A look at the Class 4A Sectional 13 field at Whiteland heading into tonight’s semifinals:
So far: In Tuesday’s quarterfinals, New Palestine knocked off Center Grove 57-52 in a slight upset. The Trojans went 7-0 against the sectional field in the regular season, including a 68-54 win against the Dragons. Ryan Curry (20 points) and Kevin Riley (17 points) led New Palestine, which got credit for being the “tougher” and “more physical team” by Center Grove coach Zach Hahn. Franklin Central, 5-15 entering the tourney, beat Whiteland 66-59 in the other quarterfinal.
Tonight: The Dragons face Greenwood (3-20) for the second time in seven days. New Palestine hosted the Woodmen to end the regular season last Friday and used a 17-8 third quarter to pull away to a 65-49 win. “I thought we gave them some easy post looks that luckily they didn’t capitalize on,” New Palestine coach Adam Barton said Wednesday. His team is looking for its first three-game winning streak since December. “Until we become more consistent, we still have plenty of room for improvement,” he added. Franklin (10-13) drew a bye into the semifinals and will face Franklin Central in the 6 p.m. start. The Grizzly Cubs are playing as well as any of the Sectional 13 squads, winning four of five games to close the regular season with impressive victories against Columbus North (16-8), Roncalli (15-7), Plainfield (6-17) and Edgewood (12-10) and falling only to Perry Meridian (12-9). Franklin Central, meanwhile, has played the state’s seventh toughest schedule: Its opponents are a collective 308-181, a .630 win percentage.
Projection: Greenwood has talent. Senior 6-foot-4 forward Spencer Isenthal scored 17 points against the Dragons last week, and talented 6-4 freshman Jeff Reynolds (12 points) is going to be a force in this sectional before his career is over. But, the Dragons are too deep to fall tonight; Curry — the reigning Hancock County Player of the Year — netted “only” 12 points against the Woodmen to cap the regular season. Curry and a red-hot Riley (16.4 points per game during the last five contests) will advance New Palestine into the championship game. The semifinal opener is tougher to call. Franklin Central starts three juniors and two sophomores, but one of those juniors is 6-4 shooting guard Marcus Burk (19.0 ppg), who is receiving interest from IUPUI, Illinois State, among others. If Burk gets any help at all, look for the Flashes to advance.
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Franklin (10-13) vs. Franklin Central (6-15)
Game time: 6 p.m.
Coaches: Brad Dickey, 10-13 in first year at Franklin, 153-89 in 10th year overall. John Rockey, 45-47 in fourth year at Franklin Central.
Sagarin ratings: Franklin Central, 77.59, 86th overall, 53rd in Class 4A. Franklin, 70.68, 145th overall, 83rd in Class 4A.
Vs. common foes: Franklin 3-5; Franklin Central 1-8
Opponents’ records: Franklin 297-226, Franklin Central 308-180
Series in past 30 years: Franklin Central, 16-4
Last meeting: Franklin Central, 48-36, March 8, 2014, sectional
Greenwood (3-20) vs. New Palestine (12-11)
Game time: 7:30 p.m.
Coaches: Bruce Hensley, 241-324 in 26th year at Greenwood. Adam Barton, 119-102 in 10th year at New Palestine
Sagarin ratings: New Palestine, 75.29, 101st overall, 62nd in Class 4A. Greenwood, 60.89, 232nd overall, 98th in Class 4A
Vs. common foes: Greenwood 0-11; New Palestine 4-7
Opponents’ records: Greenwood 295-221, New Palestine 266-250
Series in past 30 years: New Palestine, 18-13
Last meeting: New Palestine, 65-49, Feb. 27
“Until we become more consistent, we still have plenty of room for improvement.”
– New Palestine coach Adam Barton