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Girls basketball: Lowell gets favorable draw

Hunter Jusevitch leads Lowell with 15 points per game as Red Devils head inpostseason. | Mark Smith/For Star

Hunter Jusevitch leads Lowell with 15 points per game as the Red Devils head into the postseason. | Mark Smith/For the Star

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Updated: February 4, 2014 1:04PM



Sometimes it’s hard to determine. Sometimes it’s all the same. But in 2014, the big winner in the draw for the IHSAA girls’ basketball state tournament in Northwest Indiana is Lowell.

Not only will Lowell (9-7) be at home for the seven-team Class 4A Sectional 1 bracket, but also they will face either East Chicago (4-14) or Morton (8-11) in the Friday, Feb. 14 semifinals.

Lowell, which has won only two girls basketball sectionals (1994 and 2000) in school history, can also watch Lake Central (17-2), West Side (13-3) and Highland (14-4) battle it out on the opposite half of the bracket.

It’s not stretching the imagination to predict that Lowell will play for the sectional title on its home floor the night of Saturday. Feb. 15.

If you need to be lucky and good to win a sectional, Lowell is half way home. They aren’t the favorite’ but the Red Devils have to be excited by the path they drew.

“They weren’t discouraged,” Lowell coach Matt Welsh said with a smile on Monday. “They were happy. It’s pretty rare to get the bye two years in a row. But we’re not good enough to worry about getting a bye or when we play. We go Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday this week. We’ve got to get through that. These girls have been through a lot (with postponements) in the last three weeks.”

Hanover Central (7-9) had four games scheduled for the final week before they open sectional play on Wednesday against New Prairie. Coach Doug Nelson did not know much about the Cougars, the team his girls drew in the seven-team 3A Sectional 18, which Hanover will host starting Tuesday.

“We’re going to have to do some homework,” he admitted Sunday. “But that’s part of what I like about the state tournament. That you have to get n the Internet and do some digging into who has what.”

Hanover didn’t get a first round bye, but it did draw a 3-13 team and then the winner of the Calumet (3-14) game against Andrean (5-13), two teams Hanover has beat this season.

“I like the fact that we play Wednesday and I hope we play the second game Wednesday so our girls can sit in the stands and watch two teams really go at it,” Nelson said. “We’re kinda young and that should help them get into the mood of sectional play.”

Like Lowell, the Cats appear to have a solid chance to get to the sectional title game against Kankakee Valley (12-5), the only winning team in the bracket.

“Yeah, but you know how it is this time of year,” Nelson reminded. “Anybody can jump up and beat anybody.
You have to be ready for every game.”

But like Lowell, Hanover also has to be careful not to wear themselves out the final week with four games on the schedule.

“There’s already a forecast of more snow but three of them are league games (GSSC) and we have to get them in,” he added.

There are no byes in the Class 4A Sectional 2 at Hobart and nobody got an easy draw.

Crown Point will open Tuesday night against Portage (10-9). The winner will take on Hobart (11-8) or Duneland Conference champion LaPorte (17-1) in the Friday, Feb. 14 semifinals.

CP defeated Portage in December, but they lost at home to LaPorte in November. The Bulldogs, who have not won a sectional since 2001, end the regular season at Hobart on Friday night.

CP is looking to finish seven games over .500 for the first time since going 17-6 in 2005.

Merrillville (12-6), the defending 4A Sectional 2 champion, lost 60-51 to Penn on Monday and the Pirates will finish third in the DAC. But with losses only to Penn (17-10), Washington (13-5), LaPorte (17-1), St. Josephs (10-3) and LC (17-2) twice, Merrillville can’t be discounted.

With Victoria Gaines (14.2 ppg.) and AJ Downs (12.3 ppg.) and Jasmine Talley (11.1 ppg,.) the Pirates have experienced scorers even though they don’t have a lot of overall experience.



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