It is that time of year again. Yesterday was the draw for the 105th Indiana high school basketball state tournament. Even though the scourge of class basketball is still upon us, it is still one of the best things Indiana has going. With three commitments and several targets from the state of Indiana, the tournament is of interest to Purdue fans. Here is the path our guys have before they become Boilermakers.
Ryan Cline - Carmel - Cline's Greyhounds are ranked 4th in the state in class 4A and are 19-2 before their final regular season game this Friday. They won the state championships in 2012 and 2013 before being upset as the state's No. 1 team in last season's sectional. This year they are hosting the always tough sectional 8, and they drew the one bye of the seven teams involved. They will not play until Friday, March 6 against the winner between Fishers and North Central. That is an interesting game, as North Central (with 2017 target Kris Wilkes)beat Carmel 66-59 on December 12 and is ranked 3rd. If they reach the final they will probably face Zionsville, who is 17-6, but lost to Carmel in the season opener.
Grant Weatherford - Hamilton Heights - Heights is in a bit of a bizarre sectional. Most sectionals are six teams, but with the normal two-year realignment not due until after this season and with Muncie South HS closing last year they are in a five-team affair at Muncie Central. Heights is 16-7 going into their regular season finale and they will play on March 6 against the winner between Muncie Central and Delta. This is a class 3A sectional, but since Muncie Central absorbed all of the Muncie South students they are basically a 4A school playing at the 3A level. Central is the defending champion here, but they are just 9-11. Either Heights or Yorktown is the favorite.
C.J. Walker - Indianapolis Tech - Tech is the defending class 4A state champions and they are playing in a six-team sectional at Lawrence Central. Tech lost quite a bit from last year's title team, but they are still 14-7 and are on a four-game winning streak. They drew a bye and will face the winner between Cathedral and Warren Central on March 6. This is a very, very tough sectional with Lawrence North (15-5), Cathedral (11-9, but hot since Eron Gordon became eligible), and Roncalli (14-6). There is no clear favorite here, but Tech has beaten Cathedral (before Gordon could play), and lost to Lawrence North 98-86. They also lost the season opener to Warren Central 80-77.
Caleb Swanigan - Homestead - Swanigan's team is ranked 20-2 and second in the state headed into the season's finale week. An 81-68 loss on Friday to Ft. Wayne Snider was their first loss since November 28. Homestead is still the heavy favorite to win the five-team sectional at Ft. Wayne Wayne. They did not draw a bye and will open on March 3 against Huntington North, but it likely will not matter. Jay County is the only other team in the sectional with a winning record. Homestead won this sectional and the Marion regional last season, and could face Carmel in the regional final.
Joey Brunk & Paul Scruggs - Southport - Southport is currently 20-2 and is ranked fifth in the state with Brunk and Scruggs, whom coach Painter is both recruiting. Their only losses were a 4 overtime affair to Pike in the Marion County Tournament and a 13 point loss to Lawrence North. They drew a bye in the Perry Meridian sectional and will play the winner between Ben Davis and Indianapolis Northwest (likely Ben Davis). Southport beat Ben Davis by 3 in the regular season and could get a rematch with Pike in the sectional final.
Jaren Jakson - Park Tudor - The final target is 2017 possibility Jaren Jackson, who plays for Park Tudor and has a Purdue offer. Park Tudor is defending Class 2A state champion and has won three of the last four titles at that level. It could easily be four of five as they are ranked No. 1 in Class 2A and are 17-2 with losses to Southport and North Central in overtime. They play in Sectional 42 at Indianapolis Shortridge and open on March 3 against the hosts. This is a loaded sectional with No. 5 rated Indianapolis Scecina and No. 2 Indianapolis Howe. The final very well could be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 game on March 7. Park Tudor has already beaten Scecina once.