Boys basketball: Kouts-21st Century looks like premier first-round game
By Mike Hutton 648-3139 or firstname.lastname@example.org February 17, 2013 7:38PM
Kouts' Max Everaert reacts after hitting three pointer to tie the game with less than three minutes available against Hanover Central at Kouts High School Friday night. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 19, 2013 6:44AM
Wail away at the fact that the IHSAA doesn’t seed the draw, preferring the ping pong method for selection and that they frequently say they will stream the video feed live on their website, but they sometimes never actually do (there were mechanical difficulties again this year) and that this is all executed in a veil of secrecy.
Go ahead. Get it out.
Inhale now and take it all in. March is right around the corner and it’s a beautiful thing — a glutinous buffet of basketball for high school fans.
Without any further ado, here is a quick breakdown of the sectionals:
The marquee game in the Class A Sectional at Kouts is the Kouts versus 21st Century matchup. The two teams met last year in the final, with Kouts winning by nine points. Kouts is 17-2 while 21st Century is 10-7.
Kouts coach Marty Gaff, who is retiring after the season, would rather not have to hang it up early.
“It’s a tough first game,” he said.
Rodney Williams, the 21st Century coach, was anticipating the big game out of the gate.
“We’re excited,” Williams said. “We’ve been preparing for them since we lost to them in the championship game last year.”
The team that got the toughest draw in the state was East Chicago (9-9). They have to play No. 1 (IBCA and Associated Press state polls) Munster (20-0). The Cardinals have struggled lately, losing four of five. They did, however, play well in a big win over Bishop Noll on Friday. Munster beat them 47-29 in a regular season matchup.
East Chicago coach Abe Brown had his team over for dinner for the draw news.
“We don’t want to play a cupcake,” Brown said. “We want to play the best. The polls and writers say they are the best. We want to play the best.”
On the other side of the bracket, Lake Central plays Lowell and Morton plays the winner of that game. West Side matches up against Highland. This sets up, on paper, for a Munster-LC championship.
At Michigan City, the draw came out almost like it was seeded. Portage plays Valparaiso in the first game while Chesterton takes on LaPorte in the nightcap. Hobart plays Merrillville on the second first-round day and Michigan City plays Crown Point in the finale.
There is no clear-cut favorite here, though the Pirates have to be considered the No. 1 seed.
“I don’t think there is any good draw here,” Valparaiso coach Joe Otis said. “LaPorte has played well at the end of the year, Chesterton had Munster down by five in the second half, Crown Point almost beat Merrillville and Portage has played us tough.”
At the Class 2A Wheeler sectional, the championship game again looks like it could be a Bowman-Bishop Noll final. Noll plays Wheeler in the opening round and Bowman gets River Forest. Lake Station gets the winner of the Bowman game and Whiting plays the winner of the Noll game. The Warriors beat Wheeler by 27 earlier this year.
“It concerns me a little bit,” Noll coach Drew Trost said of the matchup. “They played us tough last time. At least we have Bowman on the other side of the bracket.”
In the Culver Sectional, it looks like there could be another Marquette-Triton matchup for the championship. The Blazers (15-5) play Oregon Davis in the first round. South Central and Westville play and Culver Community plays Argos. Triton gets a bye and plays the winner of the Culver game. In the Winamac sectional, both Hebron (9-9) and Boone Grove (12-7) get first-round byes.
In the Class 3A sectional at Kankakee Valley, Andrean plays the Kougars in the first round. Hanover Central, which is on the other side of the bracket, gets a bye. This sets up as an Andrean-Hanover final. Finally, in the 3A sectional at Hammond, defending champion Lew Wallace drew a first-round bye. It plays the winner of the Griffith-Roosevelt game.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeHuttonPT