Balentine earns spot on all-tourney team
ST. LOUIS — Kokomo High School product D.J. Balentine earned a spot on the Missouri Valley Conference’s all-tournament team for men’s basketball.
Wichita State’s Tekele Cotton was the tournament’s MVP and teammates Fred VanVleet and Cleanthony Early also made the five-player team after the No. 2-ranked Shockers beat Indiana State in the tournament final Sunday. Evansville’s Balentine and Indiana State’s Jake Odum joined the Shocker trio on the squad.
Balentine had a pair of big games in the tournament. In the opening round, he scored 30 points and dished four assists, leading the Aces past Drake 69-61. In the quarterfinal round, unbeaten Wichita State beat Evansville 80-58, overcoming Balentine’s 31 points and three assists.
Balentine closed his breakout sophomore season with team-high averages of 22.8 points and 4.2 assists per game for the 14-19 Aces. He earned first-team All-MVC honors during the regular season.
Western boys to play in sectional final tonight
Western’s boys basketball team will shoot for a sectional championship tonight. The Panthers (15-6) take on the host Indians (15-7) in the Class 3A Twin Lakes Sectional final at 7:30 p.m. The winner earns a ticket to the Kankakee Valley Regional.
Twin Lakes took a 62-59 win in the teams’ regular-season meeting on Feb. 8 at Russiaville.
Western will look to join Kokomo, Cass and Tipton as sectional champions.
Kokomo will play in the Class 4A Marion Regional on Saturday. The Kats (16-7) face Homestead (18-7) in the 10 a.m. opener followed by No. 4-ranked Fort Wayne North (24-1) vs. No. 3 Hamilton Southeastern (22-3). The winners will return at 8 p.m. to play for the title.
Tipton and Cass are set for the Class 2A Lapel Regional on Saturday. It’s Tipton (14-8) vs. Fountain Central (15-7) in the 10 a.m. opener followed by No. 7 Cass (20-2) vs. No. 3 Wapahani (22-1). The championship is at 8 p.m.