By Mike Deak
WARSAW – Everyone remembers what happened last March, and most are ready to repeat.
Boys basketball sectionals are on the horizon, and the IHSAA draw on Sunday evening has everyone remembering the disappointment of the cancellation of the 2020 regional and subsequent of no state finals. But the sectionals were had at all 64 sites across the state, and nearly everyone is happy to have sectionals ready to go again in 2021.
The IHSAA drew its brackets for the 111th state tournament, with 399 teams finding its route to Indianapolis and the state finals on April 3. The sectional tournaments begin Tuesday, March 2, with championships all on Saturday, March 6.
Class 4-A No. 4 at Elkhart
For all those who want to see a bracket seeded, the six-team grid at the venerable North Side Gym in Elkhart is about as balanced as it can get. Tuesday’s matchups will have Penn (8-10) and Goshen (7-14) meet in game one, Concord (9-9) and Elkhart (11-10) in game two. The top two teams in the sectional, per record, drew the byes. Northridge (16-4) will get the Penn-Goshen winner at 6 p.m. Friday and Warsaw (15-7) catch the Concord-Elkhart winner in Friday’s second game.
The Tigers will come into the sectional after a week off, its final game of the regular season a 60-57 win at South Bend Washington on Saturday. Warsaw has won eight games in a row, but lost to Concord and only beat Elkhart by one point in the regular season.
Northridge is the defending champion of the Elkhart sectional.
Class 3-A No. 21 at West Noble
It’s nearly a mirror of the girls basketball sectional held a month ago. Wawasee, Tippecanoe Valley and NorthWood are all on the bottom half of the sectional while the NECC schools are on the top. Wawasee (9-11) and Tippy (6-14) will meet in game one on Tuesday in a 7 p.m. start in Ligonier, with NorthWood (11-8) starting its title defense against the winner in the second game Friday night. NECC rivals Lakeland (9-10) and West Noble (10-9) will play in Friday’s first game at 6 p.m.
NorthWood, Wawasee and West Noble are all 2-1 against the sectional field, NorthWood’s two wins coming against Wawasee and Valley. The Warriors and Vikings are scheduled to meet in the regular season finale next weekend.
Class 1-A No. 50 at Culver
Argos and Triton are the two favorites to meet in the final at Culver, both drawing Tuesday night games on their sides of the bracket. Argos (15-4) and LaCrosse (4-14) play in Tuesday’s opener at 6 p.m., with Triton (14-5) and West Central (0-16) occupying game two. Culver (7-12) awaits the game one winner, and Oregon-Davis will see the Triton-Central winner in game two on Friday night.
Culver’s championship, to which Argos is the defending champion, is Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Argos and Triton met two days ago, the Dragons picking up a 12-point win.
Class 1-A No. 53 at North Miami
The top two records in the sectional are on opposite sides of the bracket at North Miami. Southwood (10-10) and Southern Wells (2-17) will duke it out in game one, with the host North Miami (5-14) waiting for the winner in the first semi-final Friday night. On the other half, Lakeland Christian (9-9) and Smith Academy (2-13) will play in game two on Tuesday, with Northfield (6-14) awaiting the winner in the second semi-final.
Southwood and LCA met in the sectional final a year ago, Southwood running away with the championship. LCA has never won a sectional title in its IHSAA existence.