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Boys hoops sectionals started Tuesday

Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2009, at 9:52 PM

BLyons, Linton, Bloomfield, Switz City (White River Valley), Worthington are Greene County schools and towns that have hosted a boys basketball sectional since local teams started participating in the state tournament series almost 100 years ago, when Marco was part of the 1914 state finals at Bloomington.

But Tuesday night, we added another school to that list. With a new 3,000-plus seat gymnasium as part of their new high school, Eastern Greene will be hosting the Class 2A Sectional. The Thunderbirds are also expected to host the sectional again in 2011, after North Knox hosts in 2010. After that, who knows what will happen with the new sectional alignment for the 2011-12 season.

With the exception of 2003, when there was no sectional in Greene County (the Class A tournament was hosted by Clay City that year), the local sectional site has been at Switz City since the new gymnasium was opened for business during the 1955-56 season.

This will be the first time a 2A boys basketball sectional will be played in Greene County.

"We are very excited to have the chance to host the sectional," said Eastern Greene coach Andy Igel, whose Thunderbirds (10-12) played the first tournament game in the new facility, defeating North Knox 47-29 Tuesday. "There is a lot of work to be done to get ready, but we are really looking forward to this.

"Since we are playing at home, that will mean we don't have to get on a bus for three different nights. That is something we have never done."

Igel said that normally the seniors get one final chance to play on the home floor and in front of the home fans, but that will be different this season.

"Even though we honored our seniors before the Shakamak game, it won't be the last time they get to play here," said Igel. "It will be nice to have a chance to play at home and dress in our own locker room.

"The routine will be the same for any home game. The familiarity is going to be good for the kids. It should help our confidence and should make it easy to focus on the game."

Eastern Greene will now face Linton-Stockton (4-17) in the second semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Bloomfield (11-10) will play South Knox (17-4) in the first game at 6 p.m. Friday.

The championship game is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday.

"I don't think anybody would argue that South Knox is probably the favorite," said Linton-Stockton coach Darren Clayton. "But everybody starts over at this time of the year."

Bloomfield coach Ron McBride, whose Cardinals lost to South Knox 39-33 in the sectional semifinal last year at North Knox, said that South Knox is the giant and somebody is going to have to slay to giant in order to win the sectional.

"The bottom line is that we have to play South Knox, but they also have to play Bloomfield," he said. "There wasn't no big drama when we found out we were going to play South Knox. We did not fall to the floor and start crying.

"We have played some good ball clubs this year and South Knox will be another one. We have played a lot of teams that can play with or are in the same league with South Knox. Our schedule prepares us so there won't be no deer in the headlights. No matter who we play, it will come down to consistency and execution. Everybody has to do their job on both ends of the floor. We have played in hostile environments in front of big crowds. That stuff shouldn't bother us."

I wouldn't even begin to offer a guess as to who will win the sectionals at Eastern Greene and the Class A affair at WRV.

Just a month ago, Eastern Greene seemed on top of the world with a 9-7 record, including 4-0 in the Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference.

But the T-Birds will take a five-game losing into their game against North Knox. But three of those losses came by a combined seven points.

Those five teams have a winning percentage of .651.

Bloomfield is 5-4 in its last nine games, but they have lost 4 of 6. Those four losses came to Orleans, North Daviess, Terre Haute South and Barr-Reeve.

North Knox has dropped 6 of 9 and the Miners have lost five in a row.

Clayton said that he would remind his team of 1971, when the Miners entered the tournament with just four wins and 18 losses, but won the sectional at Switz City by defeating the host Central Tigers 62-56 and Eastern 70-62 in the title game, and also this year's Linton-Stockton girls team nearly upset Bloomfield, who had dominated the Lady Miners during the regular season.

"It's not impossible to do this," said Clayton. "We just have to put two good games together at the right time of the year.

"We still have a chance to make a lot of good memories for these kids."

The Miners also pulled off a big upset at the 1998 Class 2A Paoli Sectional in one of the first class tournament games.

Within a span of 10 days, Linton-Stockton lost to Eastern Greene 54-35 during the Greene County Invitational and 60-43 at home.

But on March 3, Linton-Stockton defeated Eastern Greene, a team that won 15 games during the regular season, 45-39 on the first night of the tournament.

The WRV Sectional appears to be a wide-open affair with everyone except Holy Cross having a chance to compete on any given night.

On Tuesday, Clay City beat Holy Cross 88-50 and Shakamak defeated North Central 53-41.

Union (Dugger) (6-15) will play Clay City (15-7) in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday while WRV will face Shakamak (12-10) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The title game is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The defending champion Lakers now have won four in a row and appear to be ready to make a run at a third title in four years.

WRV has lost four in a row, and Clay City has won 10 of 12, including losses to Northview and North Daviess on the road by a combined eight points. Union (Dugger) beat Holy Cross and Medora to end the regular season. The Bulldogs pushed Eastern Greene to the limit and let a fourth-quarter lead get away at North Central.

Good luck to all.


Here are some interesting notes about some of the schools since the advent of class state tournaments in 1997-98. Anderson has won 50 sectional championships, but only two in class.

Washington has won four sectionals in a row, its only four since class began. Before their 2005 title, their last sectional championship for the Hatchets came in 1983. Overall they have won 43.

Vincennes Lincoln has 68 total sectional championships in boys basketball, but the Alices have exactly one (2004) during the class era. I think that was about the time Lincoln stopped hosting the sectional on a yearly basis.

Tecumseh never won a sectional before class, but has won 10 in a row. The only year they did not bring home sectional hardware since class hoops was 1998, the first year of the current format.

Richmond is among the all-time leaders with 62 sectional titles, but none since 1996.

Undefeated Princeton, ranked No. 1 in 3A, will be vying for its first sectional championship since 2000 when the Tigers host this year. They won six titles in the 70s and five in the 80s. They have won just once since the class tournament began.

Plymouth, the last school with an enrollment under 1,000 (barely) to win a state tournament under the one class system (1982), will be gunning for a fifth consecutive sectional championship in Class 3A. They have won seven titles since class started. They had won five in a row before the start of class.

Logansport has won 56 sectional championships, but none since 1996. That means they are 0-for-11 during the class era.

Between 1916 and 1997, Kokomo won 66 sectional championships. Since they started competing in the state tournament as a Class 4A team, they have won three sectionals while losing eight.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at hargisbj@yahoo.com.


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