Devils' path is set

Devils' path is set

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Devils' path is set

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Richmond completed a weekend sweep Saturday with a road win at Fortville over host Mount Vernon.

The rematch will be on a neutral court — and will open Class 4A Sectional 9 at New Castle.

The Red Devils drew Mount Vernon for a 7 p.m. matchup March 4 at New Castle Fieldhouse as tournament pairings around the state were announced on Sunday.

“We’re looking forward to playing an opponent we’re familiar with,” said RHS coach Joe Luce. “Our guys have a good idea of personnel and style of play. Maybe that will be beneficial for us.”

The RHS-Mount Vernon winner moves on to face Greenfield-Central in a 6 p.m. semifinal March 7.

Anderson faces Pendleton Heights and Connersville drew New Castle for the March 5 games, with the Indians and defending champion Arabians tipping off at 6 p.m.

Semifinals are March 7 and the tournament final is 7:30 p.m. March 8.

The eighth-ranked Red Devils halted Mount Vernon 47-34 on Saturday to improve to 18-2. Richmond is 3-0 against the sectional field, with wins over the Marauders, Connersville and Anderson.

“They are a young team that has nothing to lose,” Luce said of the Marauders. “They went through lots of adversity this year with different players not participating or getting injured. They are very well coached. Travis Daugherty has done a great job keeping those guys focused.”

Richmond is focused, too, on trying for the Red Devils’ first sectional title since 1996. RHS has 62 total championships, fifth most in the state.

Pendleton Heights has won the last three New Castle crowns, ousting Richmond on all three occasions. Two of those games were tournament finals.

Mount Vernon is a newcomer to the New Castle field. The Marauders were a semistate team in Class 3A a year ago.

“The matchups are ones that there is such familiarity with opponents that I think it will make for great games,” Luce said. “There are definitely coaches in this tournament that will have their teams prepared, and will be tough outs each and every game. It’s going to be a very good tournament.”

Richmond, Pendleton (14-5) and Connersville (12-8) come into the tournament with winning records.

Mount Vernon is 8-12, Anderson 9-11, New Castle 7-11 and Greenfield 5-16.

Pendleton has a 4-1 mark against the sectional field, with the Arabians’ only loss coming to Anderson 61-48 in a tournament on Jan. 10.

Connersville is 2-2 with wins over New Castle and Mount Vernon, and losses to Richmond and Pendleton on back-to-back nights Dec. 13 and 14. The Spartans also play host to Greenfield on Tuesday.

“I feel like we’ve been preparing since we walked out of there a year ago in March,” Luce said. “Our kids have continued to improve, had a great preseason, a fantastic year winning a conference championship. I think it gives us confidence we can win a championship. Ultimately, we just have to perform when we get to New Castle.”

The New Castle winner advances to the Southport regional on March 15.

Richmond won the North Central Conference title outright for the first time since 1988 this past Friday with an 81-73 win over Kokomo at Tiernan Center. That gave the Red Devils their third outright conference crown in program history.

“We just need to keep getting better,” said RHS junior Davious Webster. “Get ourselves prepared for sectionals. That’s what all these games back-to-back are all about, to play in sectionals and regionals. We’re just keeping ourselves focused and getting ourselves ready for this sectional.”

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