The “other” Class 1A sectional sees just one team with a winning record, but that may not mean much. Last season, Southern Wells won the Sectional with a losing record. The host Wes-Del Warriors enter at 13-9.
By virtue of the only winning record and also the second best record against Class 1A this season, we will call Wes-Del the favorite but also won’t be surprised if they don’t pull this one out. Home court helps, but they have loses to Daleville, Anderson Prep and Cowan and just won a close contest over Southern Wells that the Raiders will want back.
When your top scorer is also your best shooter, that makes your heart happy as a coach. Look for Wes-Del to play on the hand of junior Caeden McClaughry (13.3 points, 54 percent FG) when they open play with Liberty Christian on Tuesday. Freshman Evan Whitesell will be one to watch, not only in this Sectional, but for years to come. They wouldn’t match up with Southern Wells until the final, if both teams make it.
SOUTHERN WELLS (8-14)
Lets talk about the Raiders, our only area team in this Sectional. They were discounted a year ago because of their record and Bounce feels this season is trending that way as well. They actually have the only winning record against Sectional opponents at 2-1 and will open with Anderson Prep on Tuesday in the late game.
Under first year coach Kyle Penrod, the Raiders have been up and down no matter the competition. But they also have a few guys who have been in this position before as major parts of last year’s Sectional championship team. Thomas Biddle is who the ball will have to go through most of the time for this team to be successful. Yet, Bounce wants to see Kreigh Roush really establish his size advantage like he did last year in the tournament. His 15 points in last year’s Sectional final was a huge catalyst that lifted this team. He is tough to guard when he is at his aggressive best and I’d certainly like to see he and Biddle feed off each other.
ANDERSON PREP ACADEMY (5-17)
Southern Wells’ first round opponent does have that win over Wes-Del but not many more. They have dropped five straight since that night and will need sophomore Jack Scott to continue his torrid scoring pace, but shoot much better than he has lately. Two games ago against Cowan, he shot just 5 of 24 from the field.
Wins over Wes-Del and Anderson Prep were huge for this team mentally after a slow start. They have also won 3 of their last 4. Sophomore Riley Duncan is likely out for Sectional play after suffering a stress fracture and that hurts as he is averaging 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds; he is also just 6-foot-10. Instead, senior Declan Gill, not quite as tall, will have the carry the load.
LIBERTY CHRISTIAN (10-11)
They have won four in a row and six of their last seven games to come into Sectional play with momentum. Bounce saw the Lions earlier this year opposite North Side and while they were outmatched, they played with a ton of enthusiasm in getting back into that game. Just a freshman, Christian Nunn is an intense on ball defender and will be the guy leaned on to make this team a contender in the next few years. They will open the Sectional in the early Tuesday game against Wes-Del.
Awaiting the winner of Liberty Christian and Wes-Del on Friday night, the Broncos are capable of going eight players deep if they really want to and that is a luxary. Will Mckinney, by all accounts, can be a tenacious rebounder.
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