinsville (15-4), Norwell (18-3), Pioneer (15-4), Roncalli (16-4), Trinity Lutheran (17-4), Washington (13-1).

ICGSA POLLS

     Class 4A: 1. North Central 19-2, 2. Crown Point 16-1, 3 (tie). Penn 17-3, Bedford NL 18-2, 5. Franklin 17-1, 6. East Central 16-3, 7. Fishers 14-3, 8. Noblesville 17-4, 9. FW Carroll 18-2, 10. Zionsville 15-4. 

     Class 3A: 1. Silver Creek 18-3, 2. Salem 16-2, 3. Garrett 16-2, 4. Norwell 18-3, 5. Evansville Memorial 13-4, 6. Washington 13-1, 7. Hamilton Heights 15-1, 8. SB Washington 16-4, 9. Mishawaka Marian 16-4, 10. FW Concordia 13-6. 

     Class 2A: 1. Linton-Stockton 20-1, 2 (tie). Northeastern 16-1, Andrean 16-1, 4.  Frankton 18-3, 5. Lafayette Central Catholic 12-2, 6. Triton Central 16-3, 7. Clinton Prairie 16-2, 8. South Putnam 11-1, 9. Shenandoah 17-3, 10. Carroll (Flora) 16-3. 

     Class A: 1. Lanesville 17-3, 2. Jac-Cen-Del 18-3, 3. Trinity Lutheran 17-4, 4 (tie). Blue River 16-3, Loogootee 13-4, 6. Pioneer 15-4, 7. Waldron 16-3, 8. Greenwood Christian 12-6, 9. Tecumseh 9-6, 10. Morgan Township 15-4. 

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