Southsider Voice correspondent
The targets on the backs of Southport’s No. 1-ranked boys basketball players keep getting bigger and bigger.
Coach Kyle Simpson’s talented squad lived up to that ranking by winning the Hall of Fame Classic championship at New Castle, downing Batesville 65-31 and Brownsburg 66-49.
Bigger challenges loom for the 9-0 Cardinals, beginning Tuesday in the 16-team Marion County tournament.
The Cardinals, who have enjoyed their lofty ranking since mid-December, are among a field of six top-20 ranked teams: No. 2 North Central, No. 10 Lawrence North, No. 13 Pike and No. 16 Ben Davis. And the Dec. 21 Indiana Basketball Coaches Association poll listed Warren Central and Lawrence Central among the state’s top 50 teams.
Southport’s opens tournament play against Decatur Central. A win would pit the Cardinals against Pike, the only other ranked team in the lower bracket, or Franklin Central.
Other first-round games at 7 p.m. Tuesday: Game 1–Perry Meridian (7-3) at Warren Central (4-5); G-2 – North Central (9-0) at Lawrence North (7-1); G-3 – Lutheran (3-5) at Ben Davis (5-3); G-4 – Brebeuf (6-5) at Speedway (5-3); G-5 – Park Tudor (7-0) at Beech Grove (3-6); G-6 – Southport (9-0) at Decatur Central (2-5); G-7 – Pike (5-2) at Franklin Central (3-7); G-8 – Roncalli (6-2) at Lawrence Central (2-9). Winners of Games 1, 3, 5 and 7 will host quarterfinal games at 7 p.m. Jan. 14.
Southport Fieldhouse will host the semifinals at 6 p.m. Jan. 16 and the championship game at 7 p.m. Jan. 17.
Several Southside teams were in action during Christmas break.
Roncalli captured the one-day Shelbyville Shootout by defeating East Central 51-32 and Shelbyville 66-51. Senior sharpshooter Jimmy King scored a school-record 46 points against Shelbyville. He tallied 26 against Martinsville on Friday, but the Artesians’ rallied in the fourth quarter for a 75-70 victory, which ended Roncalli’s five-game winning streak.
Greenwood Christian played in Monrovia’s tournament and defeated the Bulldogs but lost to Indian Creek 44-36 in the championship game Dec. 30.
Perry Meridian won three-of-four games during the break, losing only to Center Grove 66-56. Perry leading scorer Dylan Windler pumped in a season-high 37 points against the Trojans.
Upcoming games: 7:30 p.m., unless indicated: Friday – Roncalli at Beech Grove (girls-boys double-header at 6 p.m.), Carmel at Center Grove, Southport at Franklin Central, Greenwood Christian at Crispus Attucks, Trinity Lutheran at Lutheran, Perry Meridian at Terre Haute South; Saturday – Whiteland at Greenwood, Greenwood Christian at Shortridge, Edinburgh at Lutheran, Shelbyville at Perry Meridian.