Rensselaer Central will begin a two-year run in the Class 3A tournament next week when it faces an unfamiliar foe.
The Lady Bombers will square off against Frankfort at the Benton Central Sectional on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The teams will play after the host Bison face Western.
A win by RCHS would put it into the second round against either Benton Central or Western on Friday, Jan. 3.
The Bombers (12-8) will enter the tournament with another winning record under coach Wes Radtke. RCHS has had six winning seasons in Radtke’s seven years as head coach. They will be favored against Frankfort, which owned a 2-19 record through Jan. 23. The Hot Dogs, who beat Elwood and North Newton for their two wins, have lost eight in a row.
Tournament favorite Twin Lakes — ranked No. 1 in Class 3A and one of the few remaining unbeaten teams in the state at 21-0 — will open the tournament against North Montgomery (3-19) on Tuesday, Jan. 31. West Lafayette earned a bye and will play either Twin Lakes or North Montgomery in the second round.
Kankakee Valley was also bumped up a class this season as it competes in the Lowell Class 4A Sectional next week. The Kougars (15-6) open against Hobart (11-10) in a rematch of KV’s thrilling 53-52 victory over the Brickies on Dec. 9 in a Northwest Crossroads Conference match-up.
The teams will open the tournament Tuesday night, Jan. 31, with the winner to face Portage (13-10) — which received the tournament’s only bye — in the second round. The Kougars are scheduled to face Portage on Jan. 27 in a potential sectional preview.
“There are no gimmees in our sectional,” Kougars coach Brandon Bradley said. “We beat Hobart by one and they have the state’s leading scorer (guard Asia Donald). She’s a monster offensively. And on top of that, she averages 11 rebounds per game. Not only does she get the ball up, she chases it down, too.”
Donald was limited to 19 points — or nearly 10 points under average of 28.8 — in the loss to KV. “That’s something we take pride in,” Bradley. “Not only with her, but against teams. But they’re going to be confident because they came into our gym and lost by one. That’s the mentality we’re going to have to fight through.”
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In other games at Lowell, Crown Point (14-8) will play favored Valparaiso (19-2) and Lowell (9-12) will face Chesterton (14-7).
DeMotte Christian, which is enjoying another solid season (17-5) in all-time leading scorer Skylar Bos’s final season, will compete in the Kouts Class A Sectional next week. The Knights will open against Washington Township (15-6) on Tuesday night.
DMC beat the Lady Senators at home (60-52) on Nov. 19. Tri-Township (15-5) and Hammond S & T (3-9) are scheduled for Tuesday’s second game. Morgan Township (11-7) received one of the tournament’s two byes and will play the DMC/Washington Township winner on Friday, Feb. 3.
Kouts, the tournament favorite at 14-7, will play either Tri-Township or Hammond S & T in Friday’s second semifinal.
At Tri-County’s Class A Sectional, Frontier (5-15) will face the tournament hosts (10-10) on Tuesday night, with West Central (5-15) and North White (5-17) to play in Tuesday’s second game. South Newton (1-17) will get the winner of Frontier vs. TC, with Caston — the tournament favorite at 19-1 — to play either West Central or North White in Friday’s other semifinal.
North Newton has been lumped in the Class 2A Sectional at Andrean, which will essentially come down to Wednesday night’s first-round game between the host 59ers (19-2) and Lake Station (15-4).
The Spartans (3-19) will be favored against winless Gary Lighthouse (0-11) on Tuesday, Jan. 31. That game will be followed by Gary 21st Century (3-13) against Whiting (6-14).
In Wednesday’s first game, Illiana Christian (8-10) will play Bowman Academy (5-11) at 6 p.m., with Andrean/Lake Station to follow.
Should North Newton win its first-round game, it will face either 21st Century or Whiting for a chance to reach the final game on Feb. 3.