Indiana Sports Talk
Top 5 Games of the Weekend
Weekend of February 28-March 1
This is an interesting weekend in high school basketball. The regular season for the boys schedule will conclude while sixteen girls teams will be competing for semi-state titles. Boys’ sectional action will start up on Tuesday across the state and next Saturday four girls’ state championship games will be held at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute. With so much going on, I decided this week to list my four favorite boys and girls games.
4. A #1 Oregon-Davis (21-2) vs. A #7 Lafayette Central Catholic (19-5)
3. A #4 Vincennes Rivet (21-4) vs. A #8 Jac-Cen-Del (19-3)
2. 2A #3 Ft. Wayne Canterbury (19-4) vs. 2A #5 Tipton (18-4)
1. 4A #1 Lawrence North (25-1) at 4A #2 Bedford North Lawrence (25-1)
The only thing more you could ask for is that these two teams could have met in the state finals. Both are competing in the south portion of the bracket so instead we get this game in the semi-state. Still you cannot complain. These have been the top two girls teams all season. This game is actually a rematch as well with Lawrence North topping BNL 59-49 back on January 10th. Since then the Lady Stars have rolled off 12 straight wins and have not had a tournament game closer than 14 points. Lawrence North had their lone set back the night after beating BNL losing to Pike 53-50. They ride an eleven game winning streak into Saturday, but have been tested already in the tournament. Their last three games have all been decided by single digits including the third match up with Pike in the regional final. This game should be a great one. Both teams are stacked with talented players. The slight edge may go to BNL since they will be playing this game at home.
4. 4A #4 Ft. Wayne North (20-1) at Homestead (15-6)
Ft. Wayne North may be the least publicized one loss team around. The Redskins have steamrolled opponents this season winning by an average margin of 18.1 ppg. The only loss on the record came nearly two months ago to Columbus North 59-54 back on January 4. Since then they have rolled off ten straight wins and are closing the season strong winning their last three games by an average of 35.6 points. Head coach Shabaz Khaliq has his team peaking at the right time and hoping to carry it into March. Homestead has quietly put together a very nice season. They finished second in the Northeast Hoosier conference and with the exception of their season opening loss at Huntington North have lost all other games by eight points or less. For head coach Chris Johnson and the Spartans a victory over North could propel them for a deep tournament run. This game will most likely come down to the Homestead defense. If they are able to slow down North’s offense, they could make this interesting.
3. 4A #12 Evansville Reitz (16-4) at 3A #16 Evansville Bosse (12-6)
This game has a lot of excitement surrounding a regular season finale with sectionals just around the corner. Evansville Reitz is looking to tie Evansville Bosse for the Southern Indiana Conference title with a win Friday night. Reitz has won seven straight games and nine of their last ten. As was talked about last week in the top 5 games post, Reitz head coach Michael Adams may have his best he’s ever had at Reitz. Bosse is maybe a little more under the radar but have been playing extremely well since the middle of January. They have won eight out of ten with back-to-back losses coming two weeks ago to Castle and Jeffersonville. Perry Fairrow is the man for Bosse as he is averaging 27.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg. Shane Burkhart’s crew knows how to win as they have won three straight sectionals and look primed for another run this year. Would be a huge momentum springboard into the postseason to beat rival Reitz and clinch the outright conference championship.
2. 4A #17 Ft. Wayne Snider (14-6) at 4A #14 Marion (16-4)
Ft. Wayne Snider has lost two out of three but that does not mean they are playing poorly. Before this recent hiccup, the Panthers won eight straight games. Most of those contests came against Ft. Wayne rivals. Now they are looking to end their season on a high note before going in the state tournament. John Todor’s team is used to playing tight games as this one looks like it should fit that mold. Marion finally cracks back into the rankings and they deserve it. The Giants have only lost once in 2014 and that was a four point loss at top ten Richmond to close out January. This has been a family affair this year for Marion as dad James Blackmon has come back to his alma mater to coach. Son James Blackmon, Jr. is averaging an astounding 33.6 ppg while younger brother Vijay is putting in 12.3. The Giants have won eleven out of twelve and look to keep things rolling into the postseason.
1. 3A #7 Brebeuf Jesuit (14-4) at 4A #1 Carmel (18-1)
Brebeuf Jesuit is peaking at just the right time. The Braves have won seven of eight including a win at Park Tudor. The only setback was a two point loss last weekend at Zionsville. For Noah Haynes team this streak has been predicated on defense as they have held five opponents to 58 points or fewer. Brebeuf has balanced scoring with three players averaging double figures, but it is no question they are led by senior guard P.J. Thompson’s 23.4 points a night. Thompson is the straw that stirs the drink but the overall balance and athleticism Brebeuf has makes them a sleeper contender in the tournament next week. What can you say about Carmel that hasn’t been said over the past two and a half seasons? The two-time defending state champions are a favorite again this year to cut down the nets. Head coach Scott Heady’s team does it with great team defense. The Greyhounds only allow 42.2 points to their opponents and are winning by an average of 16.6 points. Offensively it has become the Ryan Cline show. The senior guard has elevated his play this season and is their leading scorer. He is much more than a jump shooter now and is able to penetrate off the dribble. This will be a tough road game for Brebeuf, but a nice season closing match up for both teams moving towards the tournament.
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