FORT WAYNE – In the biggest game of the year so far, the Warsaw girls basketball team will play in familiar surroundings. The IHSAA announced the semistate pairings Sunday, putting the Tigers on their home court against South Side on Saturday.
Warsaw (24-1) and South Side (23-3) will play at 6 p.m. in the Class 4A semistate, after the 2A semistate at 4 p.m. between Bishop Luers (14-11) and Eastern of Greentown (21-3). The sites were predetermined before the season, with the IHSAA filling in the regional winners based on driving distance.
In a Class A semistate, defending state champion Canterbury (23-3) plays Lafayette Central Catholic (17-9) at 1 p.m. at Crown Point.
The No. 8 Tigers, who beat Merrillville 42-41 in the Valparaiso Regional finals, were 12-0 this year at home.
It is one thing our senior group since Senior Night (Jan. 31) put as a goal of theirs to have the opportunity to play on the Tiger Den floor again, Warsaw coach Michelle Harter said. At this time of the year, it doesn’t matter where you are playing at, you have to come out and be ready to play. It will be nice to have it at home, and our fans don’t have to travel. As far as an advantage because we practice there all year long, it is a big game and whichever team comes out and plays will be the one who walks away with that semistate.
Life on the road won’t be much different for the No. 11 Archers, who played only five home games this year. South Side took out Logansport 71-55 in the finals of the Kokomo Regional.
That has helped us to be able to be ready for something like this, South Side coach Juanita Goodwell said of playing on Warsaw’s home floor.
It is not the most ideal scenario, but it is not something we can’t change. What we have been through this season will be a blessing for us.
Bishop Luers will be playing in its fourth straight semistate, having won the previous three. The No. 14 Knights, who beat Boone Grove 67-40 in the Rochester Regional finals, previously played a semistate at Warsaw in 2010.
Being on a bus for three hours and then three hours home is really dreadful, Bishop Luers coach Denny Renier said of the alternative of playing at the other northern semistate site at Crown Point. We didn’t look forward to that.
The No. 1 Cavaliers beat Oregon-Davis 79-54 in the finals at the Caston Regional and are gunning for their fifth state championship in the past six years.