Local Sports

Waldron one win away from state championship game appearance

There will be a first-time challenger representing southern Indiana in the Class A girls basketball state championship game.

Class A, No. 1 Waldron (24-1), making its second semistate appearance in program history, battles No. 7 Tecumseh (18-8), making its first semistate appearance, at 1 p.m. Saturday at Jeffersonville High School for the right to play in the state finals Feb. 26 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.

“As a competitor, I want to win,” said Waldron head coach Anthony Thomas. “As a fan, I am happy for both teams.”

After an overtime win over No. 5 Jac-Cen-Del in the sectional championship game, Waldron knocked off two unranked teams in Bloomfield and Bethesda Christian to win the Southwestern Regional. The Mohawks’ only other regional championship came in 2010.

Tecumseh also needed overtime to defeat No. 9 Northeast Dubois in the sectional championship then overcame No. 11 Trinity Lutheran and No. 2 Lanesville to win the program’s first ever regional title. It was the Braves fourth-straight regional championship game appearance.



Waldron brings balance and experience, five seniors make up the starting lineup, to the semistate led by Bella Larrison (10.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Megan Bogemann (10.6 ppg, 71 three-pointers made) and Nichole Garner (10 ppg, 3.8 apg).

How the Mohawks handle the long road trip and the Jeffersonville atmosphere will be key to their success. Of their 25 games this season, only nine have not been played on Waldron’s home floor – the program hosted the Shelby County Tournament and Sectional 60 this season. And five of those road trips were to schools within Shelby County.

Thomas and the Mohawks practiced at Jeffersonville Wednesday and had a specific game plan in place.

“We will get a lot of shooting in. We want to take a lot of free throws,” said Thomas, who is 82-36 in five seasons at Waldron. He has announced this will be his final season at the helm. “We will work on a lot of stuff specifically for the game. I hope they enjoy the experience, it’s not every day this happens.”



What Waldron will prepare for is a team unlike what it has faced this season. Tecumseh (photo), located in southwestern Indiana, is battled tested – only eight of its 26 games have come against Class A programs – and determined to win the game in the low post.

Senior Kaybree Oxley, a five-foot, 10-inch forward, has been labeled the greatest female athlete in school history. She has excelled at softball, volleyball and basketball, where she has scored more than 1,800 career points.

“She is one of the best players to come through our area,” said Tecumseh head coach Adam Lubbehusen, 112-75 in his eighth season with the program. “She can shoot the ball. She is strong and she understands the game. She is probably a little unselfish which is hard for people to believe since she has scored 1,800 points but she wants her teammates to be just as successful as she is.”

Oxley leads the Braves in scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounds (9.3 rpg) and is backed by 5-9 sophomore Jenna Donohoo (12.4 ppg, 7 rpg).

The offense is directed by Karsyn Flowers (9.4 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3 spg).

“She is a spitfire. We kind of go as she goes,” said Lubbehusen. “When she is under control, we are pretty good.”



Also expected to start against Waldron are Pennelope Lemon (2.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg), a strong defender, and six-footer Morgan Wilson (5.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg), who will play basketball at Olney Central College next season.

The roster includes a bevy of players that have had tremendous athletic success at Tecumseh across three sports. Brianna Marx is committed to Indiana State University to play softball; Kinsly Heichelbach and Ashtyn Green are committed to Wabash Valley College for softball.

Waldron will focus on Oxley who makes Tecumseh difficult to handle.

“She hunts the boards,” said Thomas. “It’s a very, very strong team that looks for her. We will try to keep her off the blocks. She has my respect and our attention.”

Donohoo is a credible second scoring option in the low post.

“They feed off each other pretty well,” said Thomas.

The Mohawks would prefer to clog up the paint and force Tecumseh to hit from distance. The Braves shoot 51% inside the 3-point arc and 27.4% outside the arc.

Wilson leads Tecumseh with 34 made 3s. Green has 28 and Flowers is at 25.

Both teams will attempt to create defensive pressure throughout the court and force turnovers. The Mohawks are allowing 32 ppg this season and have allowed more than 50 points just once – to Jac-Cen-Del in the sectional championship game.

“They might be one of the best 3-2 matchup zone teams I’ve seen,” said Lubbehusen. “They switch tremendously well … they put a lot of pressure on you.”

It will be a 90-plus minute drive for both squads to reach Jeffersonville. Thomas believes the Waldron fan base, which filled three-quarters of Southwestern’s gymnasium Saturday night, will make the road trip south.

“I expect them to travel as they did in the regional … that type of crowd or better,” he said. “The community has surrounded these kids and taken them in. They will show up down there.”

The Class A northern semistate features No. 3 Lafayette Central Catholic (23-4) against No. 8 North White (20-6) at 4 p.m. at the Logansport Semistate.

Lafayette Central Catholic has captured three semistate titles – in 2006, 2015 and 2016, winning state titles all three years.

North White is seeking its first semistate title.