Seven teams. All of them above .500.
There is no easy path when it comes to Class 4A Sectional 9. That includes Richmond’s route.
Still, RHS coach Casey Pohlenz does not lack for confidence in his team.
“I think we can go toe-to-toe with anybody,” he said.
That includes Wednesday’s opponent. Richmond drew Anderson, the only team in the tournament without a loss to a sectional foe.
The Indians also stopped Richmond 84-33 on Dec. 14.
Pohlenz does not expect a repeat of that regular-season meeting.
“We drew a really good team, but every night in a sectional setup is a championship game,” Pohlenz said. “You have to win to continue.
“I think the kids feel good about themselves. We’re improving. We’re getting better.”
Richmond finished the regular season with Saturday’s 60-47 win at Guerin Catholic. It guaranteed the Red Devils could no finish no lower than .500 for a fourth consecutive season.
“With the schedule we’ve played, the injuries, all the ups and downs we’ve had, I can’t credit our kids enough,” Pohlenz said. “They’re just tough.”
Greenfield-Central opens the tournament 7 p.m. Tuesday against newcomer Mt. Vernon, last year’s Class 3A state champion.
New Castle faces Pendleton Heights at 6 p.m. Wednesday, followed by RHS-Anderson. Host Connersville drew the bye and will meet the Greenfield-Mt. Vernon winner in Friday’s first semifinal at 6 p.m.
Richmond already has won once at Spartan Bowl this year, knocking off the home team 45-28 on Jan. 14. It was the first time Richmond had beaten Connersville since the 2000 sectional — also the last time the Red Devils won a sectional championship.
“That will help us boost self-esteem,” RHS senior Bailey Hillard said of already winning once this season in Connersville. “We know that floor and that atmosphere. We’ll be ready.”
The championship is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The winner advances to the Decatur Central regional on Feb. 22.
“I like where we are,” Pohlenz said. “We’re continuing to grow and develop. … We have to keep doing that. We can’t get stagnant now and we can’t stop progressing.”