Lapel girls hoops – Sectional 40 preview

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PARKER CITY — The Lapel High School girls basketball team will begin its quest for postseason success Friday at Monroe Central High School. It will play the winner of Tuesday’s first round game between Wapahani and Muncie Burris. The teams in sectional 40 have an aggregate winning percentage of .649, the highest of all 2A sectionals and tied for third best in all sectionals. Here is each team in the sectional, at a glance.

Frankton (15-8) — The defending champions enter the tournament riding a four-game winning streak and drew a bye into the semifinals Friday night. The Eagles got a mid-season boost when junior power forward Destyne Knight returned after being academically ineligible during the fall semester. She has averaged 14.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in the six games since her return and joins 1,000-point scorer Sydney Tucker (16.5 ppg) as a formidable 1-2 combo, making Frankton one of the favorites in this draw.

Lapel (17-5) — The Bulldogs are seeking their first sectional title since 2007 and drew the other bye, making their road through this tricky field slightly easier. They are led by 6-foot-3 junior forward Bree Boles (19.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and senior forward Samantha Kern (10.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg). Their only loss this season against Class 2A teams was in the season finale at Wapahani, a team Lapel likely will face in the semifinals. If they get payback against the Raiders, the Bulldogs have a good shot; they have already beaten Frankton, Monroe Central and Sheridan, the three teams on the other side of the bracket.

Monroe Central (20-2) — The host school brings a 10-game winning streak and the No. 5 Class 2A ranking into the sectional. Its last loss was on Dec. 15 at Lapel, its only loss against a 2A team. With no seniors on the varsity roster, the Golden Bears are the youngest team in the tournament and led by sophomore Jordyn Barga (13.4 ppg) and junior Abigail McGrath (10.8 ppg). As a team, Monroe Central shoots 35 percent from 3-point range and averages 29 rebounds per contest. It faces Sheridan in the first-round Tuesday.

Muncie Burris (5-16) — The only team in this sectional with a losing record, the Owls have lost seven in a row and eight of their last nine. Senior Alexa Stine averages 11.7 points per game and junior Makayla Usher pulls down 6.4 rebounds a contest, but Burris will have its hands full with Wapahani in the first-round Tuesday evening.

Sheridan (16-6) — At one point the Blackhawks were 10-1, but including an 18-point loss at home to Lapel, Sheridan finished the season 6-5. Their two star players will have to carry the load as this team lacks depth compared to other teams in the sectional. Senior IUPUI commit Brittany Welch averages 21.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, and junior Audrey Reed scores 16.8 points per game. Foul trouble to either or both would be a death blow to the Blackhawks’ chances.

Wapahani (14-10) — Don’t be fooled by the 10 losses. The Delaware County champs have played a tough schedule, which includes losses to teams such as Monroe Central, Frankton, New Castle and Hamilton Heights. The Raiders score just 46 points a game, so they rely on offensive patience and team defense. Junior Annie Schuck (11.0 ppg) and senior Kaci Mangus (10.2 ppg) pace an offense that turns the ball over just 12.7 times per game.