2021 Indiana Girls' Basketball Sectionals
In an interview prior to Saturday's Indiana Class 3A-Sec. 30 championship game at Madison, Scott Schoen, head coach of Silver Creek, mentioned taking the game ball from his team's runner-up finish to Salem last year and puncturing it to hopefully, as he put it, "exorcise those demons."
The Dragons did so in a big way. Their 46-27 win over the Lions not only meant Silver Creek's first girls' basketball sectional title in a decade, but the 19-point difference served as an amazing contrast from prior recent matchups between those teams that were decided by 5 points or less.
Unlike 2020, when a sizable halftime lead slipped away, Silver Creek kept the pressure going throughout the 3rd quarter this time. A key difference-maker for the Dragons was 6-foot-1 senior forward Marissa Gasaway, who pulled off the double-double on Saturday night with a game-high 20 points and 14 rebounds. 4 of Gasaway's 20 points came off second-chance put-backs, and she also made a big block near the end of the 1st quarter that kept the Salem from tying the game.
To further prove how much of a team effort Silver Creek's win was, they held the Lions to 0-for-9 from the field during the 2nd period, limiting them to just 5 points from free throws.
It would be too easy to say that the other area teams, in accounting for their exits from the sectionals, didn't have the kind of talent that the Dragons had. We could say, though, that they each gave it what they could, given what they were up against.
Bedford-N. Lawrence was the favorite going into the 4A-Sec. 15 tournament at New Albany. The 3rd-ranked Stars justified their case with wins over the host Bulldogs on Tuesday, followed by Jeffersonville on Friday, and Jennings Co. (who eliminated Floyd Central in the semis) for the championship on Saturday.
Clarksville pulled off a narrow 36-34 first-round upset over crosstown rivals Providence in Tuesday's 2A-Section 46 quarterfinal at Eastern (Pekin) to give the Lady Generals their first playoff victory in well over a decade. But that celebration was short-lived when they ran into the host Musketeers in Friday's quarterfinal. Pekin won handily 72-29, then had to fend off Crawford Co. 37-35 on Saturday for their third straight sectional title.
New Washington was the only area team to make it to the 1A-Sec. 61 finals. The host Mustangs, however, had to contend with the 2nd-ranked team in that division, Lanesville. The Eagles solidified their case with a 72-31 sectional title win.
Looking ahead to next Saturday's 3A regional tournament at Charlestown, a pair of ranked opponents stand between Silver Creek and their first-ever regional title; number-4 Memorial out of Evansville at noon, and possibly number-5 Washington that night. If they play as good against either, and maybe both, of these two as they did against Salem, they should have a clear path to semi-state, and maybe even the championship.