3-pointers: Friday Hoops Preview

Tonight’s Hancock County docket features two Hoosier Heritage Conference boys teams jockeying to stay in league title contention. For Greenfield-Central, the odds are good, as its Delta opponents have yet to earn a conference victory. For struggling New Palestine, Shelbyville’s bottom-tier defense could be just what the doctor ordered.

On the girls side, Class 4A No. 12 Mt. Vernon will try to close out its regular season by earning its 20th victory. It will not be easy. Class 2A No. 2 and defending state runner-up Fort Wayne Canterbury has lost only once this season.

All games begin at 7:30 p.m

Boys

Delta (6-11, 0-4 HHC) at Greenfield-Central (6-12, 4-2 HHC)

The Cougars (68.73 Sagarin Rating) are significant favorites against the Eagles (61.22).

Greenfield-Central closes out its HHC schedule with a chance to win five league games for the first time since the 2010-11 season. A win also assures them a share of second place in the HHC and an outside shot at a championship if Pendleton Heights loses its final two tilts.

Greenfield-Central point guard Chandler Bean has dished out his three best assists totals the past three games with nine, seven and eight.

Boys

New Palestine (8-8, 3-2 HHC) at Shelbyville (7-9, 1-4 HHC)

The Golden Bears (74.35 Sagarin Rating) are slight favorites against the Dragons (73.61).

After beginning the season 8-2, the Dragons have fallen on hard times, dropping six straight contests. Defense has been a hitch in New Palestine’s system all season, especially recently. The Dragons have allowed opponents to score 70-plus points in four of the past five games.

Shelbyville is the only team in the HHC to allow 60-plus points per game other than New Palestine. However, the Dragons are the only team that scores more than 61 points per game (68.9).

Girls

Mt. Vernon (19-2) at Fort Wayne Canterbury (16-1)

The Marauders (91.7 Sagarin Rating) are slim favorites against the Cavaliers (87.01).

With 19 wins, Mt. Vernon coach Steve Doud is off to a fantastic start to his career as the Marauders girls head coach, but he has a long way to go to catch Fort Wayne Canterbury’s Wayne Kreiger — the state’s fourth-winningest coach of all time (581).

The Marauders’ point totals have taken a dip of late. That likely can be attributed to a few light-scoring nights from an injured Ariana Sandefur (ankle). Do not expect that to continue, however, as the sharpshooter is still knocking down more than 40 percent of her 3-point attempts. If healthy, she will be dangerous tonight and in the sectional tourney.

— Compiled by Jim Ayello