The complexion of the City boys basketball tournament looks a whole lot different than it did when the draw was announced two weeks ago.
• Top-seeded Scecina (10-3), ranked fifth in Class 2A, lost 6-5 junior Andre Jones to a midseason transfer to Muncie Central. Another starter, senior guard and IUPUI recruit T.J. Henderson, has missed the past two games with a fractured foot.
• The saga of Eron Gordon’s transfer to Cathedral took another turn on Friday as he was granted eligibility in court, overturning the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s ruling after Gordon’s transfer from North Central last summer.
• Crispus Attucks (9-2), ranked third in 2A, could get 6-3 senior and leading scorer Darrell Hutchison back from his foot injury this week. Hutchison has missed five games.
The 18-team tournament starts on Monday with six games: No. 17 seed Manual (2-8) at No. 8 Covenant Christian (6-6); No. 16 Northwest (1-10) at No. 9 Cardinal Ritter (5-5); No. 13 Arlington (8-5) at No. 12 Herron (7-4); No. 18 Gambold Prep (0-4) at No. 7 Heritage Christian (4-8); No. 15 Marshall (4-6) at No. 10 Bishop Chatard (4-9); No. 14 Broad Ripple (1-9) at No. 11 Washington (6-5).
Fifth-seeded Cathedral (3-6) and sixth-seeded Shortridge (9-3) have a bye into Tuesday’s second round and the top four seeds – No. 1 Scecina, No. 2 Howe (9-2), No. 3 Tech (9-5) and No. 4 Attucks – won’t play until the quarterfinals on Thursday.
A potential Attucks-Cathedral game is in the cards if the Irish get past Arlington or Herron. It was on the minds of Attucks already after its 72-63 win at Class 2A second-ranked Northeastern on Friday night.
“Whoever we run into in the city is going to be a tough, tough opponent,” Attucks coach Phil Washington said. “It’s good to win (at Northeastern) but we still haven’t won anything yet. Other than maybe helping our ranking, it doesn’t do anything.”
The City tournament has been a major goal for Attucks since preseason workouts. The Tigers could get a Cathedral team that looks significantly different with the 6-2 Gordon, who has scholarship offers from Indiana and Purdue. He should provide a boost offensively for the Irish, who are averaging 55.9 points a game and were held to a season-low last week in a 51-33 loss to Carmel.
Here are my picks for the City tourney: in the quarterfinals, Scecina over Ritter, Attucks over Cathedral, Howe over Heritage Christian and Tech over Shortridge. In the semifinals, I’ll take Attucks over Scecina and Tech over Howe. In the championship, Tech over Attucks.
The semifinals (Saturday) and championship game (Monday) are at Tech.
• Gillis makes return: Ben Davis senior Brennan Gillis was cleared to play on Wednesday and returned for the semifinal and championship games of the Marion County tournament over the weekend.
The 6-6 Gillis, who broke his left pinkie finger in December, isn’t at full strength. He has his left (shooting) hand wrapped, which takes some adjustment.
“I need to work on my free throws because it’s going to be different with my fingers taped up,” Gillis said after the Giants’ 54-51 loss to Pike in Saturday’s championship. “My hook shot feels really weird. It’s throwing me off a little bit, but I’m just going to keep working on it and get ready for next week.”
Gillis, a Northern Kentucky recruit, had two surgeries on the finger and now has a plate in place with five screws. But as long as the doctor cleared it, he wasn’t going to sit out any longer.
“Sitting out as long as I did was really frustrating,” said Gillis, also a standout receiver on Ben Davis’ state champion football team. “I learned a lot, though, and I got a little rest in since football and basketball overlapped this year. Hopefully by the end of the month, I won’t have to tape my two fingers together.”
Ben Davis hosts Center Grove on Friday and Decatur Central on Saturday.