Boys basketball sectional previews


Bracket breakdowns for Hancock County teams in the upcoming 105th Annual IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament.

Class 4A Sectional 9 at New Castle

Tuesday, March 3

Richmond (20-3) vs. New Castle (8-11), 7 p.m.

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Wednesday, March 4

Pendleton Heights (17-6) vs. Connersville (13-10), 6 p.m.

Greenfield-Central (9-14) vs. Anderson (5-17), to follow

Friday, March 6

Mt. Vernon (12-8) vs. RI-NC winner, 6 p.m.

PH-CO winner vs. GC-AN winner, to follow

Saturday, March 7

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Winner advances to Southport Regional

The Favorites

(with Sagarin Rating, offensive/defensive ppg average, leading scorer-ppg)

Richmond (89.09, 69.9/56.9, Davious Webster-15.1)

Pendleton Heights (86.21, 54.9/47.3, Sean McDermott-16.0)

For those fans who wish sectionals were seeded, Sectional 9 presents an ideal scenario. The two top teams in this one can’t meet until Saturday night. The Red Devils and Arabians, who did not face off in the regular season, are led by seniors Davious Webster and Sean McDermott, respectively. Webster, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, has attracted mid-major attention, while McDermott, a 6-5 shooting guard, has signed with Butler. Richmond was 2-0 against Sectional 9 teams this season, while Pendleton Heights went 5-1.

The Contenders

Connersville (78.76, 44.9/44.0, Tyler Billups-9.7)

Greenfield-Central (70.30, 51.9/53.5, Tate Hall-16.0)

New Castle (74.81, 57.2/55.3, Abe Haler-14.6)

Mt. Vernon (80.54, 58.3/52.7, Michael Ertel-15.8)

Richmond and Pendleton Heights have plenty of work to do before reaching the final. New Castle is coming off a 64-49 win against the Arabians last week, a game in which the Trojans’ Abe Haler made 6-of-8 3-point attempts. Earlier in the season, Pendleton Heights needed overtime to get past Greenfield-Central. Connersville, allowing a sectional-best 40 points per game with a controlling, deliberate pace, is a matchup nightmare. Mt. Vernon, 4-2 over its last six games, got the benefit of the bye. The Marauders are allowing only 45.1 points per game during the current hot streak.

The Longshot

Anderson (72.84, 61.9/65.8, Dionte Raines-14.1)

Anderson has struggled against the state’s 20th toughest schedule, mostly on the defensive end. Pendleton Heights (80-57) and New Castle (89-83, triple overtime) found plenty of easy buckets against the Indians this season, although Anderson improved in a rematch against Pendleton Heights, falling 59-47. The Indians have lost five straight sectional openers.


Class 4A Sectional 13 at Whiteland

Tuesday, March 3

Whiteland (9-12) vs. Franklin Central (5-14), 6 p.m.

Center Grove (12-9) vs. New Palestine (10-11), to follow

Friday, March 6

Franklin (9-13) vs. WH-FC winner, 6 p.m.

Greenwood (3-19) vs. NP-CG winner, to follow

Saturday, March 7

Championship, 7 p.m.

Winner advances to Seymour Regional

The Favorite

(with Sagarin Rating, offensive/defensive average, leading scorer)

Center Grove (82.56, 54.5/53.1, Michael Benkert-15.7)

Pay no attention to the Trojans’ middling 11-9 record. They’ve played the 13th-toughest schedule in the state; recent losses have come against 4A top 20s Carmel, Ben Davis and Lawrence North. In addition to going 7-0 against Sectional 13 squads in the regular season, Center Grove beat Mooresville (17-3) and 4A No. 8 North Central (15-5) back-to-back last week. They picked up another impressive win over Brownsburg (18-6) on Tuesday.

The Contenders

Franklin Central (76.36, 60.5/66.8, Marcus Burk-20.1)

Whiteland (76.05, 61.8/59.0, Tom Purdie-17.3)

New Palestine (75.53, 68.9/69.9, Ryan Curry-21.4)

Franklin (70.73, 57.2/63.9, Cameron Smith-18.9)

Much like Center Grove, Franklin Central’s record is deceiving, by virtue of its brutal schedule (nine toughest in the state). The Flashes, a 53-48 winner against Ben Davis on Tuesday, took Center Grove to the wire in a 61-59 loss in the season opener. New Palestine, Franklin and Whiteland have shown glimpses of championship ability. Led by Ryan Curry, the Dragons can score with anyone. Franklin beat 4A Roncalli (14-6) in overtime last week. And the Warriors fell by only three points, 50-47, to Center Grove in the regular season.

The Longshot

Greenwood (60.80, 47.1/59.5, Spencer Isenthall-12.4)

The Woodmen drew the bye, but that won’t be enough to propel a team that is 0-13 against 4A competition.


Class 2A Sectional 41 at Hagerstown

Tuesday, March 3

Eastern Hancock (10-11) vs. Union County (11-10), 7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 4

Knightstown (14-7) vs. Hagerstown (14-4), 6 p.m.

Centerville (12-8) vs. Cambridge City Lincoln (8-11), to follow

Friday, March 6

Northeastern (19-3) vs. EH-UC winner, 6 p.m.

KN-HA winner vs. CE-CCL winner, to follow

Saturday, March 7

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Winner advances to Greenfield-Central Regional

The Favorite

(with Sagarin Rating, offensive/defensive average, leading scorer)

Northeastern (77.64, 68.9/50.1, Craig Dingwerth-14.4)

A year after winning the first sectional title in program history, the 2A No. 5-ranked Knights haven’t slowed down. They’re 8-0 against Sectional 41 foes this season. Northeastern’s only losses are to 4A No. 10 Richmond, 2A No. 6 Indianapolis Attucks and 3A Rushville.

The Contenders

Hagerstown (67.07, 60.8/51.2, Thorin Stage 21.7)

Knightstown (63.60, 57.9/51.7, Jackson Edwards-16.2)

Hagerstown and Knightstown faced sectional fave Northeastern a combined three times and managed to stay mostly competitive. Northeastern beat Hagerstown twice (73-64, 74-57) and Knightstown once (59-49). The problem for the Tigers and Panthers: They drew each other in the sectional opener and would have to win again after that just to make it to a possible championship matchup against the Knights.

The Longshots

Union County (57.43, 47.8/48.8, Dillon Miller-13.5)

Centerville (57.23, 49.8/50.4, Sam Shaw-16.1)

Eastern Hancock (57.01, 51.7/54.9, Addison True-12.2)

Cambridge City Lincoln (47.16, 56.3/60.3, Ben Singer-20.1)

Eastern Hancock was won at least one sectional game in 10 of the previous 15 tournaments under head coach Aaron Spaulding. If history is a guide, they’ll be ready to play against Union County, a 49-40 regular season winner over the Royals. But, a semifinal tilt against Northeastern would be a more insurmountable challenge: the Knights defeated the Royals 79-26 in December.

— Compiled by Brian Harmon