Winamac coach Kyle Johnson said his team has gained confidence in two areas that he and the coaching staff have emphasized the most: defense and rebounding.
After handing Boone Grove their 19th straight loss with a 48-41 win in the Class 2A, Sectional 34 quarterfinals Tuesday, they'll try to end North Newton's (1-19) season at 8 p.m. today.
Johnson assured that his team will not overlook the Spartans, who haven't won a sectional in 33 years and haven't won a sectional game in five.
"North Newton plays extremely hard from tip to buzzer," Johnson said. "They have some skill positions that can really put the ball in the basket. We need to keep them off the boards and not give easy baskets off offensive rebounds."
North Miami lost to Lewis Cass 58-53 in the season opener for both teams Nov. 24.
Now that it has been mentioned, you can pretty much forget about it, North Miami coach Matt Storm said.
"A lot has changed since then," Storm said. "They've had some personnel changes, and both teams have evolved with the season. It's definitely a game that I've watched but not one we'll be relying upon to build our game plan."
Storm says rebounding will be the key to victory, and Lewis Cass getting mammoth center Jake Rouch back from an unspecified surgical procedure won't make rebounding easy. Rouch is listed as 6-7 and upwards of 330 pounds.
"We have to want it more than them," Storm said.
The Warriors come off a 71-67 overtime win over Southwood Tuesday. They led 30-27 at halftime despite Southwood's nine first-half three-pointers.
"I am encouraged by the resilience and confidence we showed not only in the first half but for the entire game against Southwood," Storm said.
John Harris had 22 points, 10 rebounds and five steals.
"He is an emotional leader for us and doesn't want his senior year to be over," Storm said. "Tuesday's performance is likely one of the best games of his career, and I look forward to seeing his performance this weekend."