Columbus North won’t have to wait to play the sectional favorite next week.
The Bull Dogs drew Bloomington South in the opening round of the Bloomington North boys basketball sectional. Columbus North will meet the Panthers at around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8.
Bloomington South (18-4) beat the Bull Dogs (14-7) 51-44 on Dec. 27 in the Noblesville Tournament and 40-33 on Feb. 10 at Bloomington South. The Panthers have won that Class 4A sectional the past two years.
“I like getting them early,” Bull Dogs coach Paul Ferguson said. “For our team, it’s probably more advantageous to play them early than in a championship round because they’re a more experienced team as far as playing in sectional championship games. Our group has never played in a sectional championship game.”
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Columbus East will play in the 6 p.m. Feb. 28 opener against Shelbyville. The Golden Bears (15-6) beat the Olympians (10-12) 53-41 on Jan. 10 at Shelbyville.
The winner of that game will play East Central (13-9) at 6 p.m. March 3. The winner of the Columbus North-Bloomington South game will play Bloomington North (12-8) at around 7:30 p.m. that night.
“I would think that if you look at the draw, the three teams that are favored, they’re kind of in that lower bracket, so they’re going to be fighting,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “Then in our bracket, you kind of have three teams that have been up and down all year. But at sectional time, you just have to get hot and play well.”
Both the Bull Dogs and Olympians are doing that. Columbus North has won nine of 10, and Columbus East has won four of six heading into this week’s regular-season finales.
Columbus East’s hopes could hinge on the availability of senior center Chaz Painter. Painter injured his wrist in a fall after a dunk attempt in Saturday’s win against Martinsville and will see an orthopedic surgeon today.
“I just think our kids have played pretty solid of late,” Chitty said. “I still think we can be better. We’ve won some close games, we’ve lost some close games. We’re a team that on any given night, we can be a very good team, and on any night, we can be rough. We have to be focused.”
Meanwhile, in Class A, Hauser drew a first-round bye in the South Decatur Sectional. The Jets (13-9) will play at 6 p.m. March 3 against the winner of the Feb. 28 game between Southwestern (Shelby) and Waldron.
Hauser won 75-71 at Waldron (6-14) on Jan. 20 and lost to Southwestern (9-12) 64-60 in overtime on Feb. 2.
The host Cougars (10-12) will play Jac-Cen-Del (2-20) in the opening round at 6 p.m. March 1. The winner will play Class A No. 4 Oldenburg Academy (19-2) or Rising Sun (4-18) in the semifinals at around 7:30 p.m. March 3.
Edinburgh (6-16) will host Morristown (14-8) in the opener of its own Class A sectional at 6 p.m. Feb. 28. The winner will play Greenwood Christian Academy (7-14) at 6 p.m. March 3.
Trinity Lutheran (5-16) drew a first-round bye and will play at around 7:30 p.m. March 3 against the winner between Orleans (5-17) and West Washington (16-6) in the Class A Borden Sectional.
Jennings County received a tough draw in the Seymour Sectional. The Panthers (13-9) will play 4A No. 3 and defending state champion New Albany (20-3) in the opening round at around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28. The winner will play Bedford North Lawrence (8-15) at around 7:30 p.m. March 3.
In Class 3A, Brown County (5-16) will play Sullivan (12-10) in the opener of the Edgewood Sectional at 6 p.m. Feb. 28. The winner will face Edgewood (15-9) at 6 p.m. March 3.
All sectional championship games will be March 4.