The Panthers are led by guards Evan Warden (13.9 ppg) and Des Balentine (12.2 ppg) and front-line players Ronnie Smith (11.3 ppg) and Austin Townsend (10.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg). Warden fired in 26 points in Wednesday’s victory over Peru.
The second semifinal at Tipton tonight pits No. 2-ranked Tipton (21-2) and Taylor (5-16). The Blue Devils own 13 straight wins over the Titans, a streak that started in the 2003-04 season.
Tipton is the two-time defending sectional champion and a heavy favorite this year. The Blue Devils are led by Indiana All-Star candidate and St. Louis recruit Mike Crawford, who is 51 points shy of the 2,000-point mark for his career. (The Tribune incorrectly reported how many points he needs to reach 2,000 in a story that ran Wednesday.)
Tipton whipped Taylor 74-35 when the teams met in the regular season, on Feb. 2 at Taylor. The Blue Devils led by just three, 14-11, after the opening quarter, then roared to a 34-15 halftime lead.
Crawford scored 29 points in that game and Blake Hoover added 20 for the Devils. Challen Hodson led the Titans with eight points.
Hodson is the Titans’ top scorer, averaging 12.3 ppg.
Taylor, which received a first-round sectional bye in the blind draw, enters tonight on a five-game losing streak.
• The first semifinal pits Madison-Grant (8-12) vs. Alexandria (5-17).
Carroll and Clinton Central join the fray at Delphi tonight. Both received first-round byes in the blind draw.
Carroll (12-9) plays Fountain Central (17-4) in the 6 p.m. semifinal. The teams played in 2010 and ‘11 sectional finals with Carroll cutting down the nets both times, the back half of the Cougars’ four-year sectional reign. Fountain Central is the defending sectional champ.
The second semifinal pits Clinton Central (1-20) vs. the host Oracles (17-5). Delphi rolled to a 92-44 win when the teams met on Feb. 19.