Columbus East and Hauser will enter tonight’s girls basketball sectional semifinal games as big favorites and could face tough challenges in Saturday night’s sectional finals.
But the focus for the Olympians and Jets is squarely on tonight’s matchups. Hauser will play Milan at 6 p.m. in the Switzerland County Sectional, and East will face Shelbyville at around 7:45 p.m. in the Shelbyville Sectional.
“It’s the old adage, you just have to take it one game at a time,” East coach Danny Brown said.
The Olympians (10-13) and Golden Bears (14-8) will meet for the first time since the first round of the 2018 sectional. East won that game 58-24 on its way to winning its most recent sectional title.
The teams had met in the regular season through the 2013-14 season.
“We used to always play Shelbyville,” Brown said. “We kind of look forward to playing them again. Our teams always enjoyed playing them in the dome.”
The Golden Bears have a pair of high-scoring players in senior Kylee Edwards (20.3 ppg) and junior Ava Wilson (17.8 ppg). Edwards is committed to play softball at Mississippi State.
“Anytime, especially in sectional play when you play a team on their home floor and they have an experienced team and they have a couple of nice players, you have to be ready to play,” Brown said. “We don’t know a whole lot about them. Our main concern was East Central, and now we have Shelbyville, and they’ll be formidable on their home floor. That’s for sure.”
East senior Saige Stahl, an Indiana State recruit, ranks among the state leaders with 26.0 points a game and also leads the Olympians with 9.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals. Senior Leah Bachmann averages 9.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 steals and junior Jenna Guse adds 6.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals.
The Olympians advanced with a 60-50 first-round win against East Central on Tuesday.
Franklin (16-5) and Whiteland (12-10), neither of which the Olympians faced this season, will square off in tonight’s opener at Shelbyville. The Grizzly Cubs advanced with a 48-45 win Tuesday against Columbus North, a team they had beaten by 37 points the second game of the year.
“You look at North’s game — a 37-point game at the beginning of the year, and it came down to the last shot,” Brown said. “You have to be ready at tournament time. You have to have a game plan when it comes to tournament games. I thought we had a good game plan. I thought North had a good game plan against Franklin.”
The Shelbyville Sectional final will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Hauser’s Kyliegh Parrott drives to the basket after stealing the ball during a game against Columbus Christian Nov. 28, 2022 at Hauser High School.
The Republic file photo
Meanwhile, Hauser (9-11) and Milan (4-18) have a little more familiarity with each other. The Jets beat the Indians 48-33 the second game of the season.
Milan is led by a pair of freshmen — Ava Labazzo and Emma Voss.
“They have two really good players,” Hauser coach Kyle Shipp said. “Both of those players could really cause havoc for us. We have to make sure we keep 22 (Labazzo) off the glass. No. 12 (Voss), their point guard, does a really good job facilitating. If we don’t contain her, she could get going and cause some problems for us.”
Junior Madelyn Poe leads Hauser with 15.1 points and 2.8 steals a game. Senior Kyliegh Parrott averages 9.8 points, 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals, and senior Adrianna Musillami adds 7.5 points and 5.4 rebounds.
The Jets played the last few games of the regular season without junior center and leading rebounder Kenze Bostic, who had season-ending foot surgery.
“I think our rhythm has gotten a little bit better as we’ve adjusted to playing without her,” Shipp said. “We have to rebound as a team. One person is not going to get all those rebounds that she was getting. Then, we have to make sure we have great team defense, good gap control. (Bostic) blocks shots or adjusts shots, so we have to make sure we’re not letting them get easy shots.”
Bostic also missed the first few games of the season, including the Milan game and the Jets opener, a 58-51 loss at South Ripley. South Ripley (14-9) plays host Switzerland County (13-9) in tonight’s second semifinal.
That sectional final will be at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re excited playing in the semifinals,” Shipp said. “We’ve had a good week of prep, and in girls basketball, four days of prep is a pretty big time inbetween games. We have to take it one game at a time. Our focus right now is to beat Milan, and that’s our only focus.”
Also on Friday, Brown County (13-9) will play Northview (15-8) at 6 p.m. in the semifinals of the Owen Valley Sectional. The Knights edged the Eagles 49-47 early in the season.
In Class A, South Decatur (8-14) faces Morristown (13-10) at around 7:45 p.m. in the semifinals of the Southwestern (Shelby) Sectional. The Cougars beat the Yellow Jackets 65-46 early in the season.
Class A No. 4 Trinity Lutheran (19-6) will play Crothersville (0-16) at 6 p.m. in the semifinals of the Rising Sun Sectional. The Cougars routed the Tigers 88-14 the second game of the season.