Throughout the weekend, your favorite amphibian is going to be checking in on the sectionals that will most interest our area teams and readers. The favorite team listed, well that is my pick to walk out of Saturday, March 7 with a trophy.
We started out in Class 1A at Fremont, where everyone is happy about the success factor rule. These games start with a single game on Tuesday night. No team in this Sectional holds a winning record.
Perfect against their Sectional and their class, the Panthers are looking for their first Sectional title since 2017 and just their second ever. To do that, they are going to have to do what they do best and that is get a little chaotic. As long as they can control that chaos, they are the team to beat in Sectional week. That all starts with the duo of Josh Pike and Caedmon Bontrager. An on the court coach, Pike sets the mental tempo of this group and really has to be at his best. And when he’s at his best, he is feeding the sizable challenge (for opposing teams) of the 6-7 Bontrager (20.6 points, 8.8 rebounds per game).
Defensively, the Panthers are going to need to be solid and they have the experience to make that happen. As much attention as gets heaped onto Pike and Bontrager, the prowess throughout the week of TJ Faur, Aiden Fetters and Carter Harman is going to be equally needed.
Led by former Lakewood Park coach Chad Hibbard, the Eagles are going to be a favorite in the eyes of many. They play a fairly challenging schedule and 11 of their 12 losses have come out of Class 1A. Elkhart Christian is going to have to pace themselves and their opponents, which may be easy outside of a possible finals meeting with Lakewood Park. This is a team that does things well by the book, but doesn’t want to get into a sprint with other teams.
Juniors Matthew Elmerick and Bryce Courson are going to be steady hands for them and their patience against opposing pressure will determine if the Eagles are indeed the favorite or a contender, as I see them.
Injuries helped derail a bit of a rebuild for Fremont with eight straight losses down the stretch of the regular season. They will rematch Bethany Christian one week after the two teams played to end the regular season. They have a solid sophomore class but lost Gabel Pentecost in mid January and have been without Ethan Bock since the end of January. This is a bad time to not have your two leading scorers.
Their underclass is getting a lot of valuable time this season, but the Bruins don’t have much to show for it. Sophomore Beck Willems has showed promise but as a team, Bethany Christian doesn’t shoot the ball very well. They are just 5-4 versus class 1A this season.
Not much to line up here. The Marines are in the midst of a major shortage in their basketball area. A first round meeting with Elkhart Christian did them no favors if there were any favors to give here. Hamilton is currently scoring just 35 points per game.
Class 1A Sectional 51 at Fremont schedule
Tuesday, March 3
Bethany Christian vs. Fremont, 6 p.m.
Friday, March 6
Elkhart Christian vs. Hamilton, 6 p.m.
Lakewood Park Christian vs. Bethany Christian/Fremont, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 7
Final, 7 p.m.
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