A new number one has emerged in the AP Poll, after New Albany was upset last Saturday at the hands of 7-10 Columbus East. That new top team is Fort Wayne North with a 19-1 record, on a thirteen-game winning streak. As the draw for sectionals comes nearer, excitement is growing in Indiana. There are multiple contenders for the state title this year, and many are looking to gain momentum heading into the state tournament. Friday holds a great slate of games this weekend.
*all rankings via AP poll (Feb. 7) and stats (Feb.7) via http://indianahsbasketball.homestead.com/boys.html and www.maxpreps.com
Friday, February 10
Hamilton Southeastern (15-4) at #7 4A Carmel (14-3), 7:30 PM ET
Two top teams with contrasting styles of play matchup at Carmel High School Friday night. Carmel enters with the #43 ranked defense (46.9 PAPG), while Hamilton Southeastern has the #13 ranked offense (72.9 PPG). Senior forward Zach Gunn is the leader for the Royals, averaging 20.8 PPG and 8.6 RPG. Hamilton SE has recently dropped out of the 4A AP poll after a ten point loss to Columbus North last weekend, while Carmel just won a triple overtime game over Lawrence North. Hamilton needs this win to solidify itself back into the AP poll. Carmel needs it to regain its status as a title contender. Carmel won this game last year in the sectional, 53-42. The Greyhounds need help, but still could grab a share of the Metropolitan Conference title. Whoever controls the pace to their team’s preference, could gain the advantage in this matchup.
#17 4A Lawrence North (12-6) at #15 4A Ben Davis (13-5), 7:30 PM ET
In this one, two Metropolitan Conference teams on the fringe of the AP poll match up against each other. Lawrence North comes in with a two game losing streak but has an impressive resume with wins over Warsaw, North Central, and Fort Wayne Snider. Ben Davis on the other hand, has a four game winning streak, but not quite as impressive wins as the Wildcats. Ben Davis has Indiana’s 40th ranked offense (67 PPG), but Lawrence North won last year 58-48. John Harrell predicts a 60-59 Ben Davis win.
#5 4A North Central (17-3) at #10 4A Pike (15-4), 7:30 PM ET
At the beginning of the season, North Central looked unbeatable. They started the season off with a thirteen game winning streak including impressive wins over Carmel, New Albany, and Warren Central. They took their first loss to their opponent this weekend, the Pike Red Devils. Pike beat the Panthers 71-64 in the championship of the Marion County Tournament on January 14th. This is a highly anticipated rematch, with North Central sure to be looking for revenge against Pike for ending their winning streak earlier in the season
#1 2A Providence (16-1) at #4 4A New Albany (16-3), 7:30 PM ET
A heated southern Indiana rivalry takes place Friday night when the Providence Pioneers take on a 4A titan in New Albany. The Bulldogs might be without leading scorer and superstar Romeo Langford as he has missed the last two games. His absence resulted in a major upset on the road against Columbus East last weekend. Langford is probable to play, but a Pioneer upset is still not out of the question. The Pioneers play a slow tempo and have a stout defense (5th – 40.4 PAPG), while New Albany has a high paced offense (22nd – 70.8 PPG). New Albany won last year by ten points, and hold the serious over the last 30 years, 27-5.
#11 4A Valparaiso (18-2) at #16 4A Crown Point (15-3), 7:00 CT
This is a matchup between the two top teams in the Duneland Conference, one of the toughest conferences in Indiana. Valparaiso is above Crown Point by one game, so they could seal their conference championship with a win Friday night. Both teams average less than 54 PAPG, so this one could be a low scoring affair. The Vikings most recent matchup with the Bulldogs was in the sectional championship, where Crown Point won in double overtime, 59-54, en route to a regional championship matchup with Warsaw. This matchup between Ap ranked teams is sure to be exciting and close, as Crown Point fights to at least have a chance toward the conference title.