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 Girls to Square Off Against Centerville in Sectional

January 30, 2008 - Cambridge City Lincoln’s girls basketball team is the overwhelming favorite in the eyes of most to claim the Class 2A Sectional 42 title this season. Coach Dawn Basicker and her Knightstown Lady Panthers hope to make a little noise of their own in this year’s tourney.

Knightstown fought its way to the sectional final last season at Alexandria. But the IHSAA realigned sectionals for this season, and Knightstown and Shenandoah were moved to Cambridge City.

The Lady Raiders, who own the state’s longest consecutive sectional title streak at eight, will find the going a little tougher this season. The sectional field at Lincoln isn’t a strong as the one at Wapahani, but Shenandoah isn’t the average Lady Raider team this year. Shenandoah has won two Class 2A state championships in the last five years. Still, they are 11-8 and will be a force nonetheless.

Teams will begin sectional action next Tuesday, with Union County (9-9) battling Lincoln (16-3) in the first game at 6 p.m. At 8, Shenandoah (11-8) will play Eastern Hancock (2-17).

Wednesday Hagerstown (13-5) will play Northeastern (5-12) in the 6 p.m. game, and Knightstown (8-10) will play Centerville in the game at 8.

Lincoln is 8-0 against the sectional field and ranked 10th in the state. Their losses have been to Class 4A state power Greenfield-Central (15-5) by just five points, 6th-ranked Class 2A Southwestern (16-5), and Class 4A Connersville (18-2) by just two points.

Lincoln’s schedule has been brutal and they have played well against bigger schools that have outstanding programs. Lincoln has handily dismissed every team in the field except the Lady Raiders. Anything less than a sectional title for the Lady Golden Eagles would be considered a tremendous upset.

That’s exactly what Hagerstown, Shenandoah and Knightstown have in mind.

The Lady Raiders should get a shot at Lincoln in the second round. Both teams should win their first round games with ease.

Hagerstown drew Northeastern and should have no problems getting past them. They already own a 42-29 win over the Lady Knights on Jan. 14.

That will set up a game between Hagerstown and the winner of Knightstown’s battle against Centerville. Those two teams have met this season as well, with the Lady Panthers winning 41-34 on Nov. 17.

Since that clash, Knightstown (8-10) has gone 5-8, while the Lady Bulldogs (9-9) have gone 7-8. The two teams are pretty evenly matched. Against Sectional 42 opponents Knightstown is 3-4, while Centerville is 3-5.

Both teams have lost to Lincoln, Hagerstown and Shenandoah. Knightstown lost to Union County, while Centerville beat the Lady Patriots on Jan. 25. After struggling at 5-9, the Lady Bulldogs have won four straight games over a mixed slate of opponents, including Tri (13-6) 58-48, Union (6-12) 50-18, Union County (9-9) 60-56, and Eastern Hancock (2-18) 65-43.

Knightstown has been up and down the entire season. The Lady Panthers have struggled to maintain consistency, and poor passing has resulted in the team averaging more than 20 turnovers per game.

In the previous meeting between the two schools, Knightstown opened up a nine-point first quarter lead and then just went on cruise control for the seven-point win. Centerville’s late-season surge and recent win over Tri indicates the Lady Bulldogs are probably playing their best basketball of the season right now.

The winner of the Knightstown-Centerville game will likely match up against Hagerstown in the second round on Friday night. The Lady Tigers are 13-5 on the season and have won four straight after losing back-to-back games against Lincoln. Hagerstown’s five losses have come to teams with a combined record of 79-16. They have played a brutal schedule that included Winchester (17-3), Whitko (14-5), Wawasee (16-2), and Lincoln (16-3) twice.

Hagerstown also beat Knightstown in the season opener, 44-34. The Lady Tigers will first have to get past Northeastern (5-12), which shouldn’t be a problem. Just two weeks ago they beat the Lady Knights by 13 points.

If the Sectional 42 games go as anticipated, the final four could be a virtual barn burner. Tenth-ranked Lincoln should square off against eight-time defending sectional champion Shenandoah, and Hagerstown (13-5) will see either Knightstown or Centerville, which will likely be the most competitive first round game.

 

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