With the brackets and schedules set, all five boys’ basketball teams from Jackson County have their sights set on postseason glory.
Brownstown Central, Crothersville, Medora, Seymour and Trinity Lutheran will all take to the hardwood for sectional play, with first-round games commencing tomorrow evening.
CLASS 4A SECTIONAL 15 (SEYMOUR)
There’s no easy route out of Sectional 15 at the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.
Story continues below gallery
A slew of Hoosier Hills Conference teams will meet up once again.
Seymour (8-14) looks for revenge tomorrow evening in the early game, as they get another crack at Jeffersonville (14-10).
“Really, you look at this sectional, there’s no easy way to the championship,” Seymour coach Tyler Phillips said. “I feel like the draw didn’t really matter. You’re going to have to beat three really good teams to win. I think it’s one of the top in the state.”
On Dec. 9, Jeff defeated Seymour 63-46 in a Hoosier Hills Conference game.
In that game, the teams were separated by one point after the first quarter before the Red Devils led 29-22 at half. Jeff outscored Seymour 15-4 in the third quarter, but the Owls added 20 points in the fourth while the Red Devils tacked-on 19.
“We had them early, when we were still trying to find our identity,” Phillips said. “They had a hot night and hit a lot of outside shots. That’s a game, about two weeks after it happened, I wanted another shot at — the kids and I both.”
Rebounds played factor, as the Red Devils won the battle of the boards 25-14.
The Red Devils are playing a tough brand of basketball in the latter half of the season, winning six of their last eight. From Jan. 28 through Feb. 17, the Red Devils won six games straight.
“They’ve been playing well for about the past month,” Phillips said. “(Bailey) Falkenstein is a kid who has really found his identity on the floor. He had a game against Louisville Ballard (Ky.) where he scored 41. We’re going to have to find a way to take him away.”
In that same span, the Owls went 3-5. Key wins this season for the Owls include Columbus East and Bedford North Lawrence.
Should they emerge victorious, the Owls would play Class 4A No. 9 Floyd Central (18-4) on Friday, who they lost to 39-27 on Jan. 27.
Seymour frustrated the potent Highlanders’ offense, as the 39 points is the fewest the Highlanders have scored in a game this season.
“We’ve been playing as a team,” Phillips said of recent play. “We’ve found our niche defensively. We’ve been holding teams, for about the last six weeks, to 10 or 12 points under their average. We need to find a way when they take away our offensive tendencies to still score the basketball. Defensively, I think we’re really locked-in right now.”
On the other side of the bracket, the reigning state champs, No. 2 New Albany (21-3), Jennings County (13-10) and Bedford North Lawrence (9-15) square off.
Of the three Hoosier Hills foes, the Owls’ have only beaten Bedford North Lawrence this season (68-65 on Jan. 20).
While the Owls get to play at home, Phillips said that it won’t play suit in any outcomes.
“In sectional, I don’t think it matters,” Phillips said. “That’s one thing about southern Indiana basketball: It’s wild. There will be as many New Albany, Jeffersonville and Bedford North Lawrence people here as we do. It’s a sectional atmosphere and you wouldn’t want it any other way.”
CLASS 3A SECTIONAL 30 (SALEM)
While Brownstown Central’s enter as the favorite going into Sectional 30, their plan is to take it one game at a time.
Their Class 3A No. 1 ranking that held for most all of the second half of the season doesn’t mean much in single elimination games now that all teams are 0-0.
The No. 3 Braves (21-2) will face North Harrison (11-11) in the lone game at Salem tomorrow night to open play.
In their Mid-Southern Conference game on Dec. 16, the Braves grinded out the first half before opening it up in the second half for a 72-47 victory over the Cougars.
The Braves trailed 29-28 at half against the Cougars before dropping 22 points in each of the third and fourth quarters.
“North Harrison played pretty much even with us for the first two and one-half quarters,” Braves coach Dave Benter said. “They had the lead halfway through the third quarter. They have one seniors and are really talented. They’ve good a good mix of inside and outside guys. We’re not looking past one game.”
