March 4, 2014

Logan faces Marion; Cass plays Wabash in sectional play

by Beau Wicker

— Logansport’s boys basketball team gets another shot at Marion in the first game of the Class 4A Kokomo Sectional at 6 o’clock tonight at Memorial Gym.

The Berries (12-7) can only hope to fare better than they did against the Giants (17-4) about seven weeks ago in a 98-64 loss at Bill Green Athletic Arena.

Mr. Basketball candidate and Indiana-bound James Blackmon Jr. scored 40 points in that game for the Giants and is averaging 33.5 points per game on the season. The 6-foot-3 sharpshooter has made 73 3-pointers on the season at a 46.5-percent clip.

“That’s going to be a super tall task for us,” Logan coach Pat Skaggs said of the matchup. “We know we have to play a super game to compete with those guys. But we don’t have anything to lose. There shouldn’t be any pressure on us. Kokomo’s an awesome gym and hopefully our guys will go over there and relax and give everything they’ve got for 32 minutes.”

The Berries are coming off back-to-back wins over Winamac and Rochester to close out their regular season.

The Berries are a high-scoring bunch, averaging 73.3 ppg, which is fifth in Class 4A. They’re facing a Giants team that leads Class 4A in scoring at 80.3 ppg.

Logan is led by 6-5 junior Carter Skaggs, who is averaging 20.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He’s made 49 3-pointers at a 36.6-percent clip and shoots 79.7 percent from the foul line.

The Berries have three other players averaging in double figures, freshman Matt Jennings (13.6 ppg), senior Andrew Wamsley (11.6 ppg) and junior A.J. Smith (10.6 ppg). Wamsley adds 6.7 rebounds per contest. Jennings is 30 for 70 on the season from 3-point range (42.9 percent).

Vijay Blackmon averages 12.5 ppg for the Giants, who enter on an eight-game win streak. Alec Turner scores 10.0 ppg, Reggie Jones is at 8.8 ppg and Cor’nell Wingate adds 6.5 ppg and a team-high 6.3 rpg.

The winner of tonight’s game faces Kokomo (14-7) in the earlier game on Friday. Tonight’s second game pits Harrison (6-15) vs. Lafayette Jeff (5-16), with the winner facing McCutcheon (15-5) in the second semifinal on Friday.

Marion, Kokomo and McCutcheon enter as the sectional favorites. Kokomo is the three-time defending champ.

Class 2A Manchester Sectional

No. 7-ranked Lewis Cass (17-2) enters as the sectional favorite.

The Kings are seeking their first sectional title since they went back-to-back in 2006 and 2007.

Cass faces Wabash (9-11) at 6 p.m. Wednesday to open sectional play.

The Kings handily defeated the Apaches 73-53 on Feb. 15 at Wabash.

Cass coach Jon Kitchel said he hopes his team does not repeat the history of last season against Wabash.

“We have to have a long memory about this game. Last year we beat them by 19 during the regular season and then got beat by them [83-77] in the first game of the sectional,” he said. “We’re taking this game very seriously.”

The Apaches are led by 6-5 senior Roger Davis (13.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg).

“Their big guy caused us some problems early,” Kitchel said. “We’ve played Tipton and Carroll recently, big teams, and we’re a better post defensive team than we were the first time we played them.”

The Kings are also a better shooting team than they were a year ago. They’re shooting over 50 percent from 2, 36 percent from 3 and 70 percent from the foul line this season.

Senior guards Austin Keisling (18.0 ppg) and Blake Hadley (15.5 ppg) and sophomore guard Ryan Bixler (13.0 ppg) all average in double figures for Cass.

Manchester (15-5) faces Southwood (12-8) in the second game on Wednesday. The Cass-Wabash winner will face the winner of that game in the 7:30 p.m. game Friday.

Oak Hill (9-11) faces North Miami (3-17) tonight to open the sectional. The winner plays Northfield (7-13) in the first game Friday. The title game is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Northfield is the two-time defending champ.

Class 2A Rensselaer Sectional

Winamac (12-8) awaits tonight’s winner between Rensselaer (12-9) and Delphi (9-11) in the later game at 8:30 p.m. EST Friday.

North Judson (12-8) faces North Newton (2-18) in the 7 p.m. semifinal Friday. The final is at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Class A Caston Sectional

Caston and Pioneer both drew byes in sectional play this year.

North White (13-8) plays South Newton (5-13) at 6:30 p.m. tonight, with the winner playing Pioneer (3-17) in the 6:30 p.m. game Friday.

Tri-County (14-6) plays West Central (7-12) in the 8 p.m. game tonight, with the winner facing Caston (12-9) in the later game Friday. The final is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.