Last Saturday, the Sheridan Blackhawks girls' basketball team captured its first ever sectional title in school history by defeating a rejuvenated Elwood team 67-52.

The win also gave Blackhawks' head coach Jeff Guenther his 100th win as the Sheridan girls' basketball head coach.

To win the school's first-ever girls' basketball sectional title the Blackhawks first dismantled a battle-tested Taylor team whose record was somewhat misleading. The Blackhawks were very balanced offensively in their attack against the Titans and dispatched them with ease to move on to the next round.

The Blackhawks then exorcised some demons by routing the Tipton Blue Devils in the semifinal round of the sectional. The Blue Devils stole a win from the Blackhawks on Jan. 10 by a score of 54-53. The Blackhawks enacted their revenge to the tune of 16-point blowout.

"We played really well the first two games against Taylor and Tipton," Guenther said. "I felt our effort on the defensive end was very good, we were able to hold both opponents to low shooting percentages."

They had their work cut out for them in the sectional championship game. The Elwood Panthers forced the Blackhawks into a battle, and Sheridan didn't come to life until the second half.

The Panthers came out defensively in a zone look that really confused the Blackhawks and caused them to put up some bad shots.

"Elwood was battle tested," Guenther stated. "They were well prepared and we struggled against their zone."

But the tide began to shift in favor of the Blackhawks as they made some late adjustments on both sides of the ball that helped them get the win.

"On the offensive end we started cutting harder and with a purpose," he said. "That allowed Reed to get to the basket and our shooters to get some open looks that we were able to knock down."

The Blackhawks sharpshooters, Brittany Welch and Audrey Reed had stellar performances in the championship game. Welch dropped 32 points and Reed added 24 points for 56 of the Blackhawks' total points that evening.

Now that the moment has sunk in and the dust has settled, the Blackhawks are back to work to continue their run toward a state title.

However, now the road gets a lot tougher against a Fountain Central team that has only lost to one Class 2A opponent all year.

The Mustangs (20-3) are similar to the Blackhawks in terms of makeup. They rely on a couple of young underclassmen to facilitate the offense and are backed by a great group of seniors that hold the team together.

A key difference is that the Mustangs rely heavily on their post play. Their two primary scoring threats, sophomores Macee Williams and Maggie Fishero, have been dominating the post all season. For the Blackhawks to be successful they'll have to limit the Mustangs' touches in the low post.

"Fountain Central is an excellent basketball team," Guenther said. "They rely heavily on their post play with two 6-foot forwards."

"She has great hands and they do a really good job of delivering the ball high," he explained of the Mustangs' Williams. "She is an excellent athlete and does a good job of going up and getting the ball; we will need to limit her touches and block out well."

The Blackhawks will need to have big games from Reed and Welch, who have shouldered the offensive load for the team all season long.

Welch averages 19.9 points per game and Reed brings in 13.8 on average. When the two scorers are on point there is no stopping the Blackhawks. If one is having an off shooting day then things get a little tense.

The rest of the Blackhawks have been stepping up as of late and have helped carry the scoring burden in the tournament. However, if the Blackhawks want to move on to the regional final someone other than Welch or Reed is going to need to have a good game offensively.

Tipoff for the game is scheduled for noon this Saturday at Lapel High School. Should the Blackhawks win, they'll play the winner of the Wabash and Shenandoah which is set to begin at 10:30 a.m.