North, East receive tough sectional draws

Columbus East and Columbus North didn’t exactly receive favorable draws for next week’s North boys basketball sectional.

Then again, there might not be such a thing as a favorable draw in that sectional this year.

Both the Olympians and Bull Dogs will play in the first round on Feb. 26. East will face Bloomington North at 6 p.m., followed by Columbus North taking on Shelbyville at around 7:30 p.m.

“We have a great schedule,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “I think we play really good teams in the year, and we do that to prepare for our sectional. There are a lot of good teams in it, and I think we’re a good team. For us, it’s a second chance against some of these teams that just whipped us the first time. Hopefully, we’ll play better than we did.”

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The Bull Dogs (15-6) and Shelbyville (11-10) will be meeting in the first round for the second year in a row. Last year, Columbus North avenged a regular-season loss to the Golden Bears with a win in the sectional.

This season, the Bull Dogs beat Shelbyville 82-76 in overtime on Nov. 30. The Golden Bears are led by the school’s all-time leading scorer, Zack Kuhn, who will play at Army.

“We feel like like we play Shelbyville every year,” Columbus North coach Paul Ferguson said. “They’re an opponent that we’re used to playing in the sectional, and we’re excited to see them again. Kuhn is just a hard matchup for anyone in the sectional. He’s a scorer, and on any night, he can put up a lot of points.”

The Olympians (11-9) lost at Bloomington North (13-6) 78-67 on Jan. 26. If East would happen to get past the Cougars, it would face Class 4A No. 7 Bloomington South (20-3) in the semifinals at 6 p.m. March 1.

Panthers coach J.R. Holmes just tied the all-time state record with his 806th career win on Saturday and can break the record with a win Thursday against Northview. Bloomington South has won the sectional each of the past four years.

“You have to think South is the favorite with J.R.’s success and what he’s done,” Chitty said. “I think (Columbus) North has to be considered because they’re the home team. I think that’s a big advantage. The rest of us have to go compete.”

If the Bull Dogs beat Shelbyville, they would face East Central (15-6) at around 7:30 p.m. March 1. The title game is at 7 p.m. March 2.

Columbus North hasn’t won a sectional title since 2013, which is the most recent time it hosted.

“The big thing for us is hosting the sectional, and we’re excited about that,” Ferguson said. “It’s advantageous to play at home for sure.”

Meanwhile, in Class A, Hauser (9-12) will play Waldron (1-20) in the first round of the Southwestern (Shelby) Sectional at around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27. Waldron has lost 20 in a row since winning its season opener.

The Jets beat the Mohawks 76-64 on Jan. 18.

“With me previously coaching at Waldron and coaching some of those kids, I know that when we played up there, they wanted to beat us, and they’ll have that same attitude again,” Hauser coach Nate Cangany said. “I had somebody tell me they’re the best one-win team they’ve ever seen.”

If the Jets win, they would play the winner between Jac-Cen-Del (11-10) and Class A No. 8 Oldenburg Academy (14-5) in the semifinals at around 7:30 p.m. March 1. Class A co-No. 6 and defending state champion Morristown (17-4) is in the top half of the bracket.

“When you get into March, you have to look at your first game,” Cangany said. “We knew that we’d hands full no matter what. We had a good week last week, and we’re hoping to carry that momentum into our two games this week.”

Edinburgh (9-12) drew a first-round bye in the Class A West Washington Sectional and will play at around 7:30 p.m. March 1 against the winner of the Trinity Lutheran-Crothersville game. The Cougars (5-17) and Tigers (11-9) will meet in the opening round at around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26.

Jennings County (8-14) will meet 4A No. 4 Floyd Central (19-2) in the first round of the Seymour Sectional at around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26. The winner will face New Albany at around 7:30 p.m. March 1.

In Class 3A, Brown County (3-16) received a bye and will play at around 7:30 p.m. March 1 against the winner between host Owen Valley (10-12) and Northview (6-14).

South Decatur (7-15) will face Milan (10-11) in the opener of the Class 2A South Ripley Sectional at 6 p.m. Feb. 26. The winner will meet North Decatur in the semifinals at 6 p.m. March 1.

All sectional finals are scheduled for March 2.