TOPEKA — There’s no easy way out of the Class 2A boys basketball sectional at Westview this season.
The sectional sports three top 15 schools, including No. 4 Central Noble, No. 14 Westview and No. 15 Churubusco, according to the latest poll by the Associated Press.
The 20-1 Cougars have defeated Churubusco twice this season — once in the regular season and once in the Northeast Corner Conference tournament. Their lone loss was from Westview, however, Central Noble defeated Westview in the NECC tournament.
Churubusco lost to the Warriors in the season opener and to Central Noble twice, accounting for all three of the Eagles’ losses in their 16-3 record.
Undoubtedly, the Eagles will be looking to avenge those losses and defend their 2020 sectional title, in which Churubusco defeated both Central Noble and Westview to win the championship.
The Cougars and Warriors will face off in round one of the sectional, while Churubusco and Prairie Heights and Eastside and Fairfield will square off in other round-one action.
Churubusco blew out the Panthers in their matches earlier this season, 102-58 in the regular season and 108-60 in the NECC tourney.
According to the John Harrell Indiana basketball website, Churubusco has the highest chance of winning the sectional at 51.49%, followed by Central Noble at 22.42%, Eastside at 11.4% and Westview at 10.73%.
The same predictions put Churubusco at a 5.7% chance of winning the regional, 4.18% chance of winning the semi-state and 2.21% chance of winning the state.
Another popular ranking, the Sagarin, predicts Central Noble will win with an overall rating of 79.74, with Churubusco close behind at 79.36 points. The ranking is based on schedule strength, recent ratings and average ratings. Westview is in third with 73.98 points and Eastide next with 63.75 points.
The Sagarin ratings also put Central Noble and Churubusco in fifth and sixth, respectively, in Class 2A. Westview is 16th and Eastside 41st.
Churubusco will take on the winner of Central Noble and Westview in the semi-final game. On the other side of the bracket, Eastside (13-6) faces Fairfield (1-16), and Bremen (8-11) takes on the winner of that game in the semi-final.
In all rankings and polls, Blackhawk Christian is comfortably in first place in Class 2A.
Columbia City sectional
Many are already writing off Homestead as sectional champion in Class 4A Sectional 6 at Columbia City, as the undefeated, 22-0 Spartans are ranked No. 1 in the state.
The sectional was previously to be held at Wayne High School, but was recently moved to the new Columbia City High School location on SR 9, south of Columbia City.
Homestead takes on Huntington North (11-6) in the opening round of sectional action, while Wayne (6-15) and Columbia City (7-12) play in the other round one game.
South Side (7-11) faces the winner of the Homestead/Huntington game, and New Haven (13-6) will play the winner of Columbia City and Wayne in the other semi-final game.
According to predictions by the John Harrell Indiana Basketball website, Homestead has an 87.11% chance of winning the sectional, followed by a New Haven at 7.11%. According to the same predictions, Homestead has a 46.39% chance of winning the regional, 39.38% chance of winning semi-state and 30.38% chance of winning the state title.
According to Sagarin rankings, Homestead is top in the state with 103.47 points, followed by Carmel at 102.33 points and Lawrence North at 99.19 points.
Carroll (15-6) is the favorite in the Class 4A sectional at East Noble. The Chargers face Northrop (5-11) in the opening round, and DeKalb (8-10) and Snider (10-10) play in the other round 1 game. North Side (11-9) and East Noble (7-13) drew the bye and will play in the semi-finals.
Whitko also faces a nearly impossible situation at the Bluffton sectional, as the Wildcats are stuck in the same sectional as Blackhawk Christian, the Class 2A No. 1 team with a 19-3 record.
Blackhawk has a 95.4% chance of winning the sectional, 81.93% chance of winning the regional, 77.92% chance of getting to state and 69.04% chance of of winning the state finals.
The same predictions put Whitko at a 1.27% chance of winning the sectional title.
Whitko (12-7) takes on Wabash (4-15) in the sectional opener. Blackhawk drew Bluffton (7-12); Adams Central (8-12) faces Manchester (11-7); and Canterbury (2-13) takes on South Adams (13-7) in the other round 1 games.
The winner of Whitko/Wabash will face the winner of Blackhawk/Bluffton in the semifinal, and the winner of Canterbury/South Adams and Adams Central/Manchester will play in the other semifinal.
Sectional action begins March 2, with championship games on March 6.