Get ready for the madness – high school boys basketball sectional time. Here’s a look at the matchups, players to watch and predictions on sectionals involving local teams (all sectional championship games are Saturday):
Sectional 7 at Lafayette Jeff
Matchups: Tuesday: Harrison (13-10) vs. Zionsville (16-6), 6 p.m.; Kokomo (17-6) vs. Lafayette Jeff (14-9), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Logansport (23-1) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; McCutcheon (21-2) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: McCutcheon emerged from this difficult field last year and made a run all the way to the state finals, losing to New Albany. The explosive Mavericks, averaging 76 points per game, are capable of another run. Junior Robert Phinisee (20.7 ppg, 7.1 assists) leads the way. One of McCutcheon’s two losses came to Logansport, which is hungry for its first sectional title since 1996. Seniors Matt Jennings (21 ppg, 3.7 assists) and Jalen Adaway (16.1 ppg, 8.1 rebounds) are a tough combo. Logansport will probably have to get past Zionsville in a semifinal game, a tall task. The Eagles, the Hoosier Crossroads Conference champions, are led by sophomore Isaiah Thompson (17.6 ppg) and senior Dominic Genco (12.1 ppg).
Prediction: McCutcheon. The Mavericks have the experience of winning it last year.
Sectional 8 at Carmel
Matchups: Tuesday: Hamilton Southeastern (19-5) vs. Fishers (10-13), 7 p.m.; Wednesday: Carmel (18-4) vs. Westfield (6-16), 6 p.m.; Guerin Catholic (14-9) vs. Noblesville (11-12), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Anderson (4-19) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Carmel and Hamilton Southeastern would appear to be the favorites. HSE defeated Carmel 72-51 earlier this month. The Royals have their best team since 2013-14, led by senior Zach Gunn (21.6 ppg, 8.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists). Carmel played without leading scorer Sterling Brown (17.4 ppg) in the regular-season finale against Tech. Fishers is probably the top candidate as a potential sleeper. The Tigers took HSE to double-overtime in an 86-80 loss back in December.
Prediction: Hamilton SE.
Sectional 9 at New Castle
Matchups: Tuesday: Mt. Vernon (14-8) vs. Connersville (23-1), 6 p.m.; Greenfield-Central (11-12) vs. Pendleton Heights (17-6), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Richmond (2-22) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; New Castle (16-6) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: There may not be a more balanced 4A sectional than this one. There are four teams – Pendleton Heights, New Castle, Connersville and Mt. Vernon – with a legitimate chance to win it. Connersville, the defending sectional champ, defeated the five other sectional teams by a combined 18 points. Senior Grant Smith (17.8 ppg, 10.0 rebounds) leads the Spartans. New Castle is a team on the rise, led by sophomore Mason Gillis (14.5 ppg, 10.5 rebounds), who was offered by IUPUI over the weekend. Pendleton Heights is dangerous, led by senior Mark Albers (20.0 ppg).
Prediction: Mt. Vernon. The Marauders lost in four overtimes to Connersville, 88-85, in January. The senior-led team will be hungry. Michael Ertel (20.8 ppg), Erick Shepherd (14.1 ppg, 6.3 rebounds) and James McCloud (12.0 ppg, 6.9 rebounds) lead the way.
Sectional 10 at North Central
Matchups: Tuesday: Warren Central (21-2) vs. Lawrence North (15-9), 6 p.m.; Lawrence Central (10-10), North Central (20-4), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Tech (5-16) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Cathedral (15-8) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Warren Central, North Central and possibly Lawrence North are capable of going a long way in the tournament. Warren Central and North Central split two meetings this year and would meet in the championship game. The Warriors will be a tough out. Mack Smith (19.5 ppg) leads them offensively, but togetherness and defense distinguish this team. Can Kris Wilkes and Co. make a run? North Central is capable but will have to play well to beat Lawrence Central and Cathedral. This field might not be as strong top-to-bottom as last year, but it’s still one of the best in the state.
Prediction: Warren Central. A tricky first game against Lawrence North, a team it has defeated twice (by six and nine points), but the Warriors have won tough games all year. A Warren Central-North Central championship would be fun.
Sectional 11 at Decatur Central
Matchups: Tuesday: Ben Davis (16-5) vs. Pike (16-7), 6 p.m.; Perry Meridian (8-13) vs. Roncalli (15-8), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Decatur Central (8-12) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Southport (6-15) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Ben Davis and Pike are the class of the sectional and meet in the first game. Ben Davis rolled Pike 68-41 back in early December, but that was so long ago it’s almost irrelevant. Pike was a surprise winner in the Marion County tournament and will give Ben Davis all it can handle. Junior Aaron Henry and senior Datrion Harper lead the Giants. Roncalli, even without injured senior Christian Stewart, could be a sleeper on the other side of the bracket.
Prediction: Ben Davis. I think this is the year the Giants end a seven-year sectional drought.
