Canterbury (Class A) and Concordia (3A) will begin the treacherous trek through the girls basketball postseason in hopes of getting a chance to defend their 2012 state championships when sectionals get under way next week as the IHSAA postseason draw was revealed Sunday.
Sectional host Canterbury (17-3) opens up against Blackhawk Christian (6-12) on Feb. 6, while Concordia (12-6), ranked No. 14 in 3A, will open up against Leo (17-3) on Feb. 5 at Bishop Dwenger.
The top-ranked Cavaliers are 3-0 against sectional foes, beating the Braves, Lakewood Park (13-4) and Bethany Christian (9-9) by significant margins.
It’s a matter of we have to come out and play hard because every year you see upsets at the sectional level, Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger said. Any time you go into a ballgame not prepared and ready to play your best, you stand a risk at not coming out on the winning side.
Canterbury has won four of the last five Class A state titles, but this will be the first run without Wayne’s son, Scott, as the coach. Scott Kreiger moved over to coach the Cavalier boys this season. The Cavs still lead the state in scoring at 71 points per game, but that’s down 10 points from last year.
We are starting to put everything together, Wayne Kreiger said. We have done some additions have we have gone through the year that hopefully they are comfortable at this point.
The Cadets beat the ACAC co-champion Lions in overtime in last year’s sectional finals. Concordia, which also won the 2010 3A state title, lost three starters from last year’s 21-5 team.
Canterbury, which lost only one starter from last year’s championship team, will enter postseason play having played two much-bigger schools. The Cavs lost to Hamilton Southeastern on Friday, 72-69, and face Carmel on Thursday.
It helps to prepare, obviously, Wayne Kreiger said. That’s the reason why they are there. We have to keep it in perspective that these schools are much larger, and they do have strong programs. To play those strong teams at the end of the season will hopefully springboard us into the tournament and get us ready to face anything we might face in our tournament schedule.
The Cavaliers will have senior Bailey Farley back for the playoffs. The Loyola of Chicago recruit returned last week after missing time after Christmas with a bruised knee.
The 2012 2A state runner-up No. 15 Bishop Luers (8-10) has been to three straight 2A state title games and gets Adams Central (7-12) in the first round at Bluffton.
Other matchups include a few ranked area teams.
In 4A, No. 5 South Side plays Wayne at Homestead, No. 8 Warsaw has Elkhart Memorial at Concord and No. 15 and host Homestead has Jay County. In 3A, No. 5 Norwell plays host Mississinewa, No. 8 Angola got a bye at Dwenger.