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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Class 2A sectional is always competitive

Posted Friday, February 1, 2013, at 11:21 PM

Although the local Class 2A sectional has changed locations and added teams, there has been one constant lately -- the games have been highly competitive and close.

In the last four championship games, the largest spread has been seven points.

That was a year ago when Sullivan defeated South Knox 50-43 in the title game at Bloomfield.

In 2011, South Knox needed overtime to break hearts of Bloomfield fans with the Spartans prevailing 47-45.

In 2010 at South Knox, Linton-Stockton also needed an extra four minutes to get by Blooomfield, winning 48-44 in overtime.

That entire sectional was off the charts competitive as four games were decided by total of 20 points.

A year before at Linton-Stockton, only one of the four tournament games in the then five-team Class 2A field was decided by more than four points.

Coach Steve Meurer and his North Knox Lady Warriors defeated South Knox 38-37 in one semifinal before getting by Bloomfield 26-22 in the title game.

Bloomfield defeated the host Lady Miners 38-37 on a tip in that just beat the buzzer four years ago.

The year before that at Bloomfield, Eastern Greene got hot at the right time and went on to win the Class 2A Sectional and go all the way to the regional final. The Lady T-Birds finished the season under .500, but have the hardware in their trophy case to prove that records mean nothing come tournament time.

"Ever since I have been coaching girls, the sectional has been a dogfight every year," said Linton-Stockton coach Brad McKinney, who suffered through that loss to the Cardinals in '09, but held off Bloomfield to win the sectional three years ago. "It doesn't matter who is the favorite, it is a dogfight to win it.

"Our teams in the sectional really get after it. There are good coaches in the sectional and they really prepare well, which is another reason so have so many games decided by a possession or two."

McKinney said the sectional, which features South Knox, North Knox, Bloomfield, Eastern Greene, Linton-Stockton and recent newcomers Sullivan and North Central, has a lot of natural rivalries.

"You had the two Knox County schools and the three teams from Greene County," said McKinney. "Then with Sullivan and North Central coming in, you have two teams from Sullivan County.

"All of the schools are close to each other and most of them play each other in the regular season. There are very few secrets between the teams. It doesn't matter how good you are or what your record is, nobody has an easy walk through this sectional."

Chris Hitchcock of Bloomfield has been on the wrong side on several of those close games.

"We have had some really tough battles in the sectional in the past couple of years," said the BHS coach. "Last year, North Knox got us by three in the opening game.

"The two years before that we lost two overtime championship games. It has been really tough to see your kids work so hard, but come up short. But our kids continue to be resilient and bounce back ready to compete the next year."

Eastern Greene coach Zack Stevens will be coaching in his second sectional in Class 2A, having defeated North Central and lost to the eventual champion Sullivan in the semifinals.

"Everybody starts 0-0," said Stevens. "Everybody plays hard and really competes well.

"We are looking forward to the challenge of playing in the tournament again."

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@gmail.com.

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