Hoosier Hysteria comes alive tonight as sectionals begin for boy’s basketball across the state. For the second year in a row, Bloomington South hosts sectional 14, but this year six teams vie for the championship as opposed to the five team sectional this has been for the past four years. With no clear-cut favorite, this year’s sectional should be a wide-open affair with four or five teams having legitimate claims of winning. Both Bloomington schools have received a bye so the other four teams get going tonight in their quest for the title.
COLUMBUS NORTH VS. EAST CENTRAL
In the sectional opener, Columbus North battles East Central for the right to move on to Friday’s semifinal against Bloomington North. Columbus North enters the game as the sectional favorite after completing a 17-5 regular season. They also defeated every other opponent in this sectional including a 71-43 drubbing of East Central on February 4th. The Bulldogs are long, athletic and can shoot the ball at every position.
East Central begins tournament play 8-14, but on a six game losing streak. In fact after beginning the season a strong 6-4, the Trojans have won just twice in the last 12 games. While the numbers may not stack up, you can never count out East Central, especially after winning this sectional back in 2008 knocking out heavy favorite Bloomington South in the opener.
COLUMBUS EAST VS. SHELBYVILLE
In Tuesday’s second game, Columbus East takes on Shelbyville with the winner advancing to a semifinal matchup with the host Bloomington South Panthers. Columbus East made it all the way to the sectional final last year before bowing out. They’re a young team that now has plenty of experience and a chance to make some noise this year. They come into the postseason as one of the hottest teams winning 10 of their last 11 games. It’s been quite a turnaround after starting the season 1-6 and have only lost twice since December 29th and sit at 13-8 overall. One of the wins was a 78-58 victory over Shelbyville back on January 13th.
Shelbyville begins sectional play at just 1-19 after struggling in their first season back in class 4A. Their only win came by one point over Delta on February 17th. This is a team that had back-to-back winning seasons with appearances in sectional championships the previous two seasons. Of course, those came in class 3A where they were one of the biggest schools in the state. Now with the promotion to class 4A, the Golden Bears are one of the smallest schools in the class and haven’t been able to compete as well. Their average margin of loss this season is 18.1 points and only lost by less than 11 points twice all year. It’s no stretch to say a win would be shocking, but stranger things have happened and at this time of year the slate is wiped clean.