Action in the longest running boys conference tournament in the state of Indiana will start tonight at four high school sites.
The 88th annual ACAC boys tournament and the 37th ACAC girls event will open play at Woodlan, Adams Central, Leo, and Heritage. The draw for the tournament was held back in December with South Adams picked to travel to Woodlan, Bluffton going to AC, Leo will host Southern Wells, and Garrett and Heritage will meet at the Patriots gym.
The boys game will be played first tonight at each site starting at 6 p.m. with the girls action at approximately 7:30 p.m. Semi-finals will be at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum with the boys going at on Wednesday and the girls on Thursday night. The championship tilts will be at 10 a.m. Saturday for the girls and noon for the boys, also at the Memorial Coliseum.
The top bracket appears to be the toughest, especially for the boys. Leo brings an unblemished 8-0 record to the tournament and is 3-0 against ACAC foes in regular season play to date. If they get past Southern Wells tonight, they will face the winner of the Adams Central-Bluffton Wednesday.
Leo scores early and often averaging 84.6 points a game on offense this year while allowing 66 on defense. They handed South Adams a near 40 point setback last Saturday night at the Stardome. The Lions are ranked ninth this week in the class 3A boys state poll.
Bluffton is 8-2 on the year and 3-0 in ACAC action but has usually found to have its hands full when battling Adams Central especially at the Hangar. Coach Aaron McClure's Jets are 6-3 to date and 3-0 in the conference.
Both Woodlan and South Adams have to be happy with the draw staying away from the ACAC powers in the bottom bracket. South Adams is 0-3 against ACAC teams this year but is 3-6 overall including a win over county rival Bellmont recently in non-conference play. Wins have been hard to come by for Woodlan this year with the boys owning a 1-9 slate, their only win coming over Eastside in their third game of the season.
Both the Warriors and Starfires have nearly similar scoring averages with South Adams being outscored by an average of 61.8 to 48.7 per game while Woodlan is on the short end of a 60.2 to 45.0 scale.
The other interesting lower bracket contest has Garrett at Heritage. Heritage is 2-1 in the ACAC and 4-5 for the year while Garrett is 1-2 and 4-5 respectively.
On paper, Garrett is the strong favorite to win the ACAC girls tournament as the Railroaders are 12-2 on the season and are perfect in ACAC play at 5-0. After starting the season out 10-0, Garrett lost two straight but rebounded with an huge 79-22 win over Bluffton recently. They shouldn't be challenged by a weak Heritage team that currently is 1-4 and 1-12 respectively.
Southern Wells has posted a 9-3 mark to date and is 4-1 in the conference (they will play Garrett in regular season play next week). Their opponent tonight, Leo, is the only other ACAC team that is over the .500 mark at 7-6 for the season.
With a home game against the 2-12 Bluffton Tigers, Adams Central is primed to move on to the Coliseum Thursday night. The Jets are 5-8 on the season and 2-3 in the conference.
Woodlan is 6-6 for the year and will entertain South Adams. The Starfires won their first game of the season against Daleville but have lost 11 straight since that contest.