Hoosier Hysteria: Boys basketball sectionals begin today


At this point in the season, all of the records can be thrown out the proverbial window.

In the sectional, every team reverts to 0-0.

The 2018-19 boys basketball postseason will commence tonight for all five Jackson County programs across three different sectionals.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

Owls face tough draw

Coach Tyler Phillips said his team needs to play a perfect game when Seymour (3-19) faces Jeffersonville in the opening round of the Class 4A Sectional 15 at 6 p.m. today in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.

“We’ve got to execute. We’ve got to play perfect,” he said. “We don’t have any margin for error against a team that talented. We’ve got to make sure we play 32 minutes of perfect basketball at both ends of the floor to give ourselves a chance.”

The Red Devils (16-5) topped the Owls 81-40 on Dec. 7 at Jeffersonville.

“We’ve got to be willing to grind out long possessions and not settle for anything less than that perfect shot, and that’s what we’ll look to do,” Phillips said. “We’ve identified that it has to be in the paint. If it is a 3-pointer, it’s got to go to the paint first, and it’s got to be a select few shooting that 3. We want shots either in the paint or inside out.”

He said the Owls need to shoot the ball 60 percent or better and win the rebounding battle to have a chance to win.

“They’re big and they’re more athletic, but for us to win that game, we’ve got to outrebound them,” he said. “Those are our two keys. We’ve got to shoot the ball well and we’ve got to outrebound them.”

He said ball handling also will be important.

“We went back and looked at the film, and they had over 30 points off of our turnovers. You need to take that away,” Phillips said. “They scored 81, so they’ve got about 50, which is fine. We can live with that. We’ve got to take care of the ball. We’ve got to be less than 10 turnovers to be competitive in that game.

“They’re going to trap us in the full court. They’ll be like a 1-2-2 or a diamond 1-2-1-1. They’re going to trap the first pass and try to take away passing lanes. They want to try to keep us on their baseline and trap us and force us into a quick turnover.”

The Red Devils have the height advantage over the Owls.

“We’ve got 5-8 trying to throw over 6-6, and we can’t do that. We did a better job in the second half of that game. It was just too late,” Phillips said. “We’ve got to keep the ball in the middle third, and we’ve got to keep it off their baseline, so we’ll move our press break back closer to half-court. We’ll look to get the ball in around the top of the key rather than the block. They want to use their other two defenders, the baseline and the sideline, and we’ve got to try to take away those two defenders from them.”

In the half-court game, patience will prove vital for the Owls.

“We’ve got to play them very similar to how we did Greensburg,” Phillips said. “We’ve got to be very selective. We’ve got to take a perfect shot. We can’t even have a great shot to beat them.”

The Owls hope to use home court to their advantage.

“We’re playing at home, so we’re just going to treat it like any other game,” Phillips said. “Kids are creatures of habit. We’re going to try to keep them in habit as much as we can and just try to make it as familiar as we can.”

Floyd Central (20-2) will battle Jennings County (8-15) in the second game tonight. Bedford North Lawrence (13-9) faces the Seymour-Jeffersonville winner in the first game Friday, and New Albany (17-6) will take on the Jennings County-Floyd Central winner in the second game.

“In this gym, third-biggest high school gym in the world, this is always going to be a draw,” Phillips said. “It’s always going to be a great sectional to go watch, and to me, this is what Indiana high school basketball is all about.

“You’ve got teams that are very familiar with each other, all from the same conference (Hoosier Hills) playing for a chance to win a sectional. I think we’ve got really competitive teams. This sectional will never be a letdown. Even without Romeo (Langford, former Mr. Basketball from New Albany) it will be competitive and it will be a lot of fun.”

Seymour aims for its first sectional championship since the ‘91-’92 season.

Braves shoot for second title in three years

Coach Dave Benter hopes history repeats itself when the Braves open Class 3A Sectional 30 play against host Charlestown at 7:30 p.m. today.

On Jan. 25 at home, the Braves (17-5) defeated the Pirates 65-30.

