So here is a little inspirational blackboard material for the East Central boys basketball team.
When the sectional matchups are announced during the 104th annual IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament pairings show, which will be broadcast at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on Fox Sports Indiana, the Trojans will be the happy lottery pick for those playing in the Shelbyville Sectional.
Sorry, but that’s just the way it is this particular season in which East Central has struggled. Of the six teams in the sectional, the other five all have an excellent shot to win it all. And, even though none would admit it, they would all love to start with East Central.
In a lot of seasons, it might seem absurd to say that five teams in a six-team sectional have a good shot at winning the tournament, but not this year.
Although the Columbus North and Columbus East boys basketball teams both have experienced a ton of success this season, any subpar effort means expulsion.
No, this isn’t Lou Holtz coach speak. It is true.
Think I am kidding to build up suspense? Here is a look at the teams that will be seeded in that section on Sunday.
East Central — I will start with the team that won’t win the sectional. Coach David Disbro has a 215-117 record at the school, so obviously he knows what he is doing. Even so, the Trojans (8-12) were beaten by a combined 74 points by Columbus North and Columbus East this season. East Central has been pounded by good teams. What’s that saying? It is what it is.
Shelbyville — Although 7-10, the Golden Bears have lost four of five overtime games, including a thriller at Columbus East. Shelbyville will have the home crowd in its favor. This team has faced excellent competition and has taken most of its opponents to the wire. What does that mean? These players are tough, and they have won four of their past five games.
Bloomington North — The Cougars (11-7) host Columbus North tonight, and they earlier lost to Columbus East 78-67. However, the Cougars have beaten Bloomington South, which in turn has a victory over Columbus East. Bloomington North also has a win over always-tough Franklin Central.
Bloomington South — The Panthers had their record at 10-3 before suffering through a three-game losing streak that came against tough squads Franklin Central, Pike and Columbus North. Since then Bloomington South has added two more wins going into tonight’s home game against Perry Meridian. With wins over Southport and Columbus East, it is obvious that this is a dangerous team.
Columbus East — It seems like the Olympians (13-3) have gone through a host of knock-down, drag-out battles. If that, indeed, gets a team ready for the playoffs, then East should come out just fine. East has played all five of the teams in its sectional and has gone 4-1 against them, including the victory against Columbus North and the overtime win against Shelbyville.
Columbus North — The Bull Dogs (17-5) are 3-1 against teams in its sectional and play at Bloomington North tonight. Although North has hammered teams such as Bloomington South and Shelbyville, which East struggled against, the Bull Dogs can’t really be considered the favorite due to that loss to East. And North has shown that it has a hard time putting the competition away after assuming a big lead, a dangerous habit in the postseason.
Any team that wins this sectional will have to be on top of its game. There are no free passes.
Well, maybe one.
Sectional matchups in the 104th Annual IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament will be announced Sunday, Feb. 23, on Fox Sports Indiana beginning at 3:30 pm ET / 2:30 pm CT.
The 90-minute show will originate live from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis with legendary announcer Jerry Baker serving as host. He’ll be accompanied by Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star in the analyst role along with Fox Sports Indiana’s Jeremiah Johnson who will interview guest coaches.
Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or 379-5632.