Benter said the team recently watched film from their previous game against the Cougars, focusing on how crisp the ball movement looked on tape.
Brownstown opened the season with 19 straight wins before falling to Floyd Central and Providence (in overtime) the week of Feb. 13.
Benter said the team learned they need to execute better down the stretch through those tough losses.
“It’s a matter of 32 minutes together on both ends of the floor,” he said. “This team is competitive and gritty, but there are times when we need to play smarter and execute better. We have been in a lot of close games this year, and most times we’ve executed well late in the game.”
Should the Braves win, they face Charlestown (12-12) on Friday in the semifinals, who they beat 68-49 on Jan. 27.
The finals would be against either Silver Creek, Salem or Corydon Central.
Two of those foes gave the Braves all they could handle.
Silver Creek (14-8) fell to the Braves 55-51 on Jan. 13 and No. 9 Salem (20-2) lost to BC 76-73 in the season opener.
On Jan. 28, the Braves downed Corydon Central (8-15) 86-67.
Benter said that any team could emerge from the bottom of the bracket.
“Silver Creek is playing really well and Corydon is having a really nice year after last year,” Benter said. “There’s no guarantees for us or Salem. There are a lot of other teams capable of beating us on the right night.”
Brownstown brings 10 seniors into this year’s postseason.
“You always want experience in the postseason,” Benter said. “Our guys are experienced and have played in a lot of big games in their lives. We feel real comfortable with our guys. They’re a loose bunch and I don’t see that being any different (this) week. They understand how good of competition there is in this sectional.”
CLASS A SECTIONAL 61 (BORDEN)
Medora and Borden will open Sectional 61 on Tuesday and that game will be followed by West Washington facing Orleans.
Crothersville will face the Borden-Medora winner at 6 p.m. Friday, and Trinity Lutheran will plat the Orleans-West Washington winner in the second game.
Medora is 3-19 after falling to Central Christian on Friday night, while Borden stands at 11-11 after losing to Salem on Friday.
Medora coach Mark Morin is more concerned about how his team plays than he is about Borden.
“We are playing better,” he said. “Our game against Washington Catholic (a 67-58 win Feb. 18) is the best we’ve this year.”
The Hornets have shown vast improvement over the past four weeks, as their wins over Cannelton, Bloomington Lighthouse and Washington have come since Jan. 28 after they started the season 0-17.
The Hornets scored in the 60s in all three of their wins, but scored in the 60s only once in their first 17 games (against Columbus Christian).
Medora did not play Borden during the season.
“I saw (Borden) play West Washington and they are pretty good,” Morin said. “They’re just a solid team, fundamentally sound, aggressive, and they just continue to get better.
“It will be tough, especially playing at Borden. We can’t let things snowball. We match up better physically against Borden than we do some of the other teams in the sectional, but we’re not playing a lot of guys now, about six, and that kind of hurts us.”
Hunter Browning, a transfer, became eligible second semester and has topped the Hornets the last 11 games with an average of 18 per game with high games of 25 against Washington Catholic and 23 against Cannelton.
Brandon Moore, the only senior on the team, has been a steady leader throughout the season and is averaging 16.6 per game.
Crothersville coach Greg Kilgore and Trinity coach Brian Stuckwisch said their game plans will change slightly on who their opponents are Friday.
Crothersville (7-16) has beaten Medora twice, including 55-51 last week, but lost to Borden 43-40 Dec. 10.
“It’s kind of a tale of two teams,” Kilgore said. “Against Borden we’ll really need to control the ball and keep them off the boards. We lost to them by three at home and we felt like we let some opportunities slip by that we could have beaten Borden.
“With Medora they’re a different story. They’re the kind of team that we want to speed up and get the score up higher. So it’s almost kind of a ‘wait and see who wins,’ and figure out our game plan.”
Kilgore said his team will definitely need a strong offensive game against either opponent.