Tonight’s game is the only one scheduled for the sectional, and the winner will play Silver Creek (19-3) in the first semifinals Friday.

North Harrison (10-13) will face Corydon Central (10-13) and Scottsburg (15-8) plays Salem (13-10) in Wednesday games with those winners meeting in the second game Friday.

Benter expects a tougher battle against the Pirates tonight.

“The night we played them, it was kind of a perfect storm,” he said. “We played one of our better games here, and they probably played one of their worst. We’re not 35 points better than them.”

The Braves led 19-1 at the end of the first quarter and 40-12 at the half, as the Pirates (9-13) made only four field goals in the first half.

Isaac Johnson topped the Braves in scoring with 23 points, and Seth Borden scored 18. None of the Pirates scored more than seven points.

“The last time, we made shots (23 of 42 through the first three quarters),” Benter said. “We came out and shot the ball really well. They came out in a zone, and we shot the ball extremely well the first time we played them.

“We spread them out, and if you’re making shots, that’s great, and if you’re not making shots, that can cause problems. We’re looking at film, and we’ll figure out a game plan that we can come out and get good shots. We can’t come out and take bad shots. We’ve just got to make sure we’re getting good offensive possessions every time up the floor.”

Benter said he feels like the Braves’ shot selection has been good in recent games.

“That is one area we’ve gotten better as the season has went on. We’ve talked about not getting good shots but great shots,” he said. “This isn’t a team that’s going to consistently score in the 70s and 80s (averaging 55). The games we’ve played well is when we take care of the ball, defend and get good shots. I think our bread and butter is on the defensive end, so we need to make sure we’re efficient offensively and not turn the ball over and not take bad shots.”

All of the teams in the Charlestown Sectional are members of the Mid-Southern Conference.

The Braves won the MSC outright this winter.

“Year in and year out, we feel this is one of the best 3A sectionals in the state,” Benter said. “It seems like every year, there are two or three ranked teams in it. Teams know each other very well because they’re conference schools, and we play each other throughout the year and see each other in the summer a lot.”

The Braves last won a sectional during the ‘16-’17 campaign.

Cougars, Hornets, Tigers vying for title

The 2018-19 Class A Sectional 62 draw is nearly identical to the randomized bracket from the ‘17-’18 tournament.

The only difference is the potential second-round matchups.

Trinity Lutheran (6-17) and Crothersville (13-10) will meet in the first round for the second-straight year, while Medora (4-19) and Shawe Memorial (3-18) also will face each other again tonight.

Host West Washington (8-15) and Edinburgh (10-12) again both received byes.

“It was like déjà vu,” Trinity coach Brian Stuckwisch said. “Two county rivals going up against each other. It’s OK, it’s good competition, but let’s play somebody else. I’m sure they feel the same way. Greg (Kilgore) and I are good friends. We talk all the time and trade film back and forth. We get along really well.”

Going into the postseason, Crothersville could be considered the favorite. The Tigers beat all five sectional teams this winter.

“I think it helps our confidence, but I have tried my best to keep them down to earth and not get them overconfident,” Kilgore said. “Three of those games were tight games going into the fourth quarter. You can’t overlook anyone.”

On Jan. 25, the Tigers topped Trinity 60-52 at Crothersville. They led 31-20 at intermission before pushing the lead to 41-27 with 5:54 left in the third quarter.

Trinity used a 9-2 run to cut a 15-point Tigers lead to 10 with 1:23 left in the game, but the Cougars didn’t mount a comeback.

“Last time, we did a good job of finding their shooters,” Kilgore said. “They’re a really good shooting team. It’s not just one or two. There are four different guys that can get hot. You have to get to them on the catch. You can’t close out too late or they will knock their shots down.”

The Tigers’ Logan Brewer led all scorers with 22 points, Josh Thomas chipped in 14 and Cable Spall had 10. Tyler Goecker topped the Cougars with 15 points, Trent Shoemaker added 10 and Aden Jones and A.J. Goecker each had eight.

