Outside the Huddle’s resident frog Bounce is previewing every area sectional and giving our thoughts on who to watch.
We continue our look at Class 4A with the sectional at Columbia City.
Per John Harrell’s Indiana high school basketball website, Homestead has a 79 percent chance to win this sectional, the biggest favorite in all of Class 4A.
Despite some close calls throughout the season, no team in this field has given Homestead a challenge, except for maybe Huntington North, which lost by just 14 points in early December.
Luke Goode and Fletcher Loyer are the stars, but they are complemented well with a solid supporting class that can carry the load.
There are concerns in Bounce’s mind for the lone undefeated in the sate in terms of reaching state, but none will come into play through sectionals.
The only team that may have a shot against the Spartans is Huntington North. Coach Craig Teagle’s style of taking time off the clock, running a precise offense and being disciplined defensively could give Homestead fits in the opening round on Tuesday.
The Vikings ended the regular season winners of four straight, including an impressive eight-point victory at Marion. Huntington shoots 42 percent from three and 78 percent from the line, but is that enough to hang with Homestead?
In most other sectionals, a 14-win New Haven team would be a good bet to be in the conversation for a title, especially when its lone loss to a Class 4A team was to Homestead.
It just so happens that the Bulldogs won’t see the Spartans until the championship after receiving the bye. Can New Haven put up a better fight than the first time around – a 30-point drubbing?
The Achers have won just two of their last six, with two of the defeats in that span coming in lopsided fashion against sectional opponents Huntington North and New Haven.
South shoots less than 30 percent from three-point range as a team, meaning this group will have to work the ball inside and get to the free throw line, where it is hitting at a 74 percent clip.
The Generals went just 1-10 against Class 4A foes this season, with the lone victory coming over Columbia City back in mid-December, there very same team it plays to open the playoffs.
The bottom of the bracket has some intrigue in that you can make a case for any of the three squads to get to the final. For Wayne, the name of the game is offensive balance, with seven players averaging five points or more. However, no one is averaging double digits per contest, so who takes command in the clutch of a postseason contest?
The host Eagles will suit up in the friendly confines of their sparklign gym in the new Columbia City High School. Winners of five of their last six, including a last-second win over Concordia Lutheran last Friday that saw Mason Baker nail a three for the win, Coach Matt Schauss’s team has some momentum.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Luke Goode, Homestead: While Fletcher Loyer is the newbie to Hoosier Hysteria, Goode is the wily veteran. The sharpshooter headed to Illinois following this season made the goal clear when he posted a picture of himself on Instagram with the location “Bankers Life Fieldhouse” listed. Goode has made countless big shots over his prep career. Homestead needs that to continue for a few more weeks.
Thomas Latham, New Haven: No one revels in physical contact – giving or receiving – more than Latham. He does not shy away from tough play and seems to excel in it. He leads the Bulldogs in points and rebounding per game, averaging nearly a double-double in the process.
Zach Hubartt, Huntignton North: Hubartt is one of those prototypical Huntington North kids who will burn you the moment you underestimate him. At 17.3 points per game, Hubartt is the primary scorer for the Vikings. He looks nearly 50 percent from three and is nearly automatic from the charity stripe, missing just six attempts all year.
SECTIONAL 6 AT COLUMBIA CITY
Huntington North (11-6) vs. Homestead (22-0), 6 p.m.
Wayne (6-15) vs. Columbia City (9-12), 8 p.m.
South Side (8-13) vs. Huntington North/Homestead, 6 p.m.
New Haven (14-7) vs. Wayne/Columbia City, 8 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.
These opinions represent those of Bounce and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Bounce on Twitter at Bounce_OTH