Drawings for the 89th annual boys and 38th annual girls ACAC basketball tournament were revealed Thursday afternoon in a meeting of conference coaches and athletic directors held at the Back 40 Restaurant in Decatur.
ACAC president Steve Rhoades, athletic director at Garrett, noted the ACAC boy’s event is the longest running conference tournament in the state of Indiana and thanked the numerous corporate sponsors including the orthopaedic group ONE in Fort Wayne for their generous assistance in putting the tournament on.
“Without them, we couldn’t afford the cost of running this tournament,” Rhoades noted.
Coaches of the two winning ACAC teams from 2011 drew the bids with Leo boys coach Cary Cogdell and Garrett girls mentor Bob Lapadot doing the honors. The tension drew as it came down to the final game as both Leo and Garrett remained with only the home school to be determined. As luck would have it for Garrett, Leo was drawn as the home team continuing the so-called Garrett curse.
Garrett has never hosted a game in the ACAC tournament since they joined the group about eight years ago.
Closer to home, Adams Central received one of the four home dates in the tournament slated to begin on Tuesday, January 10. The Jets will battle Heritage with the girl’s game at 6 p.m. and the boys tilt at 7:30 p.m. South Adams was not quite as fortunate as they will travel to Woodlan. The other game determined was to have both Wells County teams battling it out with Bluffton going to Southern Wells.
After playing the first round at the four individual schools, semi-final action and the ACAC finals will be staged at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The girl’s semi-finals are slated for Wednesday, January 11 at 6 and 7:30 p.m. while their championship game will be at 10 a.m. Saturday. The boys will have their semi-finals date at the Coliseum on Thursday, January 12 at 6 and 7:30 p.m. with their title contest at noon on Saturday.
With the way the ACAC girls schedule is lined up, most ACAC teams will have already played each other once before the tournament, a fact most coaches feel is to their advantage, especially if they were on the losing end since it’s given them a chance to see their opponents.
The boys side looks to be just as exciting with AC, Leo, and Bluffton as the early favorites.
The Flying Jets have a tough task with the Patriots of Heritage in front of them.
“Heritage has a good team and that’ll be a tough first round game,” AC coach Aaron McClure noted. “If we win that one we’ll see a good Bluffton team or maybe Southern Wells and that’ll be a good game. It was a pretty solid draw all around.”
That seemed to be the general consensus about the draw, at least for the boys coaches.
Storylines abound, however as the Jets and Tigers will likely see each other in the sectionals as well. Sprinkle in some Bishop Luers in the same sectional, as well as a hard to pin South Adams squad and you get a concoction of fantastic high school basketball action.
Look for Heritage to give AC a run for their money though, and, on the other side of the bracket, the winner of the Leo/Garrett contest will likely go on to the finals at the Colosseum on Saturday, January 14.
Finals prediction: AC 75, Garrett 59.
Girls’ final: Leo 62, Southern Wells 58.