“We came away from that game feeling like we didn’t play to our full potential,” Stuckwisch said. “We feel like we were competitive playing on their floor, but we feel like playing on a neutral court and playing again, we can play with them. They are a good team that is well-coached. If we play our best, we can compete with them.”

In last year’s contest, the Cougars edged the Tigers 74-71 behind a 22-point effort from Jack Marksberry.

The winner will play Edinburgh in the semifinals in Friday’s late game. The Lancers lost to Crothersville 40-38 on Feb. 2 and beat Trinity 69-40 on Feb. 12.

Crothersville has never won a boys basketball sectional, while Trinity looks for its first since the ‘13-’14 season.

“(The boys) feel like their whole season, they’ve been close in a lot of games,” Stuckwisch said. “They’re confident they can play with anyone in our sectional. A lot of the teams in our sectional don’t have really good records when you look at the records; however, they all have had close games. West Washington and Edinburgh have improved. Crothersville has a winning record. I feel like all the teams are confident that anyone can win this sectional. I think Medora and Shawe are both really improved, too. They will have a battle.”

If the first matchup was any indication, the game between the Hornets and Hilltoppers should be a good one.

In both teams’ season-openers Nov. 20, the Hilltoppers beat the Hornets 60-57 in overtime at Shawe.

“That was as good of a draw as we could get,” Hornets coach Mark Morin said. “I feel like (Shawe) is a team we can compete with. We played them first game of the year and had a good opportunity to win at the end. We just missed a shot. I was happy we get another shot at them.”

The Hornets jumped to a 17-7 lead in the first quarter and led 31-24 at the break.

After getting outscored 14-9 in the third quarter, the Hilltoppers were able to force overtime in the fourth by adding 16 points. In the extra period, the Hilltoppers outscored the Hornets 6-3.

Jayvin Spurgeon had 16 points, Keaton Seniours scored 14 and Owen Sullivan had 12 points for the Hornets.

Hilltoppers 6-foot-3 center Ethan Stuart scored a game-high 35 points, making 14 of 19 shot attempts.

“We’re going to have to guard him with more than one person,” Morin said. “We have to keep him off the offensive boards. If he wasn’t scoring on his own offense, he was putting his own shot back up and in.”

During the ‘17-’18 tournament, the Hilltoppers beat the Hornets 51-38.

Tonight, Morin said his team has the ability to win.

“I told them after the Crothersville game, we were focused on the right things in the first half, and in the second half, we were focused on what went wrong,” he said. “We made a mistake, and instead of going on to the next play, we were looking back. If we can worry about what we’re doing, I think anything can happen.”

The winner takes on the host team in the semifinals. Medora lost 55-30 to the Senators on Jan. 15.

Medora’s lone sectional title was in the ‘48-’49 season.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Probable starts” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]


Jack Roberts, senior, 7.9 points per game

R.J. Kleber, senior, 4.4

Aiden Goen, junior, 2.8

Jayden Brown, junior, 5.8

Eric McCoy, junior, 9.9

Brownstown Central

Isaac Johnson, senior, 12.7

Braden Neal, senior, 6.5

Michael Boshears, senior, 11.2

Seth Borden, senior, 8.6

Ethan Wischmeier, senior, 7.7


Lane Wienhorst, senior, 5.9

Logan Brewer, senior, 20.0

Josh Thomas, junior, 13.5

Cable Spall, sophomore, 9.4

Timmy Burton, sophomore, 6.9

Trinity Lutheran

A.J. Goecker, senior, 14.9

Josh Rowe, junior, 4.9

Jack Marksberry, sophomore, 8.5

Tyler Goecker, sophomore, 10.8

Mitchell Hackman, freshman, 8.3


Keaton Seniours, senior, 11.6

J.D. Fish, senior, 6.8

Owen Sullivan, senior, 13.7

Skylar Jones, senior, 2.3

Isaiah Myers, junior, 4.4


No posts to display