Andy Amey: Six local sectional winners? Could happen

Feb. 29—It's looking like the enjoyment that the Tribune-Star and Wabash Valley high school basketball fans will experience a week from now could depend on the decision-making capabilities of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

I know! I'm as optimistic as you are!

A week from now are the high school boys basketball regional games which, same as the girls tournament, are one-game affairs leading to four-team semistates March 16. Those 32 regionals will be played in 16 doubleheaders March 9.

The Tribune-Star's stake in this is a good problem to have — sort of. There are six sectionals involving teams in our coverage area and "our" teams could win all six of them.

There have been times in the past when the paper was staffed sufficiently to cover six sectional champions in their regional contests. That is no longer the case.

But, if the IHSAA would assign those six sectional winners to the same three regional sites, we could possibly cover all three sites. Which is why I'm so optimistic!

I still remember the single-class high school softball tournament in, I believe, 1991. There were four regionals feeding into the semistate for southwestern Indiana. The Rockville Regional was the northernmost of the four, and Seeger was the northernmost team in that regional area. Thus the pre-Stephanie White Patriots were sent to Evansville, a mere 90 minutes farther away from West Lebanon than the other three semistates were being played.

The IHSAA men and women have a tough job and there are a lot of factors that go into choosing where 32 teams are assigned. But the Tribune-Star could use a little help to take care of our teams. Just sayin'.

As far as this weekend goes, the schedule of sectional semifinal games Friday is listed, with the winners playing for championships on Friday.

—Class 4A — Both Terre Haute North (and its 18-game winning streak) and the host Braves are capable of winning two games the next two nights. If they each win Friday, we get a third North-South game.

The winner of this sectional will be matched against the winner of the Lawrence North Sectional, arguably the toughest 4A sectional in the state. But there will be only one team left from that loaded field by next weekend.

—Class 3A — Red-hot Northview has a decent chance to win this one against three other Western Indiana Conference rivals.

The prize for the winner of this sectional? Probably either Danville, often ranked No. 1 in the state this season, or Tri-West, another top-10 team.

—Class 2A, Greencastle — This will be the third meeting in two years between Parke Heritage and Greencastle, and probably not the last. Both teams have a lot of young talent.

Coach Michael Byrum's first Southmont team got the bye and plays North Putnam. There appear to be no ranked teams for the winner from here to play next week.

—Class 2A, Paoli — Friday night's Sullivan-Linton game should decide this sectional, although South Knox got a good sectional start.

Next week, three ranked teams are possible foes for this sectional's winner, including a Brownstown Central team that would be a threat even in the 4A affair.

—Class A, Fountain Central — North Vermillion has the best record in the field, and the regional doesn't look all that threatening.

—Class A, White River Valley — Four SouthWestern Indiana Athletic Conference rivals play Friday and Saturday, with Clay City the on-paper favorite.

A bigger favorite is Bethesda Christian, the host of the sectional whose winner faces the SWIAC survivor.

* Class 4A, at Terre Haute South

* — Terre Haute South (11-12) vs. Avon (13-10) , 6 p.m., followed by Terre Haute North (21-3) vs. Brownsburg (14-11)

Class 3A, at Owen Valley

* — Northview (12-11) vs. Owen Valley (8-15), 6 p.m., followed by Indian Creek (15-8) vs. Edgewood (13-12)

Class 2A, at Greencastle

* — Southmont (9-12) vs. North Putnam (15-9), 6 p.m., followed by Greencastle (15-9) vs. Parke Heritage (20-5)

Class 2A, at Paoli

* — Linton (18-4) vs. Sullivan (19-5), 6 p.m., followed by South Knox (10-13) vs. Eastern Greene (5-18)

Class A, at Fountain Central

* — North Vermillion (13-10) vs. Faith Christian (12-12), 6 p.m., followed by Fountain Central (10-12) vs. Rossville (10-14)

Class A, at White River Valley

* — Shakamak (13-9) vs. Clay City (19-5), 6 p.m., followed by North Central (11-12) vs. Bloomfield (12-13)

Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. at 812-231-4276 or 812-231-4277; by email at; or by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808. Follow TribStarAndy on the X.