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Three ranked teams and a surprise at the Tipton regional

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

Three ranked teams and one with a losing record compose the field for Saturday’s girls basketball Class A Regional 14 at Tipton High School.

Class A No. 4 Northfield, No. 7 North Vermillion, and No. 19 Blue River Valley all survived their sectional wars to punch their tickets to the regional, and unranked Cowan passed its three sectional tests to complete the field as the only team below .500.

The Mid-Eastern Conference has to be feeling pretty proud right now as three of its teams, Class 2A Monroe Central (the league champion), the runner-up Vikings, and the Blackhawks, all won sectional championships.

Game 1: North Vermillion (24-2) vs. Blue River Valley (19-6) 10 a.m.

The reward for the No. 19 Vikings in winning their first girls basketball sectional title in 34 years is a match-up with the No. 7 Falcons.

North Vermillion is establishing itself as a small-school power in athletics, as its football team won a state championship a few years ago and finished as state runner-up to powerful Pioneer last November.

The Falcons come into Saturday’s competition having won eight games in a row and 11 of their last 12. North Vermillion’s only losses this season have been to Class 3A power Benton Central and 43-40 at Attica.

The Falcons average 54.2 ppg and yield 34.5 ppg to opponents. On offense, North Vermillion’s team shooting averages are 41 percent from the field, 27 percent from behind the arc, and 61 percent from the foul line.

The Falcons have two players averaging double figures in scori9ng. Sophomore McKenzie Crowder contributes 14.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, and 2.8 spg, and junior Rylee Dowers produces 13.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.1 apg, and 3.9 spg.

Other North Vermillion players of note are Kahrie Balding (7.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.8 spg), senior Cierra Cheuvront ( 5.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.1 apg, 2.3 spg), and junior Hannah Ellis (4.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.8 spg).

Folks around here already know much about this season’s Blue River team. The squad was loaded with six seniors, but still lacked a tall post presence. That was solved when freshman Ally Madden stepped onto the scene, filled that role, and the Vikings are now a major threat to score from both inside and outside.

Blue River comes into the regional having won seven of its past nine games, with the only two losses to very good 2A teams Shenandoah and Monroe Central. The Vikings outscored their three sectional opponents 168-90.

Blue River averages 53.6 ppg and gives up 37.7 ppg to opponents. Offensively as a team, the Vikings shoot 40 percent from the field, 30 percent from three-point range, and 59 percent from the charity stripe.

Two BRV players average double digits in scoring, senior Lindsey Williams (13.1 ppg, 1.6 rpg) and freshman Ally Madden (11.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.1 spg, 2.3 bpg).

Senior twins Hannah and Haley Foster have been a big part of the team’s success, as Hannah has contributed 8.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.1 apg, and 2.1 spg while Haley has produced 7.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, and 2.2 spg. Senior Brooke Taylor, the other starter, comes through with 1.8 ppg and 2.7 rpg.

Sophomore Mallory Cross usually is the first girl off the bench and has provided 3.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.4 apg, and 1.6 spg. Senior Rachel Snavely backs up Madden in the post and contributes 1.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, and 1.2 spg.

Because of the distance between the two schools, they do not have a common opponent this season.

Game 2: Northfield (23-2) vs. Cowan (10-15) noon

Northfield comes into the regional with an 18-game winning streak, and victors in 22 of their last 23 games. The Norsemen girls (if that is a correct usage of the phrase) have lost only to Class 2A teams Oak Hill by six points on the road and Manchester by two points at home, the latter being last Dec. 1.

Northfield blasted its three sectional opponents by a combined margin of 211-93, so it might be the slight favorite in this field of four.

The Norsemen girls average 60.9 ppg and give up 34.4. On offense (on average), they shoot 46 percent from the field, 39 percent from the three-point line, and 62 percent from the foul stripe.

Northfield has a couple players who average double figures in scoring. Senior Ariel Dale contributes 16.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, and 2.7 spg, and senior Kelcie Thomson produces 12.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.4 apg, and 3.8 spg.

Other players of note for the team are sophomore Kyra Kennedy (9.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.8 apg, and 2.2 spg), 5-11 sophomore Addi Baker (7.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.4 spg), and sophomore Emma Hoover (5.1 ppg, 1.2 apg, 1.2 spg).

Cowan had lost six of its last nine games coming into the sectional, but won the Southern Wells sectional with victories over Wes-Del, the host Raiders , and Daleville 44-42 in the sectional finale. The Blackhawks, despite their losing record, average 44.9 ppg and give up 43.5 ppg to their opponents.

Statistics for Cowan had been updated on the MaxPreps website only through 18 of their 25 games, so any reports of team shooting percentages would be out-dated right now. At the time, sophomore Kaylee Kear led the Blackhawks in scoring and rebounding with 12.0 ppg and 7.7 rpg.

Cowan played several of our local girls teams this season. The Blackhawks lost to Hagerstown 34-39, lost to Blue River 43-55, lost to Tri 42-45, and lost to Shenandoah 30-61.

Cowan and Northfield did not play each other this season and the two had had no common opponents.

The winner of Class A Regional 14 will play for the northern semi-state championship at either Laporte or Logansport Saturday, Feb. 16.