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Quality programs part of tourney

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No out-of-state girls basketball teams will be playing in this year’s Subway/Columbus North Invitational, but the field figures to be as good or better than in the event’s first two years.

Six sectional champions, including the Class 4A state runner-up, are among the eight teams that will take the court Dec. 29-30 at North. All eight teams will play three games.

Joining the Bull Dogs, who went 23-3 last season, in the tourney are Crown Point (13-8), Homestead (23-2), Jeffersonville (17-6), Merrillville (16-7), Mooresville (19-4), Penn (25-2) and Pike (19-9). All but Crown Point and Jeffersonville won sectional titles, and Penn made it all the way to the Class 4A state finals.

“That field is about as good a field as you’ll find in any tournament in Indiana next season,” North coach Pat McKee said. “I think all eight teams would be good, strong teams again.”

North’s Ali Patberg, who has committed to Notre Dame, and Merrillville’s Victoria Gaines (Michigan State), were Core Six members of this year’s Indiana Junior All-Stars. Pike’s Brittany Ward was a member of the South Six.

North boys to play Jan. 1

The North boys basketball team will ring in the new year in Richmond.

The Bull Dogs, who have won Richmond’s Bob Wettig Invitational each of the three years they’ve played in it, will try for a fourth consecutive title. The 16-team event will begin with eight first-round games Jan. 1 and conclude Jan. 3.

North’s last game leading up to that tournament will be a Dec. 23 showcase matchup against Bowman Academy at the new Indiana State Fairgrounds arena. The Eagles have won Class A and 2A titles in the past five years and lost to Greensburg in the Class 3A final this season.

O’s named Academic All-State

Two Columbus East girls track and field athletes have been named Academic All-State by the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association.

Andrea Hendrickson and Michaela Richardson are on the first team. East’s Sarah Loesch is an honorable mention selection.

Track coach to lead CC team

Jennings County girls track coach Brian Guthrie has taken over as the Panther boys cross-country coach.

Guthrie succeeds Father Jonathan Meyer, who guided the team last season. Meyer’s job relocated him to a Southeastern Indiana parish near Cincinnati.

Teams pick new coaches

Two Hoosier Hills Conference schools have picked high-profile boys basketball coaches.

Former University of Indianapolis coach Todd Sturgeon has been named coach at Floyd Central. He takes over for Mark Lieberman, who went 5-18 in his only season.

Cliff Hawkins, who led DeKalb to a Class 4A state finals appearance and has spent the past 10 years at Center Grove, takes over for Pat King at Madison. The Cubs went 14-6 last season.

On the girls side, Jeff Allen will try to become the third coach in as many years to lead Bedford North Lawrence to a Class 4A state title. Kurt Godlevske left after the 2013 season to take an assistant coaching job at Butler. He is now the head coach and has brought on Damon Bailey, who led BNL to this year’s state title, as an assistant.

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