Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 5, 2013

PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Wildkats gearing up for familiar opponent

Kokomo will face top-ranked Carmel in Marion Regional


— Few opponents, especially from outside the North Central Conference, have an all-time winning record against Kokomo in boys basketball.

Carmel is one.

No. 1-ranked Carmel (21-2) and No. 8 Kokomo (22-2) will renew acquaintances at noon Saturday in a Class 4A Marion Regional semifinal game.

The Greyhounds hold a 20-15 advantage in the all-time series — including a decisive 11-1 lead since the 2002-03 season.

Last season, Kokomo beat Carmel 47-40 during the regular season to snap a nine-game losing streak in the series — but the Greyhounds beat the Kats 52-48 in a regional semifinal and went on to win the state championship.

And when the teams met earlier this season at Carmel, the Greyhounds took a 54-46 win, handing the Kats their first loss after a 13-0 start. Up 47-46 with 2:15 left, the Greyhounds closed the game on a 7-0 run.

Michael Volovic was a thorn in Kokomo’s side in each of the past two meetings. He had 10 points and eight assists in the 2012 regional game, and 22 points and five assists when the teams met earlier this season.

LaBradford Sebree and Tayler Persons led Kokomo in this season’s meeting with 17 points apiece.

The opening Marion Regional semifinal pits Fort Wayne Northrop (19-7) vs. New Haven (17-5).

Kokomo beat Northrop 65-61 in overtime in both teams’ regular-season finale. Kokomo has never played New Haven.

New Haven opened the season 4-4, losing to Northrop (71-66), but has gone 13-1 since. New Haven is coached by former Ball State great Al Gooden, who led Harding to a Class 2A state title, two Class 2A state runner-up finishes and two Class 3A state runner-up finishes before the school was closed.

Class 2A Tipton Regional

Tipton will host a Class 2A regional Saturday. The No. 2-ranked Blue Devils (23-2) will face Hoosier Conference rival Delphi (19-5) in the opening semifinal, then Northfield (17-7) and No. 6 Wapahani (21-3) will meet in the second semifinal.

Tipton is 13-1 against Delphi over the last 15 years. The Blue Devils beat the Oracles 57-55 when they met earlier this season. Indiana All-Star candidate Mike Crawford scored 32 points, including the game-winning bucket in the closing seconds.

Tipton is the two-time defending regional champ. The Devils beat Northfield 53-38 in the 2012 final.

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