Indiana Sports Talk
Top 5 Games of the Weekend
Weekend of March 7-8
This may be the busiest and most exciting weekend for high school basketball. Boys sectional action tipped off Tuesday to officially begin Hoosier Hysteria leading up to Saturday night when 64 teams will cut down the nets as sectional champs. Adding to that the IHSAA girls state basketball championships will be held Saturday. The Hulman Center in Terre Haute will host the four title games featuring some of the state’s powerhouse programs. With so much going on, I was forced to once again expand the top games this week. Starting with the top five sectional final fours this weekend and then the girls state championships.
Sectional 10 at Lawrence North- #2 Indianapolis Tech, #14 Lawrence Central
Sectional 26 at Indianapolis Marshall- #2 Guerin Catholic, #9 Brebeuf Jesuit
Sectional 29 at Greensburg- #1 Greensburg, #8 Batesville
6. Sectional 42 at Broad Ripple
This 2A sectional not only features the #1 team in Park Tudor (18-4), but also has all four semifinal squads with 13 wins or more. Park Tudor is definitely the favorite in this sectional and in the state tournament. Their biggest threat here could come in the championship game against #9 Indianapolis Scecina (17-5). They too have spent most of their time in the top ten this season. Park Tudor faces Indianapolis Shortridge (14-7) in the first semifinal with Scecina matching up with Indianapolis Howe (13-7) in the second. Howe could be the sleeper here.
5. Sectional 30 at North Harrison
This sectional opened up with three teams ranked in the top 13. One of them has already fallen as Silver Creek (13-8) beat #13 Madison on Wednesday night. Still remaining are #6 Corydon Central (19-3) and #7 Brownstown Central (19-3). BC will play underdog Charlestown (6-15) in one semifinal and Corydon will face upset minded Silver Creek in the other. A sectional final with BC getting the winner of that second contest would be extremely exciting.
4. Sectional 40 at Lapel
It is rare to see two twenty win teams face off this early in the tournament, but could be the case Saturday night. This 2A sectional features the #3 team in the state Wapahani (20-1) and the #4 team Frankton (20-2). Frankton was the only team to beat Wapahani and that came all the way back on December 27. Before we get to a top five showdown there are two very interesting semifinal games. The opener has Wapahani facing the host Lapel (14-8). The second tilt sees Winchester (12-6) take on Frankton. Don’t sleep on Lapel or Winchester as they are solid teams, but a match up of highly rated teams would make for a great championship game.
3. Sectional 49 at Morgan Township
Normally when you talk about this part of the state you talk about the big boys, but lest you forget the overall quality of basketball in northwest Indiana (The Region). This sectional is a perfect example and could be the toughest slate of any this weekend. All four teams remaining are in the class A top 15 poll including two top five teams. The first semifinal pairs #3 Marquette Catholic (14-6) against #15 Washington Township (16-5). Marquette has been a top five team most of the year and would probably have been the favorite coming in. The second semifinal has #15 Gary 21st Century (14-5) taking on #5 Kouts (16-4). Obviously whoever comes out of this sectional will have earned their regional trip.
2. Sectional 8 at Noblesville
Year in and year out this is one of the top sectionals in the state. It also still has that local flavor to it like the old days with five of the teams located in Hamilton County and then add in local rivals Zionsville and North Central (Indianapolis) into the mix. This sectional is also the only sectional to have three top ten teams in it. Starting with #1 Carmel (20-1) who is the two-time defending state champion. This sectional also has #3 Hamilton Southeastern (20-3) and #9 North Central (16-6). Don’t forget about the fourth semifinalist who is the host Noblesville (14-6), a team that has won six out of seven. The Friday night match ups should be great with Noblesville challenging HSE and Carmel against North Central. The competition level will be high and it will be interesting to see if anyone can take out defending champ Carmel.
T1. A #4 Vincennes Rivet (22-4) vs. A #1 Oregon-Davis (22-2)
This state finals showdown features two of the best girls programs in the state. Vincennes Rivet is making their fifth title game appearance in the last six years. They won the championship back in 2011. They have won 12 in a row coming into this game beating 3 top ten opponents in the tournament already. Oregon-Davis may not have the state finals appearance of Rivet, but a lot of that is because they couldn’t get past the hurdle of Ft. Wayne Canterbury. With Canterbury moving up to 2A, the door was open for OD. The Bobcats won the 2007 state championship and this is their first return trip since. They lead the state with an average margin of victory of 35.5 points a game.
T1. 2A #1 Heritage Christian (26-1) vs. 2A #3 Ft. Wayne Canterbury (20-4)
The second game of the day in Terre Haute could be the best match up. These are two of the most dominant programs over the past decade. Heritage Christian is back in the state finals for the first time since 2009 when they capped off an unprecedented four-peat of championships. Head coach Rick Risinger is looking to become the first girls coach to win five state championships. Ft. Wayne Canterbury had dominated class A girls basketball over the past six years winning five state titles in that stretch. Moving up a class due to the tournament success factor did not slow down this juggernaut. They have rolled through the tournament this far winning all of their games by double figures.
T1. 3A #2 Evansville Mater Dei (26-1) vs. 3A #6 Western (22-3)
Evansville Mater Dei is in a familiar place but at a different time. The Wildcats have one the last two 2A state titles so they were moved up due to the tournament success factor playing in the evening session this time around. Mater Dei is riding a 19 game winning streak into the finals. Their championship game experience could be an advantage in this contest. Western is the underdog in this game simply because Mater Dei has been there and done that, but don’t look past the Panthers. They have won 13 of their last 14 games and have an average point differential of 21.7 a game. The program’s history may not be strong, but this team’s talent is and they will come with confidence on Saturday.
T1. 4A #2 Bedford North Lawrence (26-1) vs. 4A #4 Penn (25-1)
The Bedford North Lawrence Stars may be known more by casual fans due to their coach, Hoosier legend Damon Bailey, than their actual ability, but when you see them play you know why they are competing for back-to-back state titles. BNL has a roster filled with talented players many will be playing Division I college basketball down the road. Saturday will see their third consecutive game against a top four opponent so it has not been an easy road for them. They come with a record of 54-1 over the past two seasons. Penn is playing for their first girls basketball title , but this will be their second trip in four seasons. The Kingsmen are hot having won 16 straight to earn a trip to Terre Haute. They do it on the defensive end holding their opponents to just 33.5 points a game. That will be key to keep BNL in check. Surprisingly this will be the first ranked opponent they will have faced in the tournament.
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