“That’s kind of been our bugaboo all year, hitting shots,” he said. “Course, that’s basketball in general. If you’re shooting well, the games a whole lot easier. It seems like kids want to defend better when they’re shooting, too.”
Justin Thomas leads the Tigers in scoring with 19 per game and Connor O’Sullivan is next at 9.8 per game. O’Sullivan is the only senior on the CHS team.
Trinity hasn’t played Orleans (5-18), but did lose to West Washington (17-6), 63-37, at home on Dec. 10.
“Going into the fourth quarter it was a 10-point difference and then they pulled ahead and won the game quite easy in the fourth quarter,” Stuckwisch recalled.
“West Washington is very physical and bigger size wise, athletic. Orleans is more our size. They play a little bit slower game. West Washington likes to speed it up and play a faster game. They’re different teams and we’ll have to see which one we get to play.”
Stuckwisch said if the Cougars play the Bulldogs, “We’ll definitely have to take advantage of every possession and make it count with a high percentage shot. They like to slow the game down (averaging 47). They are smart and disciplined.”
If Trinity faces the Senators again, Stuckwisch said, “We need to not get in a track race with them, not run up-and-down the floor. We’ve definitely got to hold our turnvoers down. Rebounding will be a problem. We need to block out and stay even on the rebounding part of the game.
“Both games our defense has to be there no matter what,” Trinity is allowing 58 points per game.
The Cougars are 6-17 after a big win over Rising Sun Friday night, are led in scoring by Colton Wischmeier at 12.7 points a game and Chad Stuckwisch is next at 10 per contest.
Senior center Kendall White missed two games late in the season because of an ankle injury but returned to action against Rising Sun and is set for the sectional, Coach Stuckwisch said.
Game 1: Seymour (8-14) vs. Jeffersonville (14-10), 6 p.m.
Game 2: New Albany (21-3) vs. Jennings County (13-10), 7:30 p.m.
Game 3: Floyd Central (18-4) vs. Winner Game 1, 6 p.m.
Game 4: Bedford N. Lawrence (9-15) vs. Winner Game 2, 7:30 p.m.
Championship 7:30 p.m.
Game 1: Brownstown Central (21-2) vs. North Harrison (11-11), 7 p.m.
Game 2: Salem (20-2) vs. Scottburg (5-18) 6 p.m.
Game 3: Silver Creek (14-8) vs. Corydon Central (8-15), 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: Charlestown (12-10) vs. Winner Game 1, 8 p.m.
Game 5: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3, 7:30 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.
Game 1: Medora (3-19) vs. Borden (11-11), 6 p.m.
Game 2: Orleans (5-18) vs. West Washington (17-6), 7:30 p.m.
Game 3: Crothersville (7-16) vs. Winner Game 1, 6 p.m.
Game 4: Trinity Lutheran (6-17) vs. Winner Game 2, 7:30 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.
Name;year;points per game
Brownstown Central (20-2)
Gavin Bane, Sr. (8.5)
Carson Lambring, Sr. (17.7)
Ty Maxie, Sr. (8.0)
Derek Rieckers, Sr. (5.5)
Cody Waskom, Sr. (18.8)
Conner O’Sullivan, Sr. (9.9)
Zane Elliott, Jr. (3.6)
Noah Hoskins, Jr. (5.6)
Lane Wienhorst, So. (8.7)
Josh Thomas, Fr. (19.1)
Brandon Moore, Sr. (16.7)
Hunter Browning, Jr. (18.0)
Gavin Henson, Jr. (4.8)
Tony Norklun, Jr. (2.0)
JD Fish, So. (5.7)
Tyler Bloom, Sr. (13.0)
Alex Hofer, Sr. (3.7)
Jordan Miller, Sr. (4.3)
Tiller Cummings, Jr. (7.7)
Alan Perry, Jr. (9.8)
Trinity Lutheran (6-17)
Sam Marksberry, Sr. (4.7)
Kendall White, Sr. (7.9)
Chad Stuckwisch, Sr. (10.1)
Colton Wischmeier, Sr. (12.7)
Jacob Rowe, Jr. (8.6)