Some high school basketball programs never get the opportunity to host a No. 1-ranked team.
The Columbus East boys will do it twice in the next three days.
Tonight, the Olympians will host Class 3A No. 1 Brownstown Central at 7:30 p.m. Then Saturday, East will host 4A No. 1 and defending state champion New Albany for a 2 p.m. matinee.
“They’re ranked No. 1, but on film, they’re two very well-coached basketball teams, and they’re good teams,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “They deserve their No. 1 ranking, and we know the challenge in front of us is incredible. We have to do what we do well and compete with two teams that deserve their ranking, and then go back and say, ‘What do we do well?’ as we try to move forward toward March.”
Making matters even more complicated for the Olympians (6-9) is that they have to prepare for two completely different teams and styles of play.
Brownstown (16-0) plays a deliberate style and has several deadly shooters. New Albany (15-2) is more up-tempo and relies heavily on junior superstar Romeo Langford.
“Brownstown has won high-scoring games. They’ve won low-scoring games. They just find a way to win,” Chitty said. “Then New Albany has arguably the best player in Indiana high school basketball history when his time will be done.”
Langford, however, has an injured finger and is questionable for tonight’s game against Jennings County and Saturday’s game at East.
Chitty has experienced at least a little success playing against a No. 1 team. His Evansville Central squad went on the road and beat a Tyler Zeller-led 3A No. 1 Washington team early in the 2007-08 season.
Last year, 4A No. 1 New Albany, behind 33 points from Langford, beat the visiting Olympians 78-58.
Tickets for the New Albany game are on sale in the East athletics office and will be on sale at tonight’s game with Brownstown. Season athletics pass holders and BCSC employees must come into the athletics office and pick up a ticket to be guaranteed admittance if the game is sold out. Season pass holders must provide a pass for each family member requesting a ticket.
Tickets are $5. If young children take up a seat, they will need a ticket, regardless of age. For $10, East fans can get a ticket, T-shirt and $5 Subway card.
North, East could meet
The Columbus East and Columbus North girls basketball teams appear to be on a collision course to meet in the finals of the North Sectional, which will be at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Olympians (14-11) will face Bloomington North (5-17) in Friday’s first semifinal at 6 p.m. East beat the Cougars 60-35 on Nov. 29.
The Bull Dogs (17-7) will play East Central (17-6) in the second semifinal at around 7:30 p.m. Columbus North beat the Trojans 63-37 on Dec. 8.
If the Olympians and Bull Dogs do meet in the finals, it would be the fourth time in the past seven years. East won in 2011, the last time it won a sectional, while North prevailed in 2012 and 2015 during its string of five consecutive sectional titles.
In this year’s regular-season meeting on Dec. 15., the Bull Dogs won 58-43 at East.
Meanwhile, Hauser (14-8) will look to avenge a 45-40 regular-season loss to Oldenburg Academy (14-8) in the semifinals of the Class A Jac-Cen-Del Sectional at 6 p.m. Friday. The winner will likely face Class A No. 4 and defending state champion Jac-Cen-Del (19-4) in Saturday’s final.
Jennings County (10-14) will try to reverse a 64-50 loss to New Albany (15-6) when the teams meet in the semifinals of the 4A Floyd Central Sectional at 6 p.m. Friday. The winner will play Bedford North Lawrence (18-4) or Jeffersonville (16-7) in Saturday’s final.
In Class 3A, Brown County (8-14) avenged a regular-season loss with a 39-34 win against Edgewood on Tuesday and now will face Sullivan (9-14) at around 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Edgewood Sectional semifinals. The winner will face either Northview (17-7) or West Vigo (4-16) in Saturday’s final.
Edinburgh (8-14) will look to avenge a 66-34 loss to Morristown in the semifinals of the Class A Morristown Sectional at around 7:30 p.m. Friday. The winner will meet Indianapolis Lutheran (11-11) or Central Christian Academy (12-11) in Saturday’s finals.
East seeks first regional
Columbus East will be a favorite to capture its first wrestling regional title Saturday at Jeffersonville.
The Olympians advanced wrestlers in all 14 weight classes, including six champions from Saturday’s Jennings County Sectional. Cayden Rooks (120), Graham Rooks (126), Dawson Combest (132), Jake Schoenegge (138), Andy Davidson (152) and Austin Sheckles (220) won their weight classes to lead East to the sectional title.
Jennings is sending eight wrestlers, led by champions Victor Antunez (113), Brooks Wathen (145) and Zane Beineke (160). Five Columbus North wrestlers advanced, including champions Andrew Chapman (170), Brigham Kleinhenz (182) and Josh Larson (195). Brown County will have four wrestlers competing.
Action begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The top four in each weight class qualify for the Feb. 11 Evansville Semistate.