Folks around Bloomfield and Linton are rejoicing, and with good reason. Their Bloomfield Cardinals and Linton Miners are sectional champions, yet again.
For Bloomfield it’s No. 33 all-time. Linton has now won five of the past seven, including four straight from 2013-16.
“Now won” – that’s a palindrome.
To the fans, coaches and players: Enjoy it, because 340 other teams saw their seasons end in disappointment.
The time-worn cliche states, “Anything can happen in the postseason.” Cliches are just that – time-worn, banal and trite. But they continue to exist because, well, there’s an element of truth to them.
Upsets abound in the postseason.
There is a link on John Harrell’s Indiana Boys Basketball homepage titled “The Avengers” – teams who avenged regular-season losses in the sectional.
Seventy-two teams made Harrell’s list for the sectional week just concluded. Linton of course made the list, upending South Knox 54-39 in the final at North Daviess. The Miners lost 69-66 at South Knox January 31.
There were some impressive turnarounds – and some whopping point differentials.
The second-largest differential (39 points) belonged to the Alexandria Tigers. Alexandria blew out Madison-Grant 63-30 in the 2A sectional final at Eastern (Greentown) after losing to the Argylls 71-65 during the regular season. Days earlier Madison-Grant had upset 2A third-ranked Tipton 51-48. No doubt they were suffering a bit of a hangover from the huge win, and perhaps a touch of overconfidence.
In another 39-point turnaround, Evansville Reitz knocked off Evansville Central 82-53. The Central Bears had beaten the Reitz Panthers 54-44 in the regular campaign. Jasper won the 4A sectional hosted by Evansville North, defeating Reitz 45-39 in the final.
There were other notable reversals.
Evansville Bosse had beaten Evansville Memorial 82-61 in the regular season. But the Bosse Bulldogs lost to the Memorial Tigers 69-57 in the semifinal of the 3A Boonville Sectional.
Bosse (17-8) had edged Heritage Hills, then 22-1 and ranked fourth in 3A 66-62 in the first round.
Chesterton edged Valparaiso 35-30 in the final at Portage. Valpo, boasting an All-State candidate in Brandon Newman had beaten Chesterton 67-39 during the season.
Then there’s the sad tale of Crothersville. The tiny school south of Seymour had never won a sectional. The Crothersville Tigers and West Washington Senators were set to meet in the sectional final at West Washington. The Tigers had already beaten the Senators 57-41 three weeks earlier.
Could this finally be the year for Crothersville?
West Washington joined “The Avengers,” ending the “Cinderella Story” 53-41.
But on a lighter note, how about those Owen Valley Patriots? Owen Valley ousted Edgewood 46-33 in the final at Owen Valley.
Maybe veteran coach Roger Fleetwood can bring back Patriot Time?
Speaking of veteran coaches, there’s none better in a big game than Ron McBride – especially when he’s the underdog.
Five days after the Miners lost at South Knox McBride’s Cardinals put a whooping on the Spartans, 45-27.
There was little danger of Bloomfield being upset in Sectional 57 at Clay City. The Cardinals made sushi of the Eels from Eminence and Clay City, beating each by 19 before drowning the Shakamak Lakers 34-21 in the final.
Looking ahead to Saturday Bloomfield and Linton appear to have as good a chance as anyone in their respective regionals.
Defending 1A state champion Morristown is in the field at Martinsville. The Yellow Jackets are 24-4. But Morristown isn’t quite what it was last year. Hayden Langkabel graduated.
Linton will have a tough row to hoe at Paoli. The four teams – the Miners, the host Rams, Southwestern (Hanover) and Tell City – all appear to be about equal. All four are ranked in the top 10.
Linton beat Paoli 67-62 in the season opener, a four-team tournament at Linton. Now it’s the Rams who get a home game.
I wish they’d never moved that 2A regional from Huntingburg...