SOUTHSIDER VOICE PHOTOS BY NATHAN PACE Southport standout Chaz Hinds drives to the basket Saturday against Evansville Reitz.
A familiar sight throughout the season is seeing Center Grove senior 6-9 Trayce Jackson-Davis playing around the rim.
SUBMITTED PHOTO Angela English, center, widow of the late coach Matt English, met with, from left, Hornets coach Mike Renfro and senior players Romeo Echols, Jordan Brickley, Griffin Wade, John Parker and Gavin Hess before the annual BGHS boys basketball Coaches vs. Cancer night earlier this month. The Hornets go into the Danville Sectional with the goal of honoring coach English, who died of cancer in December. The Hornets have clinched a record fourth consecutive winning season.
By Al Stilley Editor
The 109th IHSAA boys’ basketball tourney begins Tuesday with six Southside teams in action on opening night. Perry Meridian, Southport, Center Grove, Greenwood, Beech Grove and Greenwood Christian taking to the hardwood. Roncalli, Franklin Central, Manual and Lutheran drew byes and play March 1. Southside fans can catch local sectionals at Center Grove, Perry Meridian and Lutheran.
All games Tuesday and March 1 are double-headers at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sectional championship games are March 2. Here’s the outlook:
At Perry Meridian (4A) Host Perry Meridian (7-12) and Roncalli (5-15) are in the upper bracket, but underdog Southport (10-11) is stuck in the lower bracket with co-favorites Pike (13-8) and Ben Davis (20-2).
Under first-year coach Eric Brand, the Cardinals were up and down, putting together a six-game winning streak followed by a six-game losing skid. The Falcons, coached for the first time by former state champion coach Mark James, open Tuesday against Decatur Central in a rematch after the Hawks won 29-28 Saturday.
The winner meets Roncalli, March 1 as the prelim to a predicted Ben Davis-Pike semifinal showdown. Pike prevails.
At Center Grove (4A) Sectional host No. 10 Center Grove (15-7) would appear to be the heavy favorite with a 6-0 record against sectional foes and with All Star candidate and Indiana University recruit 6-9 Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Six of the Trojans losses were to top-10 ranked teams, including two losses against No. 1 Warren Central. Greenwood (9-11) looms as a foreboding first-round foe because coach Joe Bradburn’s improved Woodmen pushed the Trojans to two overtimes in the county tourney. The Woodmen are led by guard Bryce Hoffman, who has hit three game-winning shots this season.
The CG-Greenwood winner faces Franklin Central (3-18), a team that jelled last weekend for triumphs against Westfield, 58-57 on a 3-pointer by Jovan Small, and Roncalli, 42-31 after leading 34-15 at the end of the third quarter. The winner of the all-Southside bracket would meet Franklin (15-7), Martinsville (6-15) or Whiteland (9-12) for the sectional title. CG walks dangerous path to title.
At Danville (3A) Manual (12-6) is a very slight favorite. Redskins meet Tri-West (10-10) or Danville (13-7) in March 1 semi.
Manual competes for second straight Greater Indianapolis tourney trophy Friday and Saturday, so the sectional bye is a huge break. Manual coach Donnie Bowling has solid 1-2-3 punch with 6-8 seniors Jalen Johnson (21.7 points) and Ijazz Abdulleman (6.6 rebounds) and classmate Caleb Redman (14.7 points) in the backcourt.
Emotions will run high for Beech Grove after loss of coach Matt English to cancer Dec. 10. Hornets are 8-6 under interim coach Mike Renfro who can rely upon five seniors and rising junior Jajuan Allison (13.6 ppg).
BG has history making fourth winning season in a row. Hornets meet Indian Creek (13-6) in sectional opener Tuesday with the winner meeting Herron (2-17) in semi. A BG-Manual sectional title game would be scintillating; the Hornets edged Manual 63-56 in OT Dec. 8.
At Lutheran (1A) Greenwood Christian (11-10) is a slim favorite only because Cougars defeated Central Christian (15-6) in OT during season. They are in opposite brackets. The Cougars must get past dangerous Tindley (8-13) Tuesday for a Southside semi battle against rival Lutheran (8-12). Central Christian has a much easier path to title game March 2.
Cougars, coached by Jonny Marlin, are led by juniors, 6-5 Champ McCorkle (19.3 points) and 6-3 Andrew Anderson (13.6 points).