With just about everyone back from last year’s Class 3-A state runner-up campaign, North Harrison girls basketball coach Missy Voyles knew her team this season would face enormous expectations.
Voyles has tried to weather those expectations with a laid-back approach, especially early in the season. “High school basketball is supposed to be fun,” she said after North Harrison’s opener at Lanesville in November.
So far, North Harrison (24-2) certainly hasn’t disappointed, winning its first 14 games of the season before falling to Greenfield-Central in the Hall of Fame Classic at New Castle. The other loss came on the road at Class 4-A No. 9 Bedford North Lawrence, right in the middle of the Stars’ 11-game winning streak. BNL will host a regional Saturday.
Voyles said her team is playing some of its best basketball of the season after ripping through the Corydon Sectional 30, handily beating Silver Creek (56-33), Corydon (55-11) and Charlestown (71-32).
“We’re peaking at the right time,” Voyles said. “We’re really passing the ball well into the post. We’re starting to play a lot more high-to-low post offense. We’re taking higher percentage shots.”
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In a nutshell, the plan is to get the ball to 6-foot-1 Lilly Hatton, one of the best sophomores in Indiana. When she gets it, Hatton is shooting 63 percent from the field and averaging 20.5 points an outing.
“The 3-point shot is not the end-all on the offensive end,” Voyles said.
In the middle of another postseason run, Voyles said she’s thrilled junior Cali Nolot gets to play a part. Nolot missed last year’s postseason because of a broken hand.
No. 1-ranked North Harrison will face No. 7 Rushville (22-3) in the Charlestown Regional Saturday at noon, preceded by Evansville Memorial (17-7) against Vincennes (20-6) at 10 a.m. The final is set for 8 p.m. that night. North Harrison and Rushville played one common opponent. North Harrison beat Seymour 69-43, while Rushville lost to the Owls 61-49.
“This is a really competitive team,” Voyles said. “They’ll be ready to go. … I think we have a team capable of winning it. (But) I’m not looking past Saturday at Charlestown.”
Local girls basketball regional schedules
Class 4-A at BNL: Evansville Central (23-1) will take on Columbus North (19-7) in the opener, and No. 9 BNL (20-4) will go up against Martinsville (21-4). Final at 8 p.m.
Class 2-A at Paoli: Eastern Pekin (19-7) will tackle South Knox (14-13), and No. 6 South Ripley (22-4) will face Forest Park (17-10). Final at 8 p.m.
Class 1-A at Springs Valley: South Central (18-7) will meet No. 2 Vincennes Rivet (22-3) on Saturday, and Crothersville (19-8) will face top-ranked Wood Memorial (24-1). Final at 8 p.m.
Crothersville — a small town in Jackson County and one of the top stories in the state — just won its first sectional in any sport since joining the IHSAA more than 100 years ago. The school has 134 students in four grades and just 24 seniors, according to the IHSAA.