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Basketball pairings for the 36th annual high school girls state basketball tournament were drawn Sunday evening by officials at the Indiana High School Athletic Association with both Adams Central and Bellmont drawing into the bye game of their respective tournament.
Play is scheduled to open at both the South Adams (class 2A, sectional 38) and Peru (class 3A, sectional 22) sites on Tuesday, February 8 with both events being a five-team tournament. The Peru site formerly included six teams but with Elmhurst closing this year, the number of teams is dropping with realignment of all sectionals coming later this year.
The South Adams tournament features state power Bishop Luers in the opening game against Bluffton at 7 p.m. Bishop Luers enters tournament play with a 15-2 slate and is 5-1 in SAC play. They are scheduled to play SAC leader Snider tonight and if the Knights win that game, there will be a three-way tie for first place in the SAC. Bluffton is a meager 2-16 on the season and finished 1-6 in the ACAC.
On Friday night at 6 p.m. at South Adams, the 1-16 Starfires will start its second season by taking on the Woodlan Warriors (4-3 and 8-10 respectively. Following that game at approximately 7:30 p.m., Adams Central is slated to battle the winner of the Bishop Luers-Bluffton contest. The Jets are 4-3 in the ACAC and 8-10 overall this year.
The title game of the South Adams sectional is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 12 at the Stardome.
The mileage-laden sectional for Bellmont gives them one break in that they won't have to make the long trek to Peru on Tuesday on opening night.
The Squaws, currently 1-6 in the NHC and 8-11 overall, will most likely play highly-ranked Norwell in the first game on Friday, the 4th at 6 p.m. Norwell, which finished 6-1 in the NHC and 16-2 for the season, is ranked third in the ICGSA class 3A poll and 13th in the state-wide IBCA poll, and will play Maconaquah in the tournament opener on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Braves are struggling this season with a 2-16 slate.
On Friday, in addition to the Bellmont game, Wayne (4-3 and 9-9) will take on the host Tigers of Peru (7-11). Bellmont defeated Wayne earlier in the year 48-46 but lost to Norwell several weeks ago. The championship game has a 7:30 p.m. tipoff time on the 12th.
"The draw helps us a lot," noted Bellmont coach Tory Fuelling this morning.
"It gives us a whole week to prepare and we don't have to go over to Peru (about 75 miles from Decatur) on Tuesday. We just have to convince the girls to believe they can go in and compete against them (Norwell). We competed with them pretty well for about two and a half quarters when we played earlier this year but there are some things we can do defensively to try and slow them down," he said.
Fuelling concluded by saying "the key to our success will be having all of our players contribute. We just can't rely on two or three players to pull us through. Everyone has to contribute."
Elmhurst is the defending champion at the Peru sectional (for the past three years) so a new title holder is automatically assured. Bishop Luers has won the class 2A sectional 22 the past three years as well.
The winner of the Peru sectional will make a repeat visit to Peru for the regional to play the winner of the Mississinewa tournament. The South Adams sectional victor will travel to Cass High School for the regional to play the winner of the Seeger sectional.