A second Columbus North-Columbus East battle of the season became a strong possibility after pairings were announced for the IHSAA Girls Basketball Tournament Monday night.
The top-ranked and defending Class 4A state champion Bull Dogs drew a first-round bye in the Bloomington North Sectional and won’t play until 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5. They’ll meet the winner between East and Shelbyville.
“More than likely, I would think Columbus East would be favored in that game, so we might play Columbus East again,” Columbus North coach Pat McKee said. “I’ve been very impressed with Columbus East the last two or three weeks. They’ve done some very good things, and we’ll have to be ready.”
The Bull Dogs (20-1) beat the Olympians (12-9) 63-21 on Dec. 17. East and Shelbyville (11-9), which will play at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2, did not meet in the regular season.
The Olympians and Golden Bears do have two common opponents. East beat Bloomington North and Greensburg, while Shelbyville beat the Cougars and lost to the Pirates.
“I really don’t know anything about (Shelbyville) this year because they’ve dropped about everybody in our sectional,” East coach Danny Brown said.
“We’ll worry more about our team and getting better and get ready for them. I was hoping maybe we’d get the bye, but we’re used to playing Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday.”
East Central (16-6) will play Bloomington North (1-18) in the sectional opener at 6 p.m. Feb. 2. The winner will face Bloomington South (12-9) in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Feb. 5.
The sectional championship will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 6.
Looking ahead to the Columbus North regional, the Bloomington North Sectional winner will play the Center Grove Sectional winner at 10 a.m. Feb. 13, followed by winners of the Bedford North Lawrence and Evansville Central Sectionals.
The regional championship is at 8 p.m. that day.
“The reality is, we can only control what we can control,” McKee said. “We’ll go when and where they tell us. The only focus right now is only on Columbus East or Shelbyville.”
Also in Class 4A, Jennings County (12-11) drew a bye in the Bedford North Lawrence Sectional and will play at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 against the winner between the host Stars (14-7) and Floyd Central (7-12).
In Class A, Hauser (11-8) will play Waldron (10-9) in the opening game of the Jac-Cen-Del Sectional at 7 p.m. Feb. 2. The winner will play Class A No. 1 Jac-Cen-Del (19-1) at 6 p.m. Feb. 5.
The Jets won 52-36 at Waldron on Nov. 20.
“We’re going to have our hands full with Waldron,” Hauser coach Brad Hamilton said. “They’re vastly improved. They’re playing everybody tough. It will be no picnic. We have to work on having ourselves ready.”
Edinburgh (7-13) drew a bye in the Class A Morristown Sectional and will play at 6 p.m. Feb. 5 against the winner between Indianapolis Lutheran (6-13) and Greenwood Christian (12-9). The Lancers lost close games to both schools in the regular season.
In Class 3A, Brown County (4-18) will play Sullivan (7-15) at 6 p.m. Feb. 2 in the opening game of the Northview Sectional. The winner will play West Vigo (11-10) or Owen Valley (12-10) at 6 p.m. Feb. 5.