The road to an anticipated Carmel-Tech Class 4A high school boys state championship game is filled with potential potholes.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association unveiled the sectional pairings on Sunday. Sectional games begin March 4 and run through March 8. Regional games are set for March 15, followed by semistates on March 22 and the four state championship games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 29.
Two-time defending state championship and top-ranked Carmel (17-1) will begin its run for a third consecutive title against Zionsville (13-5) in Sectional 8 at Noblesville on March 5. A win there for the Greyhounds would likely mean a matchup with North Central (14-6) in a semifinal.
On the other side of the bracket of Sectional 8, third-ranked Hamilton Southeastern (18-3) plays Fishers (7-12) with host Noblesville (13-6) awaiting the winner.
Meanwhile, 4A No. 2 Tech (19-2) awaits a difficult assignment in its attempt to win the program’s first sectional since 1978. The Titans face Lawrence North (11-8) in a first-round Sectional 10 game on March 4 with the winner playing Lawrence Central (10-7). Cathedral (14-6), last year’s 4A runner-up, plays Warren Central (11-9) in another Sectional 10 first-round game, with Roncalli (10-7) awaiting the winner in the state’s only sectional in which every team has a winning record.
In Sectional 12 at Avon, 4A No. 5 Brownsburg (17-2) will open with Terre Haute North (7-12), with Mooresville (17-4) looming in a potential semifinal game. Martinsville (13-6) is on the other side of the bracket.
Brownsburg hasn’t won a sectional since it won a 4A state title in 2008.
“For the seniors, I wish that for them,” first-year Brownsburg coach Steve Lynch said of a potential sectional title. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked, so for them to be rewarded in that manner would be great. But we have to go earn it.”
In Sectional 11 at Ben Davis, three-time defending champion Pike (11-8) gets a bye with a likely matchup against the host Giants (10-7) in a semifinal game. Southport (11-7), a one-win team a year ago, is on the opposite side of the bracket against Perry Meridian (13-5) with the winner facing Decatur Central (6-13).
In Class 3A, there are a pair of top-10 teams in Sectional 26 at Marshall. No. 7 Brebeuf Jesuit (13-4) opens against Bishop Chatard (10-10), while No. 3 Guerin Catholic (17-3) awaits the winner of Herron (16-4) and Marshall (13-7).
Guerin Catholic, which defeated Brebeuf 76-60 on Jan. 24, won a 3A state championship two years ago with seniors Aaron Brennan and Whit Rapp in the starting lineup.
In Class 2A, top-ranked Park Tudor (17-4) will attempt to win its third state championship in four years after a loss to Broad Ripple in last year’s sectional. In Sectional 42 at Broad Ripple, the Panthers have a bye and will face the winner of Heritage Christian (9-10) and Shortridge (12-7). No. 7 Scecina (15-5) is on the opposite side of the bracket.
Led by senior Trevon Bluiett, Park Tudor won the Marion County tournament for a second consecutive year but then lost three of four. The Panthers have since rebounded to win four in a row.
“I think we’re on that upward tick again,” Park Tudor coach Kyle Cox said. “I think we got some things figured out defensively and got some guys healthy. We’re in a good spot right now. We have to stay in that one-game-at-a-time mindset. We can’t get to the state finals on the Friday night of the sectional.”
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.