The girls high school basketball tournament will take a second step to finding out who will be crowned state champion in the respective divisions. The past weekend’s sectional winners from around the state will square off for regional titles.

The Jac-Cen-Del Lady Eagles (18-4) will play New Washington (17-8) in the second game at Southwestern (Shelby). The first regional game will pit Northeast Dubois (17-6) and Waldron (17-5) at 10 a.m.

Coach Scott Smith’s Lady Eagles were regular season champions in the Ohio River Valley Conference and return to the regional tournament after a year away.

The No. 7 Lady Eagles are the highest ranked team still alive among the four regional teams. That does not seem to add any pressure, according to the coach.

“We are just here to play our best game and not worry about the rankings or who is supposed to win,” Smith commented. “After our experience last year in the sectional final, we have made it a point all season to ignore records and rankings.”

Still, the Lady Eagles should be confident in their ability. This year’s squad has defeated the Class 2A No. 2 Southwestern (Hanover). They also return some of the best players in the area.

Seniors Emily Einhaus, Abby Lauber, Abby Rohlfing and Erika Simon are expected to be in the starting line-up along with junior Kierston Young.

Einhaus leads the team in scoring and rebounding. The senior forward averages 11.5 points a game and nearly eight rebounds.

Not far behind in the scoring department is Young (9.9 ppg) and Lauber (7.4 ppg). Rohlfing is tied for second on the team in rebounding (5.4 rpg).

Kaylin Ploeger will come off the bench and give the Lady Eagles a spark in the paint. Ploeger is tied with Rohlfing in rebounding.

The team’s depth has been a key all season. Other players who have been instrumental in the team’s success have been Val Wagner, Kristen Hicks, Carissa Simon and Kara Harlemert.

Coach Smith knows every game is tough as a team progresses through the tournament.

The New Washington Lady Mustangs will pose a solid test for Jac-Cen-Del.

Guard Ivy Ivers and center Jill Charlet have caught the attention of the JCD head coach. “We must be able to stop or contain both of them,” Smith commented. “Also sophomore Callie Burin is a good offensive rebounder.

“We must be able to control the tempo and the boards,” he added.

Class 2A at Batesville

Batesville High School will play host to the top two teams in Class 2A.

Top-ranked Heritage Christian (22-3) and Southwestern (Hanover) will kick off the regional tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday. Heritage Christian is the defending state champions in Class 2A.

Shenandoah (15-8), who was the state champion in 2004-05 and 2002-03, will battle Winchester in the second game at noon.

In all, four of the last five state champions will be competing in this regional. Southwestern won the title in 2001-02.

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