Sectional 12 at Plainfield
Matchups: Tuesday: Brownsburg (15-6) vs. Terre Haute North (16-8), 6 p.m.; Terre Haute South (17-7) vs. Avon (11-11), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Plainfield (14-9) vs. Game 1 winner; Mooresville (5-16) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Brownsburg is probably the slight favorite here. The Bulldogs have bounced back from a tough year last season, led by sophomore Cam Alford (17.3 ppg, 3.3 assists) and senior Landon Hall (15.1 ppg). Terre Haute North is not an easy first-round game, however. Terre Haute South is led by senior Jaylen Minnett, the school’s all-time leading scorer. Plainfield and Avon are also improved.
Prediction: Terre Haute South. The Braves have a little bit easier road than Brownsburg.
Sectional 13 at Franklin Central
Matchups: Tuesday: Franklin Central (9-12) vs. Greenwood (11-12), 6 p.m.; Whiteland (14-7) vs. Martinsville (5-15), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Franklin (14-8) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Center Grove (15-7) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Is Franklin Central’s run of four consecutive sectional titles in jeopardy? The Flashes had to forfeit four games due to an eligibility issue from a junior varsity player, so they are better than their record indicates. Senior Grant Pedigo (17.2 ppg, 8.3 rebounds) leads the way. Center Grove is an up-and-coming program, winning four of five to close the regular season. Trayce Jackson-Davis, a 6-8 sophomore, is going to be a good one. Whiteland is dangerous, with two wins over Center Grove. Franklin and Greenwood could also factor into the mix.
Prediction: Center Grove.
Sectional 14 at Bloomington North
Matchups: Tuesday: Shelbyville (16-6) vs. Columbus East (11-12), 6 p.m.; Bloomington South (19-4) vs. Columbus North (15-8), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: East Central (13-10) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Bloomington North (12-9) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Bloomington South is 5-0 against the sectional field, though four of those were decided by seven points or less. Keep an eye on Columbus North. The Bull Dogs, led by senior Alex King (18.5 ppg, 7.4 rebounds), play Bloomington South in the opener and finished the season winning 10 of 12. Shelbyville, Columbus East and Bloomington North are all capable of making a dent in this sectional.
Prediction: Bloomington South. Though I’m sure J.R. Holmes isn’t loving this draw.
Sectional 24 at Marion
Matchups: Tuesday: Tipton (13-8) vs. Marion (10-12), 6 p.m.; Blackford (1-21) vs. Hamilton Heights (9-12), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Yorktown (2-17) vs. Game 1 winner; Delta (14-9) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Marion is the reigning Class 3A state champ and would have to be considered the favorite here. Senior Tim Leavell is averaging more than 22 points a game for the Giants. Tipton is not an easy draw, however. Hamilton Heights is also dangerous, led by seniors Camyn Lutz (14.8 ppg) and Sterling Weatherford (14.0 ppg, 6.8 rebounds).
Sectional 25 at Greencastle
Matchups: Tuesday: Greencastle (8-14) vs. Crawfordsville (15-7), 7 p.m.; Wednesday: Western Boone (6-16) vs. Frankfort (6-17), 6 p.m.; Lebanon (12-12) vs. North Montgomery (8-14), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Tri-West (20-3) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: The foot injury to senior Peyton Hendershot could be an issue for a Tri-West team capable of a state championship run. Hendershot has missed the past three games. But the Bruins still have junior Tyler Watson (20.2 ppg) and a number of other experienced players. Lebanon, led by senior Trevor Lakes (23.4 ppg), and Crawfordsville are solid teams.
Prediction: Tri-West. A good draw here.
Sectional 27 at Brebeuf Jesuit
Matchups: Tuesday: Marshall (7-14) vs. New Palestine (6-16), 7 p.m.; Wednesday: Herron (0-21) vs. Crispus Attucks (18-4), 6 p.m.; Manual (17-6) vs. Brebeuf Jesuit (13-8), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Bishop Chatard (3-19) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Wow, this is going to be fun. Attucks, Manual and Brebeuf are three of the best teams in the state in Class 3A. And all three are on the same side of the bracket. Good players, too. Seniors Nike Sibande of Attucks (23.9 ppg) and Courvoisier McCauley of Manual (27.7 ppg) are potential Indiana All-Stars. Brebeuf is battle-tested, led by junior Myja White (14.1 ppg), senior Malachi Rice (11.8 ppg) and sophomore Simon Banks (11.3 ppg).
Prediction: Attucks. The Tigers have the benefit of “only” having to beat Brebeuf or Manual and not both. They’ve also won eight in a row, including a three-point win over Brebeuf.
Sectional 28 at Danville
Matchups: Tuesday: Danville (16-8) vs. Park Tudor (16-6), 7 p.m.; Wednesday: Indian Creek (15-8) vs. Beech Grove (16-6), 6 p.m.; Washington (1-18) vs. Cardinal Ritter (14-8), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Northwest (8-14) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Game 2 vs. Game 3 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Defending sectional champion Park Tudor is the favorite here but not by a lot. The Panthers will be challenged right away by Danville in the first round. Beech Grove, Ritter and possibly Indian Creek are challengers.
