SHELBYVILLE — All season long, Hauser and Morristown seemed destined for a showdown in the Southwestern (Shelby) boys basketball sectional.
Tonight, that battle will take place. The Class A No. 8 Jets and Class A No. 4 Yellow Jackets will face off in the semifinals of the sectional at around 7:30 p.m.
The game will be a rematch of a 72-65 Hauser win Dec. 1 at Morristown.
“We can’t take anything away from that,” Hauser coach Griff Roth said. “That’s been too long ago. They’ve gotten better, and hopefully, we’ve gotten better. We just have to come out and play as hard as we can play and be the team that we know we can be.”
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The regular-season matchup turned out to be a scorers’ duel between Jets senior Alex Gross and Yellow Jackets senior Hayden Langkabel. Gross had 30 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots, while Langkabel scored 29 points.
Langkabel, who has committed to Marian University, recently eclipsed the 2,000-point mark for his career.
“The key is defense,” Roth said. “Langkabel is a great player. We have to try to contain him, but the other two guys that they have that do a lot of their scoring, we have to contain them, as well.”
The first Hauser-Morristown game effectively decided the Mid-Hoosier Conference title. Following that loss, the Yellow Jackets (22-2) ran off 18 consecutive wins before falling to Class 4A Shelbyville.
All six of Hauser’s losses have come against 3A and 4A schools. The Jets (17-6) have won eight in a row after Wednesday’s 69-51 first-round sectional win against Rising Sun.
“If we want to win a sectional, we have to come out and play a lot better,” Roth said. “If we’re playing together, we play pretty good. But when we’re not playing together, we don’t do as well.”
Hauser trailed Rising Sun 31-26 at halftime before outscoring the Shiners 43-20 in the second half. The Jets overcame 18 turnovers and 1-of-12 shooting from 3-point range.
“If we play like we did (Wednesday) night, we’re going to lose,” senior Justin Compton said. “We have to play all four quarters and not two.”
Jac-Cen-Del (10-14) will play Oldenburg Academy (15-7) in today’s first semifinal at 6 p.m. The sectional championship will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
6 p.m.: Jac-Cen-Del (10-14) vs. Oldenburg Academy (15-7)
7:30 p.m.: Hauser (17-6) vs. Morristown (22-2)
7:30 p.m.: Championship