Cards expect tough fight against three-headed Tindley
The Cardinals will take on a three-headed monster this Saturday.
Bloomfield (16-9) will play Indianapolis Tindley (18-7) at 10 a.m. Saturday in the first semifinal of the Martinsville Regional. Morristown (24-2) takes on Indianapolis University (21-2) at 12:00 p.m. in the second semifinal. The championship will be played at 8:00 p.m. that night.
The Tigers will field three players that score in double figures: Eric Hunter, a 6-foot-3 All-State guard who will play for Purdue next year, averages 27.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game; Sincere McMahon, a 6-foot-1 guard, who averages 15.1 ppg; and K.J. Coleman, a 6-foot-0 guard, who averages 11.8 ppg. No other Tiger averages more than 6.4 ppg.
“Obviously, Tindley’s got a really good player in Hunter,” said senior Patrick Beard. “I feel that if we can contain him with our defense ... with our size and our speed, I think we have a chance to make a really deep run in the tourney.”
Bloomfield coach Jamie Hudson said the Cardinals will not be able to stop Hunter, but must hold him to around 20 points
“That type of talent, that type of kid, you can’t slow down,” Hudson said. “You have to slow down his production. You can’t let him go for 40.”
He pointed out Coleman is a good shooter from three-point range. McMahon “goes to the rim really well,” Hudson added.
“We’re going to have to a really good job defensively,” Hudson said. “They’re going to have a burst. We’ve got to be able to handle their burst.”
The coach explained the Cardinals cannot lose track of any member of Tindley’s “three-headed monster” and must know where the players are at all times. Hudson said the Cards must also limit Tindley’s offensive possessions.
He also noted the Tigers throw a press at their opponents, and the Cards must be ready to handle their pressure. “They’ll pick the times when they press you,” Hudson said.
The Cards, led by 6-foot-6 Isaac Combs and 6-foot-7, can create problems with their height. Bloomfield also has a deeper bench as the Cards usually go nine deep while Tindley relies on five or six players.
“They’re a really good basketball team,” Hudson said, “but we’re a really good basketball team. We present some problems for them.”
Three Cardinals will be returning to the regional. Mitchell Burch, Combs, and Beard all played on the 2016 team that reached the Class 1A state championship game only to fall to Liberty Christian 64-45. Combs said he much provide good leadership to this version of the Cards, telling the younger players what to expect.
“I’ll be a good teacher for the guys,” he said.
Burch said the Cardinals have been playing good defense, holding Shakamak to 13-30 shooting (43.3 percent) in the White River Valley Sectional championship game and limiting Laker senior Rylee Landry to six points. He added the Cards have been playing good team ball.
“It definitely starts with the defensive end,” Burch said. “We’ve been really unselfish lately. That’s a plus for us.”
Players interviewed after the game agreed it was an “amazing” experience to win the sectional.
“It was unbelievable,” said Burch.
After Thursday’s practice, Hudson told the Cardinals that not many have respect for Bloomfield. A whiteboard in the Cards’ locker room noted the website John Harrell picks the Tigers to win by a 65-47 margin. Hudson said those evaluations don’t bother him.
“We’re going to fight. We’re going to bring it to them,” he said. “We’re just going to play for 32 minutes. We’re going to give them all we can for 32 and let the chips fall.
“We don‘t back down from anybody,” Hudson continued. “We’ll be ready.”