DeKalb (13-7) vs. Snider (9-9)
West Noble (15-4) vs. NorthWood (13-6)
Fremont (11-7) vs. LaVille (13-6)
Canterbury (11-7) vs. Blackhawk Christian (6-14)
FORT WAYNE — The Class 4A sectional sites in northeast Indiana, especially ones at Carroll and Huntington North, might be as loaded as they have been in years.
Of the seven teams at Carroll, half of them have at least 13 wins and a fifth is a dangerous .500 team. At Huntington North, four of the six teams are above .500 and a fifth is around that mark and is playing on its home court.
It all makes for a good time to be a basketball fan but a lot to worry about for a coach for the sectionals, which run Feb. 26 to March 2.
“Any sectional anymore, no matter which class, is going to be a difficult one to win,” Homestead coach Chris Johnson said.
Northrop is the defending sectional champion at Carroll, while Homestead won the title last year at Huntington North.
“It is a daunting challenge, and if we are able to win a sectional we will have earned it,” said Northrop coach Barak Coolman, whose team opens against the host Chargers (8-13). “I would say, though, over half the teams in the sectional could win it. It is going to be exciting to see, and that’s what makes this time of the year so much fun.”
The records, as of Sunday’s IHSAA sectional draw, have at Carroll with Columbia City (18-3), Northrop (15-6), North Side (13-5), DeKalb (13-7) and Snider (9-9). And at Huntington North, there are Jay County (18-2), Homestead (16-4), New Haven (14-5), Wayne (11-8) and Huntington North (10-11).
“We are playing pretty good basketball right now, but just like Jay County, New Haven, Wayne are, and throw into the mix Huntington North from the standpoint that you have to play them on their home court,” Johnson said.
The Spartans play Huntington North in the opener, while New Haven received a first-round bye. The two teams tied for the NHC championship, with New Haven winning the regular-season matchup. The two teams could have a rematch in the sectional finals.
In an interesting twist, a lot of the area 4A teams face off against one another as well as some cross-sectional matchups in the final couple of weeks of the regular season.
“Hopefully that gets us prepared for all different styles of play,” said Johnson, whose team played Snider last week, and has Northrop and North Side this week. “The NHC is more of a ball-control type of game, and a lot of the SAC teams want to get up and down the court and get transition baskets, and New Haven is very similar in that type of style. Over the next few games will give us an opportunity to be prepared for anything teams throw at us.”
Other pairings highlights include, the 2012 3A state runner-up and sectional host Norwell (13-5) opening against Eastbrook (7-11), and at the 2A sectional at South Adams, the two main challengers Bluffton (14-5) and Bishop Luers (12-6) drawing byes.
They wouldn’t meet until the finals.