Is Blackhawk Christian the area’s best hope for a run at the state title? Most people think so and the Sectional round certainly did not come close to challenging that. Their first “real” challenges will come in the Regional, but do any of these teams have what it takes?
Last year, the Braves beat Covenant Christian by 34 and Gary 21st Century by 38 in the Regional round.
This season, these four teams are 44-3 against Class 1A with all three of those losses coming from Covenant Christian, so at least two of Blackhawk Christian, Gary 21st Century and Argos will lose their first 1A game on Saturday.
BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (24-2)
With all due respect to the other teams in the Region, Blackhawk remains the favorite for a reason. Part of that reason is an average win of 64 points over three games in the Sectional round, the second best winning average margin in Sectional play ever of any team in any class. Their first round game will start around noon at Triton against Gary 21st Century, who they demolished in last season’s Regional. They are winning by an average of 26.4 points per game in their 26 games and have scored 100-plus points in three of their last five games against Class 1A opponents.
There likely won’t be anyone in this Sectional on the level of Frankie Davidson and Caleb Furst, but in each round it is interesting to see which Braves will step up for an eventual title run. Zane Burke continues to be a glue that has stepped in to varying roles and his ability to adapt remains perhaps the most valuable.
GARY 21ST CENTURY (19-6)
Johnell Davis has been a varsity contributor for three years now and has really upped his game as a junior. He shoots the ball at a 53 percent success rate and is a big time player. When they play Blackhawk Christian at noon, he should be Gary 21st Century’s key focus as he also averages 10 points and 3.4 steals per game. The Cougars’ top four players are all juniors so there is room to grow. But even possibly a year away, this was expected to be Blackhawk Christian’s first challenge of any sort so even though all signs point to a Braves blowout, it is fair to give Gary some credit. Demondrick Velez could be one to watch as he contests Frankie Davidson and Caleb Furst on the glass.
The Dragons are a perfect 15-0 against Class 1A but that may underline a bigger problem: not enough tests against bigger and better teams. Tippecanoe Valley is the only of the four teams Argos lost to that won a Sectional title. Winners of their last 10, they are a three headed force with Ian Kindig, Owen Nifong and Sam Manikowski all averaging just over 12 points per game. They will play Covenant Christian in the 10 a.m. game.
COVENANT CHRISTIAN (DEMOTTE) (22-4)
Like Argos, this team has played the most 1A school of any of the 1A schools remaining (15). Along the way, they have established two of the top scorers in the class as well with Ben Lins and Gavin Herrema averaging just over 22 points per game each of the 71 per game that Covenant Christian scores. They duo shoots well at 48 and 44 percent respectively and the team shoots 47 percent from the field.
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