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Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014

Here's more food for tournament thought

Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011, at 7:18 PM

For the 101st time in history, the Indiana High School Athletic Association will crown a boys basketball champion.

Or as is the case since the mid-1990's, on March 26 they'll bestow the crown to four teams in Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

But before they do that, we have those little preliminaries called the sectionals, regionals and semistates to deal with.

And, just as I did with the girls tournament, I'd like to take this opportunity to give you a few factoids and tidbits to chew over with you buffet of basketball that awaits us all next week.

Just a reminder, this information comes to me from the IHSAA website, so if anyone or anything is omitted it's purely coincidental.

As I already said this year marks the 101st edition of the state tournament for young men and it certainly is a large one.

There are 401 schools entered in this year's tourney. That breaks down to 99 schools in class 4A, 98 in 3A, 102 in 2A and 102 in class A.

There will be a total of 397 games played over 27 days culminating in the state finals -- let's see the NCAA top that one sports fans.

The state finals have been conducted at 10 different venues throughout it's history. Those venues include: Indiana University's Assembly Hall and Men's Gym, both the Old and New Coliseum in Indianapolis, the Purdue Memorial Gym, the Exposition Building, Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Hoosier/RCA Dome, Market Square Arena and Conseco Fieldhouse.

The defending champs in the four classes are Indianapolis North Central in 4A, Washington in 3A, Wheeler in 2A and Bowman Academy in Class A.

There's only one school entering the tournament for the first time this year and it's Baptist Academy who will play in Class A Sectional 58 at Edinburgh.

Two schools -- Indianapolis Marshall (Class 2A) and Indianapolis Shortridge (Class A) -- return to the tournament for the first time in several years, 1986 and 1981 respectively.

Only one school, Guerin Catholic in Class 2A, won it's first sectional crown last season.

As far as streaks in the postseason go, three teams are currently riding a wave of success.

In Class A Tecumseh, who never won a sectional during the single-class state tournament, has won 12 straight sectionals while Lafayette Central Catholic has won nine straight.

In Class 3A Washington rounds out the list with six consecutive sectional titles.

What are the chances of those streaks continuing you ask?

Well, for one team the chances are slim and for the other two it appears like a strong, if not rock solid, likelihood.

As of this writing the Tecumseh Braves are 2-17 and are in the midst of a nine-game losing streak with one regular season contest remaining.

Lafayette Central Catholic currently sits 15-5 on the season and is ranked fourth in the latest AP Class A Poll while the Washington Hatchets are ranked No. 1 in Class 3A with a 17-4 mark heading into Friday's finale with Evansville Memorial.

Not to be left out there are two schools -- Ft. Wayne Bishop Luers and Winchester -- seeking their fifth straight sectional while three others -- Carroll (Flora), Monroe Central and Triton -- and going after their fourth in a row.

None of the above mentioned teams are close to matching the streak of 29 consecutive sectional titles held by Lafayette Jefferson.

The Broncos compiled that during a run that extended from 1944 until 1972. The streak ended the following the year when Lafayette Central Catholic snatched the title (Lafayette Jeff regained it the following year).

Perhaps the most rarefied air of all in the realm of sectional titles comes from the numbers established on the all-time sectional title list. And this where I take a personal interest and matter of pride.

Topping the list of all-time sectional champions is Kokomo who now has 70 trophies.

They succeeded Lafayette Jeff who along with the Vincennes Lincoln Alices, garnered 68 titles.

Just for the record, the Alices were the first team to achieve that level and were only surpassed after the advent of class basketball when they were (tongue-in-cheek) unfairly and brutally thrown into the same sectional as Washington and a handful other teams.

An injustice done just so some other school from the northern end of the state could claim our record.

(Just in case you were wondering, I'm a Lincoln grad).

Not far behind the Bronchos and Alices are Marion with 66, Richmond with 59, Muncie Central and New Castle with 57, Connersville and Logansport with 56 and Anderson with 51.

Next week's sectional winner at White River Valley (Class A Sectional 57) will take their trophy and head to Martinsville where they will take on the winner of the South Decatur Sectional.

The field there includes: defending champion Shawe Memorial, Rising Sun, Jac-Cen-Del, Oldenburg Academy and South Decatur.

When things are settled at the Class 2A Sectional 45 at Eastern Greene, the winner will make the journey to Southridge High School in Huntingburg for a meeting with the winner of the Eastern (Pekin) sectional.

That field includes: West Washington, Austin, Providence, Eastern (Pekin), Paoli and defending winner Brownstown Central. The Braves are ranked ninth, one spot behind the Thunderbirds.

Both winners from our area will play in the second game of the morning session at their respective regional sites.

If anyone from the area advances to the semistate round on March 19 they will play at either Southport or Seymour. The IHSAA will make that determination the day after the regional.

Tickets for the sectional are $6 for a single-session and $10 for an all-session pass. Regional prices are $6 for single or $9 for all-session ducats.

Semistate tickets are $7 and state finals entry will cost you $15 per session or $25 for both the day and night sessions.

Rick is a sports writer with the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 ext. 20. He can be reached by E-mail at rcurl@gcdailyworld. com.

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