What is the best Sectional in our area? Look no further. At least that is what the statistics say and Bounce is a sucker for numbers.
The Sectional at Westview is considered the state’s best in any class if you look at winning percentage of the teams involved. Five of the six teams have winning records, all six teams have double digit wins and overall this Sectional is 96-41, which carries a winning percentage of 70.1.
Even if we threw being the host team out the window, which I don’t think we can do most places let alone Westview, this team has an easy grasp on the favorite role. Charlie Yoder has been one of the area’s very best players this year. He reads defenses well and makes impossible looking shots look possible. The Warriors dropped their regular season finale after 14 straight wins, but that loss is really the only one you’d consider bad on their schedule. The Warrriors have lost all five of their games to Class 4A but have been competitive in all of those; their worst loss being by seven at East Noble.
They have gotten deeper in their offensive and defensive reliability this season. Outside of Yoder, one can’t forget that Elijah Hales was an Indiana Jr. All-Star for a reason last year. He has the ability to transcend positions playing on the perimeter or in the post and Nick Rensberger has recently really started to get going after a late start to the season because of injury. Drew Litwiller and Josh Hostetler have become valued commodities in the Westview lineup while Dennis Wingard has also been giving them good minutes.
The deeper Westview can play, the tougher they may be. They will match up with Central Noble in the Sectional opening game on Tuesday night.
CENTRAL NOBLE (15-7)
When picking a contender, the Cougars are going to get the nod because of how dangerous they are at their best, despite a 21 point loss to Westview earlier this season and a 1-4 mark against Sectional opponents. They have won 5 of their last 6, including big wins against ACAC Tournament champion Heritage and a win over Fairfield that gave Central Noble second place in the NECC. Their only loss in that stretch was a very well played six point loss to Prairie Heights.
If the Cougars can control the interior, starting with Westview’s length and then a possible rematch with Prairie Heights, their shooting will make them a superior team a lot of the time. Offensively, they remain a four tiered team in that Connor Essegian, Sawyer Yoder, Lucas Deck and Ridley Zolman are all capable of big breakout games.
PRAIRIE HEIGHTS (18-5)
In the other 2A Sectional breakdown, Bounce mentioned a big man with a quick engine and that can describe Prairie Heights’ Elijah Malone too. Surprisingly fleet footed, this 6-foot-8 post can be dominate and he forces any other team to alter their gameplan to avoid him. The fact that they have given Westview two very good games keeps them on this fringe contender spot as well. They will get Bremen, the only team without a winning record in the Sectional, in the late game Tuesday. If Malone’s size doesn’t bother you, know that Mike Perkins can and will put up good numbers; the junior hasn’t scored in single digits in a month and is shooting at a 52 percent success rate.
They will get the winner of Prairie Heights and Bremen on Friday and certainly you never want to be stuck on 19 wins. This team holds convincing wins over both Bremen and Whitko but do not play as tough as a schedule as some of these other teams with their best win probably being over West Noble. They do, however, have three capable seniors averaging double digit scoring led by Luke Beehler’s 16.1 points per game.
10-2 in this calendar year, the Wildcats are rolling with nice wins at Churubusco and Heritage and count Spencer Sroufe in as a big reason. They will await the winner of Westview and Central Noble on Friday in the first semifinal and hold wins over both CN and Prairie Heights. The 6-7 Sroufe is a matchup nightmare for most teams and is averaging a double-double while also averaging three blocks a game. We all can debate all day on who the best player in this Sectional is, but Sroufe may be the most capable of putting up gaudy numbers. Brett Sickafoose is another dangerous guy to keep an eye on.
Keep in mind with Bremen’s schedule that more than half of their games are against bigger schools and they have won two in a row and three of their last four. 6-3 senior Brooks Feldman is second in scoring and leads them in rebounding and he will have to be a big presence when they open with Prairie Heights.
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