This Saturday, regional play will take place across the state in boys basketball and our area has two teams each in classes 4A, 3A and 2A.
The IHSAA announced on Thursday that games will be played in front of just immediate families of participants due to the coronavirus outbreak.
At Logansport, a pair of area teams will duel with traditional state powers in the morning as Snider faces Marion and New Haven faces Carmel. Will we see an area rematch for the title?
How will this regional play out? Let’s break it down.
To start with, they are Carmel and there is no doubt they are as prepared for this position as any program in this Regional because of experience and being used to playing with a major target. The Greyhounds are in the midst of their best winning streak at five games in a row as they meet New Haven for the first time since the 2013 Regional round. Even though some may say this traditional ‘regional of death’ may not pack the punch it has in the past, Carmel is a constant; they have won a Sectional every year since 2015 and have won this Regional each of the past two seasons.
All that said, this is a fairly young Greyhound team in comparison to recent top groups with just one senior. This is a team who thrives on consistency and the comfort they have when their shots are falling. Junior Brian Waddell is coming off a great Sectional final win; he has now gone 22-of-24 from the free throw line in his last two games. Waddell and his Carmel teammates are very good at taking advantage of small weaknesses in their opponents. Sophomore Pete Suder has proven to be an ultimate utility piece who can do a little bit of everything.
Snider will be chasing the 20 win mark for the first time since 2009, coincidently the last time they played in the Regional round, which is also the last and only time the program won a Regional. Those familiar with Snider, and that should be all of the Outside the Huddle area readers, know the book here: this is an extremely talented team that people, fairly or otherwise, have questioned the consistency of. Yet, they have lost back to back games just once and when they are rolling and winning, they are very good.
Dillon Duff proved one thing in a close Sectional win: he is a killer. And the Panthers needed that. Their role players are very good in those roles, but to get to the Regional round, you need someone to take over and Duff (17.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg) did that to get them here. What the Panthers will be looking for in a rematch with Marion is another fast start, but also being able to retain that. There is little doubt how good Snider is in close games, but I’m sure they’d save some gray hairs if they could avoid letting it be close at the end.
NEW HAVEN (18-6)
New Haven “upset” Homestead to get here after winning their first Sectional title since 2017. People thought it may be tough for the Bulldogs now up in Class 4A, but the pace and pressure New Haven puts on says their win over Homestead was no upset, even if I didn’t predict them to win. This is a New Haven team that is working on all levels right now with adequate leadership, interior physicality, speed and comfort working at their own pace. All signs point to the Bulldogs being just as much a contender for their first ever Regional title as any other team. Thomas Latham and Jakar Williams have put pressure on other teams to be aggressive all season and the pacing and intelligence of Donovynn Lewis has really been an important point for them.
Marion has persevered through a lot, including losing one of the state’s top scorers in Jalen Blackmon to injury. That could have taken a lot out of them in their move up to Class 3A, but they won’t go away no matter how bad it looks. Case in point, their massive comeback against Harrison in the Sectional round behind JK Thomas’ major second half. The Giants have a lot of fight in them led by the feisty spirit of Thomas. This team also boasts some pretty good depth that coach James Blackmon is comfortable with. While Thomas, Rasheed Jones and Francesco Boniciolli register the most minutes, the Giants have thrived by keeping people fresh. Marion will have to keep their ball movement strong.
CLASS 4A LOGANSPORT REGIONAL SCHEDULE
MORNING (all times Eastern)
Marion (14-11) vs. Snider (19-6), 10 a.m.
Carmel (18-7) vs. New Haven (18-6), noon
Championship, 8 p.m.