If Columbus North girls basketball coach Pat McKee needed to get his team’s attention about how much semistate opponent Roncalli has improved since losing to the Bull Dogs on Jan. 28, all he had to do was point to the Rebels’ regional semifinal win against Lawrence North on Saturday.
Five weeks earlier, Roncalli lost at home to the Wildcats, 54-33. Saturday afternoon, the Rebels beat Lawrence North 55-45 on its way to capturing the Decatur Central Regional.
“That says to me they got focused on a game plan, executed it and did it really well,” McKee said. “The fact that we beat them two and a half weeks ago — I’m glad we did, but that doesn’t mean anything. My feeling is, they will play better than they did last time, so we’d better play better, too.”
The defending state champion Bull Dogs (26-1), ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, and fifth-ranked Roncalli (24-4) will square off at around 3 p.m. Saturday in the Richmond Semisate. The winner advances to the Feb. 27 state finals.
Both teams could be markedly different than in that 66-62 victory Jan. 28 at North. Bull Dogs point guard Ashlyn Huffman was lost to a season-ending meniscus tear in Saturday night’s regional championship game win against Evansville Central.
Roncalli is led by McDonald’s All-American Lindsey Corsaro. The 6-foot University of Kentucky recruit leads the Rebels with 25.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.4 steals.
Roncalli also has capable players in senior Daesjah Ely (12.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg), junior Paige Saylor (8.6 ppg, 4.4 apg) and senior Rachel Titzer (8.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg).
“Because we’ve played them, we know they’re a really good team,” McKee said. “They have good pieces across the floor.”
Bull Dog junior honored
Junior Maliah Howard-Bass, who led the Columbus North girls basketball team to a regional title Saturday, has been named Indiana Basketball Coaches Association/Subway District 3 girls player of the week.
Howard-Bass recorded 18 points, six rebounds and three steals in a 69-58 overtime win against Center Grove in the Columbus North Regional semifinals. She came back with 26 points, four rebounds and three steals in an 86-82 title-game victory against Evansville Central.
North swimmer is top seed
Columbus North senior Chase McQueen will take the top seeds into tonight’s sectional preliminaries in both the 200-yard individual medley and 100 freestyle.
Only the winners and others meeting the state cut times in Saturday’s finals are guaranteed spots in next weekend’s state meet. If those numbers add up to less than 32 in an event, swimmers with the next-fastest times from around the state are added to reach 32.
The Bull Frogs have a few others knocking at the door. Senior Jared Imlay is seeded second in both the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. Junior Adam Zhuang and sophomore Ab Schumaker are second and third, respectively, in the 100 breaststroke.
Also for North, junior Angel Torres Martinez is seeded third in both the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, senior Ben Thompson is third in the 200 freestyle and sophomore Thomas Goble is third in the 500 freestyle. Freshman Sam Russell is fourth in both the 200 IM and 500 freestyle, and freshman Jared Carroll is fourth in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.
The Bull Frogs are seeded No. 1 in the 200 freestyle relay and No. 2 in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
Columbus East senior Cordell Glass and North junior Kaemon Jiles are two of the top divers in the field. The top four divers Saturday qualify for Tuesday’s Bloomington North Diving Regional. The top eight from there advance to state.
East is seeded fifth in the 400 freestyle relay, sixth in the 200 medley relay and ninth in the 200 freestyle relay. The Olympians’ highest-seeded individual swimmer is junior Derek Alexander, who is 11th in the 500 freestyle.
The top eight swimmers in each event in tonight’s prelims qualify for Saturday afternoon’s championship finals. The ninth- through 16th-fastest in each event make the consolation finals.
Bloomington South, which beat North in the Conference Indiana meet, is the favorite to win the sectional team title.
“Obviously, they’re going to have to swim a lot better than they swam at conference in order to beat Bloomington South,” North coach Bridger Bell said of his team. “They just have to outperform and have one of those outstanding meets. It will be a battle. We’ll see how much they step up and do something they’re not expected to do.”
Crusaders to host regional
The Columbus Christian boys and girls basketball teams will host the Indiana Christian State Tournament South Regional beginning today.
The Crusader boys and girls will open play Friday. The boys face Trinity Christian at 5 p.m., and the girls will play Horizon Christian at 6:30 p.m.
The winner of Friday’s girls game will play Bloomington Lighthouse for the championship at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The winner of the boys game will play Southside Christian, Bloomington Lighthouse or Madison Christian for the title at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The regional champions advance to next weekend’s ICST state finals. The Columbus Christian girls are the defending state champions, while the Crusader boys won the state title two years ago.
Tourney draw is Sunday
The IHSAA boys basketball tournament draw will be at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
The event will be webstreamed on ihsaatv.org. It also will be broadcast on radio on the IHSAA Champions Network.