Senior staff writer
Roncalli enters a shortened girls sectional field next week at Decatur Central.
Originally a six-team sectional, the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s ban against Pike and Ben Davis for a recent on-court brawl cut the field to only four teams.
The Class 4A No. 5 Rebels face Southport Feb. 5 in a double-header with the host Hawks meeting Perry Meridian. The title game is Feb. 6.
McDonald’s All-American Lindsey Corsaro is expected to play after returning to action briefly Saturday against Bedford North Lawrence.
The senior scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds while playing half the game in a 51-38 home victory. She is nursing a stressed left foot and ankle but is expected to be fully recovered to play Thursday at Columbus North.
The 4A Center Grove sectional could be a dogfight among the up-and-down Trojans, fast-paced Greenwood, determined Whiteland and newcomer and slightly favored Martinsville.
Improved Beech Grove could be in the hunt in the 3A Indian Creek Sectional, where Ritter is favored. Surprising Manual could make noise in the 3A Brebeuf Sectional, where No. 16 Crispus Attucks is favored.
Lutheran and Greenwood Christian, the only two Southside teams in the Class A Morristown Sectional, square off against each other Feb. 2.
Here’s the outlook for Southside teams:
Decatur Central Sectional
Perry Meridian (6-13) – Undersized again but dangerous … 30th season under coach Mike Armstrong (389-275) … Falcons defeated Decatur Central 71-32 … last sectional title came in 2009 … Falcons in final home game against Cathedral tonight, then go to Bloomington South Thursday … lost to first-round sectional foe Roncalli 79-65 in early November.
Roncalli (20-3) – Rebels own Marion County and Roncalli holiday tourney trophies … riding four-game win streak … all three losses were to ranked teams … outside-inside punch of 6-0 seniors Lindsey Corsaro (26.9 points, 10.2 rebounds) and Daesjah Ely (13.1 points, 6.7 rebounds) … balanced help from senior Rachel Titzer (8.4 points, 4.4 rebounds) and streak shooter Paige Saylor (8.1 points) … Roncalli is 57-15 under veteran coach Stan Benge … third year in 4A … close regular season Thursday at Columbus North.
Southport (11-10) – Cardinals assured of second place in Conference Indiana … won seven straight games earlier this year … 2-5 recently as schedule toughened … 11 wins are most since 2007 … led by Emma DeHart, 21 points per game, nine rebounds, 58 percent from field, 51 percent from 3-point range … offense bolstered by Jaelencia Williams, 13 points, 11 rebounds … end regular season tonight at Columbus East.
Center Grove Sectional
Center Grove (10-10) – Defending sectional champions … up-and-down campaign with four-game win streak in middle … snapped three-game skid Jan. 19 at Perry Meridian 61-43 … team leaders are senior Lauren Rau, 13.8 points, and sophomore Cassidy Hardin, 12.9 points … average only 18.2 rebounds … junior Madelyn Bitterling sinks 47 percent of her 3-point shots … Trojans drew the bye … face Martinsville (defeated CG 68-52) or Franklin (defeated by Trojans 66-48) winner Feb. 5.
Franklin Central (5-16) – Ended regular season with 3-2 record with wins against Conference Indiana teams … young team opened 1-9 … points hard to come by, average only 41.9 points … junior Kayla Hines averages 13.1 points and leads in assists … off year for Flashes after going 52-19 last three seasons … meet Greenwood Feb. 3 in sectional action.
Greenwood (12-9) – First-year coach Lee Taft introduced speed training and in-your-face defense … average nearly 9.0 steals per game … opened season 6-0 and won Johnson County tournament … won three of last four games … best Southside guard duo in seniors Holly Hoopingarner, 24.0 points, and Jae Taft, 12.6 points, who have combined for 101 assists … Megan Overton leads on boards, 5.7 average … visited Center Grove to wrap up season Tuesday … assured of share of second place in Mid-State … meet Franklin Central Feb. 3.
Manual (12-7) – Basketball success story of the Southside … guided by veteran coach Jim Sturgeon … won two tourneys … impressive 38.1 rebounds and 18 steals per game … four players in double figures: Calynn Jackson, 13.4 points; Trinitee Johnson, 11.5; Shelby Staggs, 10.3 and Jyah Taylor 10.2 … 7-2 in mid-December … 4-1 against city teams … met neighboring Beech Grove Tuesday and finish season at Scecina tonight … meet Chatard Feb. 2
Indian Creek Sectional
Beech Grove (11-10) – Long-distance sectional for all teams but host … win over Triton Central Friday would net Indiana Crossroads runner-up spot … opened with 5-1 record under first-year coach Kristin Raker … paced by sophs Katie Giller (15.6 points, 9.1 rebounds) and Cameron Cardenas (13.1 points) … classmate Mallory Storms adds 8.1 points and 6.5 rebounds … end regular season Thursday at home against Triton Central … chance for first winning record since 2009-10 … last sectional title in 2003 when Hornets won state championship … meet Northwest-Danville winner on Feb. 5.
Greenwood Christian (12-9) – Impressive season with uptick in scheduling … midseason five-game winning streak … strong on the boards, average 36.1 rebounds, led by soph Sarah Mangan, 13.5 rebounds, 13.2 points … senior Hannah Peters adds 13.1 points … runner-up in West Division of Pioneer Conference … on verge of third winning season in four years under coach Alan Weems …Southwestern visits to close regular season Thursday … meet rival Lutheran in sectional opener Feb. 2.
Lutheran (6-13) – Rugged schedule may pay off for Saints … posted wins over sectional foes Edinburgh, Central Christian and Greenwood Christian … in grips of four-game losing skein … end season Thursday at Morristown … last sectional title in 2006 … face rival Greenwood Christian (defeated Cougars 54-48 Jan. 5) Feb. 2.