Key games approaching as season nears halfway mark


With the weather freezing the conference standings this past weekend, varsity programs had the chance to take a step back and see where they fall into the mix

Jackson County’s boys basketball teams are nearing the midway point of their 2017-18 season.

Seymour, Brownstown Central and Crothersville all look to make some noise in their conference before tournament action commences.

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While there’s plenty still on the table, some key games are coming up in a hurry.

Hoosier Hills Conference

The HHC is up for grabs.

While many figured New Albany — and high school phenom Romeo Langford — would run away with the HHC, and potentially the Class 4A state title, a handful of teams still have a chance at taking the conference.

The only teams undefeated in HHC play are Bedford North Lawrence (7-5, 2-0 HHC) and Floyd Central (10-1, 1-0 HHC).

Bedford North Lawrence has posted wins against Columbus East (5-4, 0-1 HHC) and Madison (6-6, 1-2) while Floyd Central took down New Albany 49-47 in overtime on Dec. 8.

Both Jeffersonville and New Albany are 10-1 on the season, with HHC records of 2-1.

Jeffersonville, who lost to New Albany, will play at Floyd Central in front of a soldout crowd on Tuesday in a pivotal matchup.

While they need a little help, the Owls (5-5, 1-2 HHC), Madison (6-6, 1-2) and East aren’t out of the race yet. Jennings County (3-9, 0-2 HHC) isn’t either, but have the toughest road as they will have to win-out its HHC schedule for a chance with the front runners still ahead of them.

Seymour’s conference losses have come to Jeffersonville and New Albany.

Seymour beat Jennings County and still have Bedford North Lawrence, Floyd Central, Madison and Columbus East left to play.

Floyd Central should prove the toughest test for the senior-laden Owls in the remaining games. If the Owls want a piece of the HHC, they will likely need to beat the Highlanders.

Seymour lost to Floyd Central 39-27 in the regular season before the Highlanders knocked the Owls out of the sectional 44-26 last season.

The Owls have improved over the past few games.

After starting the season 2-3, the Owls have won three of their previous five games — including two of the last three.

Right now, the Owls are averaging 52.5 points per game while giving up 52.1. They’ve given up 50 points or fewer five times this season.

The Owls will play at Bedford North Lawrence on Friday.

Mid-Southern Conference

Like the HHC, the MSC could go a variety of ways in the coming weeks.

Silver Creek (9-3, 4-0 MSC) are currently in first place, and are the only team without a conference loss. The current runners-up are North Harrison (8-3, 4-1 MSC).

Silver Creek has beaten Charlestown, Clarksville, North Harrison and Eastern.

Clarksville (8-3), Brownstown Central (7-3) and Austin (8-4) are all 2-1 in MSC play, tied for second.

Charlestown (3-10, 1-2 MSC), Eastern (4-9, 1-3), Scottsburg (3-8, 1-5), Salem (10-2, 0-1) and Corydon (1-9, 0-2) make up the bottom half of the conference.

Salem’s not out of it despite its current ranking. Its lone MSC loss was to Brownstown Central.

If the Lions sweep the remaining conference schedule they will claim a share.

Friday night’s matchup between Brownstown Central and Silver Creek will prove critical to the standings.

A loss by the Dragons would likely mean there will be a share of the MSC.

While the loss to North Harrison has largely put the Braves — who have beaten Salem and Scottsburg — out of the opportunity to claim the MSC outright, they are in good position in the final weeks of the regular season.

The Braves opened the season 4-0 before losing to North Harris in overtime on Dec. 15.

Since, the Braves have gone 3-2, with losses to Fort Wayne Blackhawk and Loogootee (both at the Post Graber Buildings Holiday Classic).

Brownstown Central, which returned just two varsity players this season, is averaging 55.8 points on offense and 47.9 points defensively.

Southern Athletic Conference

The team that has made the biggest jump in the county from last season is Crothersville.

The Tigers currently rank first in the SAC, and can control their destiny.

Crothersville (8-3, 2-0 SAC) has already eclipsed its wins total from last season. Last year’s campaign saw the Tigers finish 7-17.

The last time the Tigers finished with at least eight wins was the 2013-14 season, when they closed the season at 9-12.

Crothersville hasn’t finished with a winning season since 2011-12 (16-6), but they are on pace to break that streak.

The Tigers are averaging 63 points per game while giving up 54.6 on the defensive end.

Crothersville has conference wins over Borden (5-5, 2-2 SAC) and New Washington (2-12, 0-2).

Henryville (11-3, 1-0 SAC) and South Central (4-9, 1-1) are still in the mix with Lanesville (5-6, 1-2) and New Wash on the outside looking in.

The Tigers beat South Central once already, 59-55, in a non-conference game at the Scott County Invitational on Dec. 23.

Should the Tigers beat South Central and Lanesville, they could find themselves in a dogfight for the conference with Henryville on Feb. 17.

The Hornets have won 11 straight games, and are pulling in top-20 votes for Class 2A.

Last year, the Hornets beat the Tigers 82-36.

Luckily for the Tigers, the remaining three SAC game are all at home.

NOTE: All overall records are through Friday evening. Some schools were scheduled to play on Jan. 13, but some postponed their games. No conference games were played on Friday or Saturday.

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