HANCOCK COUNTY — With two 20-win teams, three state-ranked clubs and six of seven competitors with at least 14 wins, Class 4A Sectional 9 at the Muncie Fieldhouse is considered the toughest boys’ basketball sectional in the state.

The tournament gets underway today with the combined record of the seven teams 113-44, a .720 winning percentage.

“A lot of great programs and a lot of great teams,” Greenfield-Central head coach Luke Meredith said. “Every team in it, except for Pendleton Heights, has 14-plus wins and nobody wants to play them because (PH coach Adam) Ballard does such a nice job with his group.”

The second-highest record, percentage-wise, belongs to the Class 3A NorthWood Sectional where teams have a combined 74-39 mark and .655 percentage. The Class 2A Southwestern (Hanover) tournament has 102 wins.

Three of the seven teams playing in Muncie call Hancock County home, No. 11 Greenfield-Central (21-1), No. 14 New Palestine (21-2) and defending sectional champion Mt. Vernon (14-8).

Three other teams have at least 15 wins, including No. 17 Anderson (19-4), Greenfield-Central’s opponent in Wednesday’s second quarterfinal matchup at Muncie Fieldhouse.

A year ago, they met in the tourney opener with the Indians coming out on top 64-39.

“We’ve won 18 games in a row, just broke the school record for winningest season (with 21 wins), it’s a big moment for our program,” Meredith said after his team won its season finale last week at Plainfield. “But, we’re not done yet. We’re excited about the opportunity (Wednesday). It’s not very often a 21-1 team is going to go into the first round sectional game being the underdog, but that’s the case as we play a very talented, very physical, very athletic Anderson Indians team.”

Anderson had won 14 straight after a three-loss stretch in December. The Indians were defeated by No. 4 Kokomo on Feb. 17.

The Dragons tied their school record with 21 wins with a victory over Greenwood in their final regular season game last Friday.

They were the fortunate team to draw the tournament’s bye and will not play until Friday night. They will take on the winner of tonight’s matchup between Richmond (16-6) and Pendleton Heights (7-16).

“The draw came out in our favor and that’s something we have no control over,” New Palestine head coach Trent Whitaker said. “We’ve talked about taking advantage of our opportunities. (Two weeks ago), was the (Hoosier Heritage) Conference championship. We put ourselves in that position. This one was kind of gifted to us. Now, we need to make sure we take advantage of that. We’re going to play a good team. Every team is capable to win on a given night. Whether it’s Richmond or Pendleton Heights, we’ll have to focus on them.”

The Arabians are the lone under-.500 team in the tournament, but have taken Anderson to overtime and played the Dragons tough for three quarters. New Palestine beat Richmond to open the season in November. The Dragons went on to win a school-record 15 games to start their season. The Red Devils turned things around after the New Pal loss. They had an eight-game winning streak and have only lost three times in 2023, with two coming to Anderson and Kokomo.

Mt. Vernon opens defense of its title in Wednesday’s first game, at 6 p.m., against host Muncie Central (15-7).

The Bearcats have gone from a 4-win team to 15-7. Their plus-11 in the win column is the second largest improvement in the state. Fort Wayne Wayne is 17-4 after going 4-17 a year ago.

Mt. Vernon’s run to 14 wins has been impressive, too. The Marauders, winners of the last two sectionals, graduated their entire 2021-22 roster except for current senior Eli Bridenthal. With three freshmen and a sophomore among their top six in minutes played, the Marauders have been one of the state’s most pleasant surprises.

The Muncie Central Sectional isn’t the only tournament involving county teams.

Eastern Hancock will hosts its Class 2A tournament and the field there is pretty good, too.

At 62-47 (.569 percent), the five-team tournament is the 17th winningest of the state’s 64 sectionals and fourth winningest in Class 2A.

The Royals got further than any team in the county last year, advancing to the semi-state.

At 18-6, they have the best record in their sectional, but both Scecina (15-6) and Triton Central (16-6) have had strong seasons, too.

It’s a rarity that it’s a tournament with two returning sectional champions. Triton Central won Sectional 44 last year. Eastern Hancock won Sectional 41. The IHSAA realigned tournaments prior to the school year.

The Royals will be the first county team to go into action as they are the lone game tonight in Charlottesville.

Eastern Hancock will take on Irvington Prep at 7 p.m. Along with trying to advance to a Friday semi-final against Scecina, Royals head coach Aaron Spaulding is just one win away from 300 for his career.

Boys Basketball Sectional Schedules

Class 2A Sectional 42

At Eastern Hancock High School

Tuesday, February 28

7 p.m. – Irvington Preparatory Academy (4-19) vs. Eastern Hancock (18-6)

Friday, March 3

6 p.m. – Triton Central (16-6) vs. Indianapolis Riverside (9-10)

7:30 p.m. – Eastern Hancock/IPA winner vs. Indianapolis Scecina (15-6)

Saturday, March 4

7 p.m. – Championship

Class 4A Sectional 9

At Muncie Fieldhouse (Muncie Central)

Tuesday, February 28

7 p.m. – Richmond (16-6) vs. Pendleton Heights (7-16)

Wednesday, March 1

6 p.m. — Mt. Vernon (14-8) at Muncie Central (15-7)

7:30 p.m. — Greenfield-Central (21-1) vs. Anderson (19-4)

Friday, March 3

6 p.m. — New Palestine (21-2) vs. Richmond/Pendleton Heights winner

7:30 p.m. — Mt. Vernon/Muncie Central winner vs. Greenfield-Central/Anderson winner

Saturday, March 4

7 p.m. — Championship