Saturday, October 25, 2014


Goshen junior Austin Woolett (44) puts up a shot over Westview's Daron Miller (13) and Westview's Jordyn Bontrager (11) on Feb. 21 in Goshen. While the Redskins are just 11-9 overall, they enter the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional as hot as any team as they pursue their first postseason title in 22 years. (James Buck / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Fairfield junior Joe Line (right) drives on Northridge senior Sam Ahonen (14) in a Feb. 4 game. Northridge enters the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional as the favorite, but that's not been a favorable role in recent years. Fairfield will be part of the 3A Wawasee Sectional field. (James Buck/The Elkhart Truth)
Twine Line: Spooky results coming out of North Side Gym
Posted on March 3, 2014 at 5:26 p.m.

Hallowed North Side Gym, full of ghosts of greatness, has also yielded some frankly spooky results over the six years that this current collection of six teams has gathered in the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional boys basketball tournament.

Spooky if you're the favorite, that is.

And that's what Northridge (18-2) is this year as sectionals throughout our area get set to tip Tuesday, March 4.

First off, breathe out, Raiders, it's not like the favorite never wins.

ANTHONY'S TWINE 12
Team                         W-L
 1. Penn (1)                      19-1
 2. Northridge (2)          18-2
 3. NorthWood (3)        18-2
 4. SB Washington (4)  14-4
 5. SB Adams (5)           13-7
 6. SB St. Joseph (6)    14-6
 7. Westview (9)             17-4
 8. Elkhart Christian (10)  16-4
 9. Concord (7)                12-8
10. Goshen (—)              11-9
11. Marian (8)                  12-8
12. SB Riley  (—)            12-8

Last week’s ranking in parentheses. Dropped out: Prairie Heights (11), West Noble (12). Teams chosen from among the 38 making up the NLC, NIC, NSC, NECC and independents Bethany and Elkhart Christian.  
        

Two years ago, Elkhart Memorial had the best basketball team in the state at least this side of Carmel, and the Crimson Chargers played up to it in the sectional, winning that, then adding the regional before closing at 24-2.

And four years ago, Nic Moore, now playing for Larry Brown at SMU, led favored Warsaw on a charge through the Elkhart Sectional and all the way to the state championship game before bowing to Indianapolis North Central and closing 23-3.

But those events, believe it or not, are the exceptions in the six-year window we're addressing here.

Just last year, Concord marched into this sectional at 19-1 (in fact, 19-0 at full strength, which the Minutemen indeed were), only to trip in a triple-overtime semifinal against a 10-loss Warsaw club that went on to win the sectional.

Of course,  there is similarly epic 2009, when Northridge went into the sectional a perfect 20-0, the first Elkhart County regular-season unbeaten in 19 years, only to get whipped 64-50 by a surging, yet-still-nine-loss Memorial team in the final.

That's not all. In 2011, Warsaw was the sectional favorite at 17-5, but Concord claimed the crown after entering 12-8.

And our six-year stretch that we're reviewing here started in 2008 with Northridge entering at 14-6, but Warsaw, which headed in at 12-8, claiming the title.

So, summarizing, the team with the best record has not gotten out of this bizarre sectional four times in the last six years, and two of those years include 20-0 and 19-1 teams being ousted by nine and 10-loss teams, respectively.

It's not like these schools' records are skewed by playing different schedules, either. Five of the six programs are members of the same Northern Lakes Conference, while Elkhart Central of the Northern Indiana plays each of those other five most years. Schedule strengths are typically about the same.

"Us being the favorite means we have a target on our back," second-year Northridge coach Ronnie Thomas said last week as the Raiders braced for the role. "We''re going to get everybody's best shot.  They're all going to want revenge, and we better be ready."

Only adding to the plot lines for  this year's sectional, three of the six teams — an almost unheard of percentage — either picked up an impact player halfway or more into the season (Adam Glanders at Concord, Tray Qualls at Memorial) or regained the services of an impact player who missed half the season (Brady Bechtel at Goshen).

Plus, while Warsaw (11-9) has been without standout Rashaan Jackson for seven games now, there's at least speculation that he could return, plus there's the fact that the Tigers are playing markedly better without him lately, now that they've had time to adjust, than when he first went out.

Overall, this is an intriguing sectional field. Nothing new there.

Goshen (11-9), hunting for its first title in 22 years, and its first at North Side in 45 years, is the team most outpacing its record at the moment. The Redskins have won seven of their last eight (capped by victories over 14-win South Bend St. Joseph and 16-win West Noble) and are 8-2 overall with Bechtel.

No. 17-ranked Northridge's sparkling 18-2 mark includes its lone two losses each coming against No. 6 Penn (19-1).

Then there's Concord (12-8) and Memorial (8-12), facing off in Tuesday's opening game, each under coaches who have had plenty of postseason success.

Central (5-15), meanwhile, has the sectional's worst record and has had an uncertain coaching situation over the last week, but the Blue Blazers also have the bye, are the hosts and possess individual talent that is comparable to any of the other teams.

