Ashlynn Shade, Noblesville’s super freshman who leads the Lady Millers with a 20.3 scoring average and placed third in Hoosier Crossroads Conference scoring, will get her first taste of intense tournament pressure in tonight’s semifinal round of Sectional 8 at Westfield High School.

And there’s a pretty good chance that she’ll likely handle her part of the challenge quite well.

This is a new season. Noblesville’s 10-12 record, worst in the field, means very little.

Time to hit on all cylinders and produce a cohesive team effort. 

That’s what really matters at tourney time.

Each surviving team has at least one go-to player when times are tough.

Shade will likely need to be that player once again for the Lady Millers.

Some have referred to Shade, a 5-9 guard, as a phenom.

Yeah, that was the way many described her before she even took her first shot in a varsity basketball game back in November.

She’s also the only player on her team in double figures this season. In addition to her scoring prowess, Shade averaged 6.9 rebounds, 4.3 steals, 2.3 assists, and shot 50 percent from the field, including 36 percent from behind the 3-point arch, and has made 74 percent of her free throws.

And Shade has three more years to add to her already lofty credentials that put her at No. 27 among Indiana’s top scorers in girls basketball this season. Yep, she could be really special before she picks up her high school diploma.

But first things first, and the first thing is the sectional semifinals where big efforts will be needed by all.

Third-ranked Fishers (21-1) and Noblesville drew first-round byes.

The Lady Tigers, the Hoosier Crossroads Conference champions, play in tonight’s opener against

Westfield (14-10), while Noblesville must contend with defending state champion HSE (21-2) in the second game.

The winners advance to Saturday’s championship matchup, where they hope to punch their ticket into the Feb. 15 Marion Regional.

So, who will shine under the bright lights?

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

HSE senior Sydney Parrish surpassed the Hamilton County girls scoring record which had stood for 31 years. Her 25-point output in Tuesday’s 51-44 sectional win over Carmel upped her total to 1,887 points, breaking the 1,869 mark of 1989 Noblesville graduate Courtney Cox.

Also on Tuesday, the Oregon-bound Parrish was named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2020 Jersey Mike’s Subs Naismith Girls High School Player of the Year Trophy.

ELSEWHERE

In the Class 2A opener on Tuesday at Western Boone, second-ranked University (22-1), behind Lindsey Syrek’s 21 points, advanced to tonight’s semifinal opener against Covenant Christian (15-8). Syrek now has scored 1,801 career points.

Also in Class 3A Wednesday at Bishop Chatard, Guerin Catholic (9-14), seeking the school’s first girls sectional title, advanced to the second semifinal game and will meet No. 8 Heritage Christian (16.7).

Some top Hamilton County scorers still in the hunt for sectional titles:

Averages in (parentheses)

4A Sectional  8 at Westfield

HSE seniors Sydney Parrish (25.3) and Jackie Maulucci (11.4).

Fishers junior Katie Burton (15.0)

Noblesville’s Ashlynn Shade (20.3), junior Mallory Miller (9.9).

Westfield sophomore Alyssa Crockett (14.1) and senior Ava Henson (13.8).

3A Sectional 27

Guerin Catholic senior Nicole Cunningham (12.9).

2A Sectional 43

University senior Lindsey Syrek (18.8), senior Maddie Sears (14.7) and freshman Kelsey DuBois (11.4)

NOTABLES

*—HSE varsity girls coach Chris Huppenthal was recently named the National Federation of High School Association basketball coach of the year. He was selected for his team’s 2018-19 state-championship season. The only loss for the Lady Royals in that 27-1 season came outside of Indiana.

*—The McDonald’s All-American Game will be played on April 1 at Houston’s Toyota Center. The 19th Annual girls game tips off at 5 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. The 43rd annual boys game follows at 7 o’clock and will be carried by ESPN. Tickets can be purchased through the Toyota Center box office. Hamilton SE’s Sydney Parrish is one of 24 student-athletes in the girls game.

*—Boys sectional tournament dates are March 3-4 and 6-7.

*—Mark Morrow, a Hall of Fame Indiana sportswriter, has resided in Hamilton County since 1989. You can follow him in The Times, and on Twitter at mmediamarko12. He can be reached at mediamarko5@gmail.com or by calling 317 460-8018.