This Saturday represents arguably the best day all season of boys hoops – regionals. Four teams, three games, one title.
OTH is breaking down each regional involving area programs.
Up next is Class 4A.
Projected Winner: Westfield
Yes, Homestead did beat Westfield in the Tipoff Classic at Southport in mid-December, but it was a close game that could have gone either way. The Shamrocks were challenged mid-season when Purdue recruit Braden Smith missed several weeks due to injury.
But Smith is back and the ‘rocks are at full strength for the rematch. The sectional title was impressive as Westfield knocked off both 21-win Fishers and 18-win Carmel to capture the trophy and move on.
It’s not just Smith, as fellow senior Cam Haffner averages a touch above 16 points per game and is the team’s go-to from beyond the arc. Junior Alex Romack is a 6-foot-5 banger in the post which will need to be handled by the likes of Andrew Leeper, who has struggled against physical bigs in the past.
Homestead and Westfield are very comparable teams in terms of performance. You could go either way in picking one over the other to win this regional, but Bounce likes Westfield’s chances passed on its performance last weekend.
Senior player you can’t miss: Purdue’s future dynamic duo
Both Braden Smith of Westfield and Fletcher Loyer of Homestead are future Boilermakers, making the second semifinal a battle between soon-to-be teammates who already have a bond.
Smith scored a season-high 30 points in the December game against the Spartans, while Loyer is averaging 29.6 points per contest over the course of this year.
Both can fill the bucket in a variety of ways and will continue to do so at the college level. Which one gets the best of the other come Saturday? Time will tell.
Don’t be surprised if: Snider makes some noise
While the Panthers have had a propensity to play up and down to its opponents all season long, they have a good shot against a Kokomo team that they are better than in the morning semifinal.
If victorious, Snider can then settle in and watch the heavyweight fight between Westfield and Homestead, with each team trading blows over the course of four quarters.
The more intense and physical that second game is, the more it benefits Snider. If the Panthers can get hot from the field in the evening with the likes of Karson Jenkins and Aidan Lambert, coupled with the contributions of their ancillary players, Coach Jeremy Rauch’s team can be a factor at Logansport. After all, this is a Snider team that knocked off Homestead on its home floor in January.
Kokomo (17-7) vs. Snider (18-7), 10 a.m.
Homestead (22-5) vs. Westfield (21-6), noon
Final, 8 p.m.
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