Prediction: Beech Grove. Maybe I’m thinking too far outside the box on this, but the Hornets have a solid resume with wins over Tri-West, Franklin Central, Southport, Danville, Ritter and Whiteland, among others.
Sectional 40 at Lapel
Matchups: Tuesday: Lapel (15-8) vs. Wapahani (15-6), 6 p.m.; Muncie Burris (3-19) vs. Monroe Central (21-2), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Sheridan (9-14) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Frankton (17-6) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Frankton and defending state champion Lapel are the top teams here, though Monroe Central and Wapahani are also having solid seasons.
Prediction: Lapel. I’m not sure the Bulldogs can go all the way again, but Jon Ross Richardson (19.6 ppg, 8.4 rebounds) and his teammates can win this sectional.
Sectional 42 at Triton Central
Matchups: Tuesday: Irvington (17-5) vs. Eastern Hancock (12-10), 6 p.m.; Triton Central (10-12) vs. Howe (16-8), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Shenandoah (18-4) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Knightstown (3-19) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Howe is the favorite here after going to the state finals a year ago. Dave McCollough’s Shenandoah team has won nine games in a row and 13 of 14. Senior Gavin Griggs (17.0 ppg, 6.8 rebounds) leads the Raiders. Irvington is a potential sleeper.
Sectional 43 at Speedway
Matchups: Tuesday: Speedway (4-17) vs. Shortridge (2-18), 6 p.m.; Scecina (15-9) vs. Covenant Christian (8-14), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Broad Ripple (17-5) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; Heritage Christian (13-9) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: This is another knockdown, drag-out field. Scecina, Broad Ripple and Heritage Christian are all capable of winning this sectional and Covenant Christian could spring an upset.
Prediction: Broad Ripple. The Rockets have a good draw, opposite Scecina and Heritage Christian. And the Rockets have a good team, led by junior Caleb Brown and senior Sam Colbert. Scecina beat Broad Ripple 68-61 earlier this month.
Sectional 44 at South Putnam
Matchups: Tuesday: Cascade (14-8) vs. Monrovia (14-9), 6 p.m.; Southmont (11-10) vs. Cloverdale (18-6), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: South Putnam (6-16) vs. Game 1 winner; North Putnam (10-13) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Another balanced field. Cloverdale, with senior star Cooper Neese (28 ppg), is maybe a slight favorite but lost to Southmont in December. Cascade, Southmont and Monrovia are all capable of a sectional title.
Prediction: Cloverdale. The Clovers know how to get it done, winning back-to-back sectional titles.
Sectional 57 at White River Valley
Matchups: Tuesday: White River Valley (4-18) vs. North Central (Farmersburg) (0-23), 6 p.m.; Bloomfield (10-13) vs. Clay City (7-16), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Eminence (8-14) vs. Game 1 winner; Shakamak (13-10) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Bloomfield made it to the state finals last year but has a different team and new coach. Shakamak is 7-0 against sectional opponents, including a three-point win over Bloomfield in December.
Prediction: Bloomfield. Minor upset? The Cardinals have played a tough schedule.
Sectional 58 at University
Matchups: Tuesday: Bethesda Christian (19-4) vs. International (11-11), 6 p.m.; Tindley (17-5) vs. University (13-10), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Indiana Deaf (11-12) vs. Game 1 winner; Indiana Math & Science (15-8) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Tindley is clearly the team to beat with juniors Eric Hunter (27.2 ppg, 7.3 rebounds) and Hunter White (18.0 ppg, 6.3 rebounds). The Tigers are the two-time defending sectional champs. But University is also battle-tested. The Trailblazers are 7-2 against Class A opponents with one of those losses by 12 points to Tindley. Bethesda Christian is also much improved.
Prediction: Tindley. My pick to win a state title.
Sectional 59 at Edinburgh
Matchups: Tuesday: Morristown (15-8) vs. Edinburgh (6-17), 6 p.m.; Arlington (13-9) vs. Central Christian (17-6), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Greenwood Christian (7-16) vs. Game 1 winner; Lutheran (9-12) vs. Game 2 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: This looks like a wide-open field. Arlington is the defending champion, but Morristown, led by junior Hayden Langkabel (27.6 ppg), is 12-2 since the beginning of January. One of those losses came to Arlington, 59-55 in February. Lutheran and Central Christian are potential sleepers.
Prediction: Morristown. The Yellow Jackets haven’t won a sectional crown since 2007.
Sectional 60 at South Decatur
Matchups: Tuesday: Southwestern of Shelbyville (10-12) vs. Waldron (6-16), 7 p.m.; Wednesday: South Decatur (11-12) vs. Jac-Cen-Del (2-21), 6 p.m.; Oldenburg (20-3) vs. Rising Sun (4-19), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Hauser (14-9), 6 p.m.; Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 7:30 p.m.
The skinny: Oldenburg Academy is 10-0 against Class A opponents, led by senior Ben Kinker (20.2 ppg). Hauser is a potential sleeper.
Prediction: Oldenburg Academy.
Call IndyStar reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.