Yeah, it would be kind of spooky if they won, but, oh, there's that word, and consider the recent history.

SECTIONAL PICKS

A year ago, The Elkhart Truth did not have a single coverage school make it to at least regionals for the first time in 90 years.

Yes, 90 years.

Want to know how much that has spooked Twine?

Well, I'm predicting that this year we'll have a record five teams. How's that for a rebound?

Those teams are Northridge at 4A Elkhart, Penn at 4A South Bend Washington, NorthWood at 3A Wawasee, Westview at 2A Westview and Elkhart Christian claiming its first-ever sectional title at 1A Hamilton.

At 3A Jimtown, I'll lean with South Bend St. Joseph.

Now, enough words. On with the games and the best time of the year in Indiana.

IHSAA AREA SECTIONAL PAIRINGS

CLASS 4A ELKHART

Tuesday, March 4

Game 1 — Concord (12-8) vs. Elkhart Memorial (8-12), 6 p.m.

Game 2 —  Goshen (11-9) vs. Warsaw (11-9)

Friday, March 7

Game 3 —  Northridge (18-2) vs.Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 4 —  Elkhart Central (5-15) vs. Game 2 winner

Saturday, March 8

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

CLASS 4A SB WASHINGTON

Tuesday, March 4

Game 1 — SB Adams (13-7) vs. Penn (19-1), 7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 5

Game 2 — SB Riley (12-8) vs. SB Clay (5-16), 6 p.m.

Game 3 — Plymouth (10-10) vs. Mishawaka (4-16)

Friday, March 7

Game 4 —  SB Washington (14-4) vs.Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 5 —  Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner

Saturday, March 8

Championship, 7:30 p.m. (Note: if Penn playing, championship may be moved to Monday, March 10)

CLASS 3A JIMTOWN

Tuesday, March 4

Game 1 — Jimtown (7-13) vs. Marian (12-8), 6 p.m.

Game 2 —  Glenn (11-7) vs. SB St. Joseph (14-6)

Friday, March 7

Game 3 —  Culver Academy (12-6) vs.Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 4 —  Rochester (4-16) vs. Game 2 winner

Saturday, March 8

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

CLASS 3A WAWASEE

Tuesday, March 4

Game 1 — West Noble (16-5) vs. Whitko (1-19), 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 5

Game 2 — Wawasee (4-16) vs. Tippecanoe Valley (16-3), 6 p.m.

Game 3 — Lakeland (7-13) vs. NorthWood (18-2)

Friday, March 7

Game 4 —  Fairfield (12-8)  vs.Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 5 —  Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner

Saturday, March 8

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

CLASS 2A WESTVIEW

Tuesday, March 4

Game 1 — Fremont (5-15) vs. Prairie Heights (14-6), 6 p.m.

Game 2 —  Westview (17-4) vs. Central Noble (2-19)

Friday, March 7

Game 3 —  Bremen (3-17) vs.Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 4 —  LaVille (11-9) vs. Game 2 winner

Saturday, March 8

Championship, 7 p.m.

CLASS 1A HAMILTON

Tuesday, March 4

Game 1 — Lakewood Park (10-10) vs. Lakeland Christian (3-18), 7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 5

Game 2 — Howe (0-19) vs. Fort Wayne Blackhawk (13-9), 6 p.m.

Game 3 — Bethany Christian (3-17) vs. Elkhart Christian (16-4)

Friday, March 7

Game 4 —  Hamilton (5-14)  vs.Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 5 —  Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner

Saturday, March 8

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

IHSAA AREA SCORING LEADERS

                                              G Pts Avg

Nate Ritchie, Northridge 20 476 23.8

Devin Cannady, Marian 20 430 21.5

Zach Zurcher, NWood 20 407 20.4

Ramon Johnson, Concord 20 385 19.3

Jordyn Bontrager, Wview 21 382 18.2

Jon Wilkinson, NWood 20 356 17.8

Joe Line, Fairfield 20 34517.3

Cory Waycaster, ECA 20 339 17.0

Jordan Geist, Penn 20 333 16.7

Ryan Kupferschmid, ECA 20 325 16.3

Tray Qualls, Memorial 6 95 15.8

Dimitri Giger, Memorial 20 313 15.7

Filip Serwatka, Concord 20 308 15.4

Chandler Aspy, Wview 20 306 15.3

Sol Brenneman, Bethany 20 276 13.8

Alex Clark, Wawasee 20 275 13.8

Treyton Harris, Central 20 259 13.0

Deric Haynes, Goshen 20 251 12.6

Abe Thorne, Bethany 20 250 12.5

Billy Doslak, Penn 20 244 12.2

Nick Floyd, Jimtown 20 244 12.2

Pete Smith, Northridge 20 230 11.5

Cam Maxwell, Memorial 20 217 10.9

Austin Woolett, Goshen 20 216 10.8

Will Stueve, NorthWood 20 212 10.6

Gage Reinhard, Wawasee 20 209 10.5

Brady Bechtel, Goshen 10 104 10.4

A.J. Gary, Memorial 20 189 9.5