Bull Dogs look to feast on regional competition

If Bedford North Lawrence is going to be the main course for the Columbus North girls basketball team Saturday, Evansville Central will be a challenging appetizer.

And that appetizer has a BNL flavor.

Brittany (Hart) Maners, who spent two years as a Stars assistant, is in her second year as head coach of the Bears. She’ll lead her 22-3 squad against the 24-1 Bull Dogs at 10 a.m. Saturday in the semifinals of the Bedford North Lawrence Regional.

Maners was an assistant under former Bedford North Lawrence and current Butler head coach Kurt Godlevske in 2011-12, when the Stars lost to North in the regional final, and in 2012-13, when BNL beat the Bull Dogs in the regional semifinals on its way to the first of back-to-back Class 4A state titles.

Last year, Maners returned to her hometown of Evansville and led Central to a 17-5 record. The Bears lost to Castle by one point in the sectional final.

This year, Evansville Central’s three losses have come against Princeton, Bedford North Lawrence and Evansville Mater Dei — three teams with a combined 73-3 record.

“I think some games, they’ve used some of the stuff that she picked up at Bedford, and other games they seem to do other things,” North coach Pat McKee said. “I think she’s a good coach in her own right, and she’s gotten some people on her staff that are good coaches.”

The Bears are led by senior Texas Tech recruit Zuriel Sanders, who averages 19.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 points a game. Sophomore Alexis Thomas adds 11.8 points, while Sanders’ sister, sophomore Zion Sanders, averages 10.6 points and 4.3 assists.

“My dad (North assistant coach Ron Patberg) has seen them play, and he said they’re pretty much like East Central, but more athletic,” North senior standout Ali Patberg said. “(Zuriel Sanders) is super athletic and tall, strong, and she knows the game well. She’s very unselfish and, in my eyes, is an Indiana All-Star.”

Patberg, a Notre Dame recruit, leads the Bull Dogs with 25.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 3.3 steals. Sophomore Maliah Howard-Bass adds 9.4 points and 2.7 steals, and junior Paige Littrell averages 8.4 points and 2.4 assists.

If North, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, can get past Evansville Central, they’ll likely face top-ranked Bedford North Lawrence (25-0), which faces Center Grove (20-6) in the other semifinal. The Stars have knocked out the Bull Dogs in the regional each of the past two seasons.

But North is squarely focused on Evansville Central.

“We know they’re a good team, and there’s been talk about them thinking that we’re overlooking them, which is in no means true,” senior Debie Gedeon said. “We’re excited to play them.

“We’re looking forward to practices, which is ultimately where the game is going to be won,” she said. “We need to come in with a lot of energy and focus.”

Pair selected to Top 100

Patberg is one of two local basketball players to be named to Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 100 Senior Girls list.

Joining Patberg in the Top 100 is Jennings County’s Baylee Krueger. Krueger led the Panthers to a 16-6 record this season.

From the Top 100, 60 will be invited to the Top 60 Senior Girls Workout, which will be March 15 at Marian University.

Swimmers set for sectional

Three weeks ago, the Columbus North boys swimmers shocked favored Bloomington South to win the Conference Indiana title.

That, however, doesn’t mean the Bull Frogs are the favorites to win the North Sectional on Saturday. Coach Jim Sheridan is giving up some sectional individual points to take a shot at scoring all three relays at state.

“When you win the conference, you score points for the All-Sports Trophy,” Sheridan said. “When you win the sectional, ‘Yeah, you win the sectional,’ but the advantage of taking more to the state championships and outscoring everybody is tremendous.

“That’s always been my goal No. 1 and foremost,” he said. “If we win the sectional along the way, it’s awesome. But when we go to the state championship and put people on the podium, that’s what we look for.”

The Bull Frogs have only one swimmer seeded No. 1 — freshman Michael Brinegar in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events. Matt Freudenthaler is seeded No. 2 in the 100 butterfly, Chase McQueen is No. 2 in the 100 freestyle and North is No. 2 in all three relays.

Also for the Bull Frogs, Angel Martinez is seeded third in both the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke, while Jared Imlay is seeded third in the 500 freestyle and fifth in the 100 backstroke, and Adam Zhuang is third in the 100 breaststroke. Kevin Zhang is fourth in the 100 breaststroke and fifth in the 50 freestyle, Atruro Contreras is fifth in both the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, and Thomas Goble is fifth in the 500 freestyle.

Columbus East’s Jake Smith is seeded fifth in the 100 freestyle. The Olympians are fourth in the 200 freestyle relay, fifth in the 400 freestyle relay and seventh in the 200 medley relay.

Jets can still tie for title

Hauser still has an outside chance at a tie for the Mid-Hoosier Conference boys basketball title, but it needs some help.

First, the Jets (12-8, 7-1) need to beat Knightstown (11-7, 2-3) at home in their regular-season finale Tuesday. Then, Indian Creek (14-5, 8-0) must lose at home to Waldron (11-7, 4-3) on Feb. 27.

A conference title would be Hauser’s first since going unbeaten in the MHC in 2007-08.

East contests canceled

Columbus East’s home basketball game with Franklin Central that was snowed out Tuesday will not be rescheduled.

East also will not reschedule its home gymnastics meet with Owen Valley that was canceled Wednesday.