Sectional Madness spreads to the Teepee

Staff Writer

     It's not March yet, but madness can still happen. Sectional basketball begins tonight at Bellmont High School. 

     Bellmont is the host of 3A Sectional 23, but won't play until Friday thanks to a first round bye. The first game tonight features Mississinewa and Norwell, with tipoff at 6 p.m. in the Teepee. Following that will be Bishop Luers vs. Heritage. The winner of game one will take on Marion Friday night, and the Braves will play the winner of the second game.


     Heritage and Marion each ended the regular season 15-7. The Patriots took second in the ACAC with a 5-1 conference record, and Marion tied Lafayette Jefferson at 7-2 in the North Central conference. Mississenwa went 12-9, Luers finished 4-17 and Bellmont's 14-8 season was the first winning year since 2004-05.


     Most of the teams playing at Bellmont have faced each other or have common opponents, but in some cases the records don't represent their wins. 

     Mississinewa lost to Norwell late in November 55-61. Of the common teams, Norwell has won 3-1 while Mississinewa went 2-2. Marion schooled Mississinewa 91-64, but haven't faced the Norwell Knights.  

     This is the game that could either way. Luers has the worst record in the bracket and on paper could look like an easy win for Heritage. However, it's points per game average is higher than the Patriots. It gets deeper still. Bellmont lost to Heritage 69-78. Bellmont beat Luers by one point last week. 44-43. Marion beat Bishop Luers by two points, 69-67. Norwell lost to Luers last week, 43-47. 

     Who would the Braves rather see? Due to the size and athleticism of Bellmont's starters, they match up better against the smaller Patriots. But when Bellmont went to Heritage earlier this year, they were unable to stop the outside shooters. Coach Jon Fuelling does not believe that the win over Luers saw the best of the Braves, so another shot at the team could go well for Bellmont.

     Marion and Bellmont haven't run into each other this year. Both teams lost to Bishop Dwenger, but Bellmont lost by three while Marion lost by nine. Marion averages 66.3 ppg, ahead of the Braves 52.6. The Giants lead the rebounds category, but Bellmont has a better shooting percentage. If these two teams meet in the finals, it will repeat the girls Sectional, where Andy Heim's Squaws lost to Marion in the finals. The Braves at home will look to avenge their sister team.


     Kade Fuelling hasn't been feeling like himself in the past few games and has been held to fewer points than usual, so if he gets the chance to drop over 20 points, he could be one of the top players in the tournament. Coach Fuelling said that Kade took a hard hip check against Bluffton, which affected the junior more than expected. By Friday, both Fuellings want to be at peak performance.

     Marion has Jalen Blackmon, a sophomore who averages 29.9 ppg, The 6'2 guard will surely demand attention.

     Jaydon Harris of Heritage likes to sit outside the perimeter and drain 3s, expect to see that happen some more. 

     Luers' Naylon Thompson comes in with 326 points on the season, behind Kade with 359, but both are heavily shaded by Blackmon's 597.


     Principals should inform all of the following tourney restrictions:

A.    No publications, brochures, fliers, etc. of any kind, whether for sale or free-of-charge, are to be distributed at IHSAA tournament events without prior approval from the IHSAA.

B.    Balloons, banners and/or posters, etc. are not permitted.

C.    Cowbells and other such noise devices, banners, shakers on sticks, signs, posters, etc., are not permitted.

D.    No live animal mascots are permitted.

E.     Line-up lanes of fans shall not be permitted on the playing floor at any time.

F.     Audio/video devices are not permitted on the playing floor.

G.    The throwing of articles, including toilet tissue, is not allowed.


It shall be the responsibility of each high school principal to see that the above restrictions are enforced.

*The use of high school pep bands at this IHSAA tourney is permitted.


Dates: February 26-March 2, 2019.

Admission: $6 per session; $10 all sessions.

Home Team: The second team listed in each game is the designated home team.

Official Basketball: The Wilson Evolution Wide Channel (B0516), the official ball of the IHSAA state tournament, will be provided for use at each host site.