Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

March 4, 2014

Boys BB: Class 3A sectional preview

Western, NW, Mac, Peru set for Twin Lakes Sectional

The Class 3A boys basketball sectional at Twin Lakes brings together seven teams — four from the Mid-Indiana Conference and three from the Hoosier Conference.

The sectional also seemingly always brings together Western and West Lafayette for a matchup at some point.

This year, the blind draw put Western vs. West Lafayette in the opening round. They will meet in the second game Wednesday night, at approximately 7:45 p.m.

“It’s become almost synonymous with March — Western vs. West Lafayette,” Western coach Bart Miller said.

The teams have met in sectional play in 10 of the previous 11 years, usually in the semifinal round or the final. The Panthers hold a 7-3 advantage in those games although the Red Devils have won three of the last five meetings. Last year, West Lafayette beat Western 65-52 in a semifinal en route to winning the title.

The sectional tips off at tonight with another familiar matchup, Maconaquah vs. Twin Lakes.

“This is our third year in a row of being at Twin Lakes, playing Twin Lakes in the opener, and then the winner goes and plays Benton Central,” Maconaquah coach Andy Steele said. “[The draw] is supposed to be surprising, but it’s really not.”

In Wednesday’s first game, Northwestern faces Peru.

The following are looks at the three opening-round games.

MACONAQUAH (6-12) VS. TWIN LAKES (13-7)

The Braves went 3-3 in the 2013 portion of the season, then dropped nine of their first 10 games in the new year. The Braves regrouped to post victories over Taylor and Pioneer in the final week of the regular season.

“Obviously, there is no doubt we struggled in the mid part of the season,” Steele said. “Not to put a lot of blame on it, but the weather really hurt us, not being able to get in and get some gym time. Our guys struggled to be consistent during that stretch. ... I think our last three games were a complete 180. We lost to Southwood, but we came out and played good basketball and only lost by three. Then we took it to Taylor and played hard and aggressive against those guys and we did the exact same thing against Pioneer. Hopefully we carry that momentum into the sectional.”

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