With boys basketball postseason coming around quickly, Bounce is here to quickly preview and discuss the area sectionals, moving on to Class 3A.
SECTIONAL 22 AT GARRETT
Projected Winner: Leo
Bounce can already here the complaining from Woodburn.
Yes, despite Woodlan’s win last week against the Lions, this frog is going with Leo as the favorite in this sectional.
Why? Well, the road is more manageable for Leo, which opens sectional play against an Angola team it already handled by 25 points, followed by a Luers squad on Friday that it routed by 37 back in December.
There is no question that the Lions have some things to figure out as they went 3-3 over their final six regular-season games. But Coach Cary Cogdell’s group is still the most talented in the field from top to bottom and Caedmon Bontrager, if you haven’t noticed, is no joke. This senior class felt the state finals run after last year’s loss to Woodlan and they want to replicate, while the recent emergence of sophomore Jackson McGee only helps their depth and chances.
Senior player you can’t miss: Joe Reidy, Woodlan
The double-double machine that is Reidy won’t be going very far next year as he is a Saint Francis commitment for hoops, but you won’t want to miss him this week at Garrett.
The battle we saw Reidy have with Leo’s bigs in the post last week was intense, and if the two have a rematch in the sectional championship game on Saturday expect more of the same.
While Reidy’s averages of 20.5 points and 11 rebounds are both down from a year ago, it’s not because of a decline in effectiveness, but rather the rise of some ancillary pieces for the Warriors. Sophomore Braden Smith is a double-digit scorer and junior Alex Miller does a little bit of everything.
But the centerpiece for Woodburn is still Reidy.
Don’t be surprised if: Any of four teams win this sectional
No less than four teams can emerge out of this field with a sectional championship. In addition to Leo, Bishop Dwenger, Concordia Lutheran and Woodlan can all make a case that this is their week. Bishop Dwener has some big-time wins, yet lost close games to the likes of Concordia, Bishop Luers and Leo.
The Cadets, without a single upperclassman, were the surprise of the SAC in the regular season. Their penchant for big shots in big moments could be huge in a close game down the stretch. They also boast one of the best players and scorers in this Sectional in Ajani Washington.
And Woodlan? That crew has already proven it will be a problem with the dub over Leo.
SCHEDULE AT GARRETT
Leo (16-5) vs. Angola (7-15), 7 p.m.
Woodlan (15-8) vs. Bishop Dwenger (12-9), 6 p.m.
Concordia Lutheran (11-11) vs. Garrett (5-17), 7:30 p.m.
Bishop Luers (5-17) vs. Leo/Angola, 6 p.m.
Woodlan/Bishop Dwenger vs. Concordia Lutheran/Garrett, 7:30 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.
SECTIONAL 23 AT NORWELL
Projected Winner: Norwell
The Knights are the clear favorite here, and by a sizable margin.
Per the year-end Sagarin Ratings, Norwell is ranked No. 26 in the entire state regardless of class. The next-highest team in this sectional is Oak Hill at No. 114.
The draw for Norwell is extremely kind, pitting the Knights up against the weakest two foes in the field the first two rounds in Heritage and Eastern.
With its mix of exceptional shooters and a defense that is deceptively effective, the Knights are the most complete team in this sectional. Add in playing at home and its tough not to go with Coach Mike McBride’s squad.
Senior player you can’t miss: Just enjoy the underclassmen
Many of the teams in this sectional are le by underclassmen. Norwell has a talented junior class, while Luke Saylor of Heritage is just a junior too and Oak Hill is dominated by juniors as well.
If anything, this week’s sectional will give you a look at how this field will look over the next two years with a lot of guys coming back a season from now.
Don’t be surprised if: Mississinewa spoils things again
Last season, Mississinewa ended Norwell’s season and went on to win their first Sectional title since 1954. It marked a banner year for the Indians even if they lost badly to Leo in the Regional round. When a new season commenced in the fall, they welcomed Norwell to their home court on November 30 and beat them again, 64-61 despite being a substantial underdog.
Who is Mississinewa? It is hard to tell. In the last week, they beat Noblesville but lost Manchester. They’ve hung with Oak Hill, lost to Marion and beat Norwell this season too. It has been an up and down campaign. With leading scorer Hayden Ulerick in the lineup and feeling his game, the Indians are incredibly tough as he can get hot quick. Fellow senior Ty Newsom and sophomore Gannon Smith are set to be important pieces this week too.
SCHEDULE AT NORWELL
Heritage (5-17) vs. Norwell (19-4), 6 p.m.
Bellmont (12-10) vs. Mississinewa (9-13), 7:30 p.m.
Eastern (8-12) vs. Heritage/Norwell, 6 p.m.
Oak Hill (17-5) vs. Bellmont/Mississinewa, 7:30 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.