In an odd twist, this Class 1A sectional holds the least intrigue of area sectionals while still containing Northeast Indiana’s best bet at a state title run
The defending Sectional champion Blackhawk Christian is not only the heavy favorite, they are the only team to enter Sectional 52 at Fremont with a winning record.
BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (21-2)
With their third winning season under coach Marc Davidson, the Braves have accomplished near everything they have needed to thus far. Void of a conference, they went 8-1 against the Summit Athletic Conference, beating one of the co-champions along the way.
Davidson is known for trimming the roster he plays down in the postseason and that may be the case again, but even recently with a season ending win over Northrop, there are signs that his bench will be successful against a Class 1A schedule (they have played just 5 team in their class). Everything starts with Frankie Davidson and Caleb Furst and we all know that. Frankie Davidson has had an exceptional final season of his high school career and the bar he has set himself is high in the postseason. Furst may even be playing catch up to Davidson’s bar, as crazy as that sounds.
What will help Blackhawk continue to stand out is the frenetic pace of controlled chaos they push, starting with senior point guard Michael Pulver. Pulver’s continued elevation has proven to be a catalyst for the Braves’ strong style. That continues through fellow guards Zane Burke, Abe Hicks, Trinity Clark and Marcus Davidson. If you haven’t seen Blackhawk play yet, this Sectional could be a bigtime showcase.
This is no disrespect. Or none intended anyway. There just is nobody here to challenge Blackhawk Christian; there may not be anyone in the class, let alone in the north that will.
LAKEWOOD PARK (7-15)
Expectations are still down some at Lakewood Park, but confidence is growing. There is a constant rebuild, that hopefully for them, is ending. A win against Hamilton could mean the world for this program and their uphill climb they are working towards. Josh Pike and Dylan Miller are two to watch for the Panthers in this sectional. Pike is good as setting the pace and Miller has been a constant for this program and was part of their sectional championship team two years ago.
Do it all man Tanner Behnfeldt is probably the best player in this Sectional that is not on Blackhawk Christian’s roster. His game doesn’t seem to have a second speed and the first speed is 10. Watch for Behnfeldt to get to the basket with ease, especially against Smith Academy. The trick is turning that ease to success after the first round. Fremont’s draw means a trip to the finals against the Braves is well within reach. They are going to need significant muscle from Behnfeldt and Ethan Marten if that game comes to fruition.
SMITH ACADEMY (3-18)
In just their second year as a full fledged IHSAA team, Smith Academy has an uphill battle and they’ve known that as the IHSAA’s smallest school. They do draw host Fremont first, who beat them by 28 earlier this season.
The Marines best chance at gaining any footing is for Marko Stanojcic to aggressively assert himself on the inside against a wing oriented Lakewood Park on Wednesday.
LAKELAND CHRISTIAN (10-13)
The Cougars have some quality seniors in their lineup, but the lack of height is what will really make them struggle as they open with heavy favorite Blackhawk Christian. No player on their roster is above 6-foot-2. Senior Jake Harmon (16.9 points, 3.7 assists per game) will see the game flow through him.
BETHANY CHRISTIAN (3-19)
Bethany Christian will get the winner of Smith Academy and Fremont. Losers of their last seven, they will need to play really well to get a win in this Sectional.
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