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Here are five things that Fort Wayne-area prep basketball fans will learn this weekend:
The Archers are aiming for their first-ever trip to the state championship game, but will have to knock off a team on its home court to do it. Warsaw hosts the Class 4A North Semi-state, and the Tigers are just who South Side will face on Saturday evening. The hopes for the Archers may ride on containing 6-foot-1 forward Nikki Grose, who dropped 22 points on Penn in the regional championship. South Side played the 23rd most difficult schedule in the state according to Sagarin and Saturday is the reason why, playing a one-loss team on its home court in semi-state.
Pardon me for believing that this is just a formality, as the Knights go for a trip to their fourth consecutive state championship game. Eastern is a solid team, but not a dominant one that it takes to knock off Bishop Luers in the Class 2A playoffs. The young roster for the Knights has grown up immeasurably over the course of a season that included 11 regular-season losses. That will pay off against a veteran Eastern squad looking to pull the upset. And it would be an upset, despite the discrepancy in record (Eastern 21-3, Bishop Luers 14-11).
Another game that will be surprising if it goes against the area team is Canterbury's match-up with Lafayette Central Catholic on Saturday at Crown Point. All due respect to the Knights, Canterbury is playing in another league as its Class A opponents this postseason. The Cavaliers have beaten their five playoff opponents by an average of 44 points per game. The closest game for top-ranked Canterbury was the regional final against No. 2 Oregon-Davis, a 25-point victory. That means that the Cavaliers could get their biggest challenge of the playoffs and still win by 20.
The Cadets may have gotten a huge victory over New Haven last Thursday without its senior forward, but there is no doubt that a deep run for Concordia in the Class 3A playoffs hinges on the health of Gremaux. Nursing a high ankle sprain since last week, Gremaux was said to still be only at “60 percent” according to Coach Josh Eggold earlier this week. Gremaux will not see the floor on Friday against Columbia City unless his ankle is at 95 percent or better. It is worth keeping an eye on if Gremaux suits up for the Cadets against the Eagles, let alone plays. Concordia has only four days between Columbia City and its first round sectional game with Bishop Dwenger, so a speedy recovery for Gremaux would be beneficial.
First off, let us get one thing straight, even if the Bruins lose at No. 8 Kokomo (18-2) on Friday to finish the regular season with four losses in their last five games, Northrop is still the team to beat in Sectional 6. The Bruins (16-6) have not been losing to patsies, but instead to teams a combined 54-9 in Concordia, Columbia City and Pike. A victory over Homestead on Tuesday was huge, especially with it coming on the road. There is no doubt that win or lose the Bruins are a good bet to hoist the sectional trophy next Saturday, but could there be concern for the team's confidence? Being a senior-laden team could help avoid that pitfall.