March 1, 2013

No. 4 Pioneer eyes 4th straight sectional title

Logansport faces 14-win McCutcheon in semifinal.

by Beau Wicker

— Pioneer’s boys basketball team entered the Class A West Central Sectional as the favorite.

Now with Caston and Tri-County out of the way, the No. 4-ranked Panthers are the huge favorite.

Pioneer knocked off Caston on Tuesday on the strength of a career game by Brandon Scruggs. Later that night, West Central stunned Tri-County in overtime.

Pioneer (18-3), which is seeking its fourth straight sectional title, faces North White (10-11) at 6 p.m. tonight. West Central (6-15) faces South Newton (2-17) in the later semifinal.

The Panthers knocked off the Vikings 71-56 on Feb. 1.

“North White outplayed us in the first half over there at their place. We finally got on track in the second half with better ball movement and we played smarter,” Pioneer coach Pat Skaggs said. “North White is athletic and definitely has guys that can score.”

Scruggs had 36 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in the 67-44 win over Caston. He was 8 of 12 from 3-point range.

Carter Skaggs had 18 points in the win and averages nearly 20 on the season. Matt Dorris posted eight points. Mitchell Williams had just two points but added 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Lafayette Jeff Sectional

Logansport (12-8) will face McCutcheon (14-8) in the 7:45 p.m. semifinal tonight. Class 4A No. 8 Kokomo (20-2) faces Lafayette Jeff (7-14) in the earlier semifinal.

The Berries won at McCutcheon 44-41 on Dec. 15.

The Mavericks defeated Harrison 64-57 on Tuesday to advance.

“Harrison had a few opportunities there,” Logan coach Mark Victor said. “They’re pretty balanced with [Trevor] Lockwood, [Nathan] Acree and [Tre’Shon] Heard. It’ll be a good test. We were able to get them before Christmas. They’ve improved a lot and are playing well. They had freshman [Darnell Butler] in their starting lineup the other night.

“They’re got a lot of weapons, and they’re really solid defensively. They’re holding teams to 48 points per game and scoring 60. The last time we played them we did a real nice job defensively. Lockwood got away a little bit. But we did a nice job moving the ball and working side to side and Antonio [Penny] did a great job setting people up in the right spots. Hopefully we’ll have that same sort of thing.”

Penny is averaging 20.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.2 steals per game to lead the Berries, who enter on a three-game winning streak. Jayson Higgins is averaging 15.2 ppg and has canned 74 3-pointers and is shooting 45.4 percent from beyond the arc. Bo Bullard adds 7.6 ppg and 4.7 rpg.

Winamac Sectional

Winamac is coming off a 21-point thumping of North Judson on Wednesday night.

The Warriors (9-12) face Hebron (9-10) at 6:30 p.m. tonight. Rochester (7-14) faces Boone Grove (12-8) in the later semifinal.

Hebron is the defending sectional champion. But the Hawks enter sectional play having lost three games in a row and five of six.

“They’ve got really good scorers in Kyle Joyce and Spencer Sheets,” Winamac coach Kyle Johnson said. “They play about seven deep. They’re very similar to Judson.”