Let’s be honest, the Sectional draw in Indiana is always a hot topic of conversation.
Should it be seeded? Is it fine the way it is?
Today, Bounce looks ahead to next week at the “winners and losers” of this season’s draw. Sure, those adjectives may be harsh, but there are some that got a more favorable draw than others and we can be honest about that.
LOSERS: NORTH SIDE & CARROLL
Easily the worst draw of area Sectionals came in Class 4A where the Legends and Chargers will face off on a Tuesday. What the experts would call a likely Sectional title game, this being played on a Tuesday is the one that everyone looks to as why there should be seeding.
They just played on February 7 with Carroll taking a 69-63 win so the expectation is that the rematch is going to be one of the best games in the Sectional round. It certainly will be the best game on a Tuesday now.
Carroll is playing really good basketball and despite their loss to Homestead in a massive Spartan comeback, the Chargers have to be considered the co-favorite. They have continued to develop all season and with Jaxon Pardon leading the way, Carroll deserves better than a Tuesday game against the other top team in the Sectional.
North Side does too. The Legends hold the only in conference win against the SAC champions and while the hype of North Side has not led to a title yet, this could be the bracket that finally does it. So no, North Side doesn’t deserve the other top team on a Tuesday. What has been impressive about North this season is that guys have consistently stepped up outside of Brauntae Johnson. When Brashawn Bassett gets shooting hot, he’s a fireball and Jaxson Fugate hasn’t seemed to miss a step with his recent return to the lineup.
The game being at Carroll makes it even more disappointing that its on a Tuesday.
Not that Huntington North or Columbia City are gimme games to get to the Sectional finals, but Homestead has to be happy to be matched up on the opposite side of the bracket from Wayne, the SAC champions, who just beat the Spartans in overtime.
Or maybe I am wrong. Maybe after a heck of a comeback win over Carroll, maybe the Spartans are on top of the world right now and ready for the frantic attack of the Generals.
Huntington North has always been an interesting matchup for Spartan teams and Columbia City is certainly upset minded heading into the Sectional. But Homestead is still the favorite in those games. You have to think that, despite the comeback win, Homestead has some things to work on to correct what just got them into the hole against Carroll last Friday.
If you are Homestead, you know you want to and need to have your A game against an always hungry Wayne team. And personally, I’d take a week of warm up to get to that A game in full effect. Homestead will tell you it doesn’t matter who they draw or when they draw, that is the Chris Johnson mindset after all.
But for me, for my purposes and honestly from a fan perspective, a potential Wayne/Homestead final is a big winner so this draw in Columbia City’s hosted Sectional is ideal.
WINNER: WEST NOBLE
After last week’s upset overtime loss to Angola, there is probably a pause in others perspectives about West Noble.
It doesn’t mean that the Chargers aren’t good. It doesn’t mean that the Chargers can’t be dominant. But still, the last thing they would want is an early meeting with a very powerful NorthWood team. That game, if it does happen, wouldn’t be until the finals now. The draw also puts West Noble immediately in the semi finals, just one win away from that potential meeting with NorthWood.
I also can’t complain about the draw getting West Noble a surging Lakeland team in that Friday semi final at NorthWood. Lakeland is playing really good basketball, knows West Noble well and is going to throw everything they have at the NECC champions. It means that West Noble is going to have to be sharp immediately from top to bottom because that is what Lakeland will be.
There is little to no chance that West Noble can rest on any laurels from a successful season and maybe that means the loss to Angola was a good thing. Refocus doesn’t always hurt right before the state tournament.
And a prime, sharp West Noble against a prime, sharp NorthWood would be a hell of a show.
WINNERS: CLASS 2A
Class 2A at Westview and at South Adams are basically ideal draws in my eyes.
At Westview, the balance may not be ideal but it is still pretty good. Westview and Eastside is a likely semi final if the Warriors cruise by Churubusco as expected. It sends a solid team to the finals on the top half of the bracket, with early projections of course showing Westview. That said, Eastside can change the speed of games so never count out the Blazers.
On the bottom of the bracket at Westview sit three really fun NECC teams. There is no way a bad team makes it to the finals out of this side. Prairie Heights and Fremont is a great Tuesday game with either team capable of making waves. Chase Bachelor and Isaiah Malone are one of the best one-two punches in the area for Prairie Heights while we need to remember how dangerous a comfortable Fremont is, they did beat the SAC champions this season after all. The winner gets Central Noble, another high quality team.
Westview’s Sectional is basically a NECC Tournament without the winner of the actual January NECC tournament in it. And as fun as that conference has been this season, you can’t hate that.
As South Adams, the overall competition isn’t as high but the final I personally want is possible because of the draw: Adams Central versus Blackhawk Christian.
Along the way, we will also likely get a great semi final in the Flying Jets opposite Bishop Luers. While I personally like Adams Central to come out of that (predictions spoiler), the idea of Luers coming out with a win to face Blackhawk Christian doesn’t suck either.
LOSERS: LEO, CONCORDIA AND WOODLAN
In Garrett, the three best teams all sit on one side of the bracket. And that is highly unfortunate.
That isn’t to say that the top half of the bracket isn’t interesting because it really is. Angola/Dwenger on Tuesday features two teams who have had moderate success but they’ve also each knocked off one of the area’s best with Dwenger beating Blackhawk Christian and Angola topping West Noble. So we know the winner of that has some chops as they go to Friday to face a Heritage team that hung with a more athletic New Haven last week.
So no disrespect to the top of the bracket, because all three of those teams have upset potential.
But Woodlan has been fun, Concordia has been fantastic and Leo is the three time defending champions. So to put the three of them on the same side of the bracket is wild.
Leo and Concordia go on Wednesday and the winner of that may actually be the favorite despite Leo’s up and down season.
Concordia’s loss Friday was disappointing as they lost out on a chance to at least share the SAC but bouncing back to beat Norwell at The Castle last Saturday shows how quickly they can go from 0 to 100. Leo plays their best basketball in the postseason and has the last two years. No, they don’t have the same firepower but nobody had them as state contenders either time so those who don’t have them as Sectional contenders this season may be underestimating the Lions.
Woodlan will get host Garrett on Wednesday as well with a Friday meeting with the Leo/Concordia winner looming. The Warriors are one of the rare teams in the area that can boast one of the ACAC’s best players in each class with Alex Miller, Braden Smith and Trey Yoder. There is depth at Woodlan and they could be primed for a fun run in the Sectional round.
It is actually perhaps the best overall Sectional between the potential of the teams, but you still hate to see those three on the same side.
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