SHOOTER: Previewing and predicting the boys sectional basketball lineup

Homestead boys basketball coach Chris Johnson and the Spartans are in search of their fifth straight Sectional title. (Photo by Dan Vance of

Shooter hates when basketball season ends. I hate it. Summer by the pond is good — the crickets flow for days. But basketball in the driveway on Memorial Day and travel tournaments aren’t quite like a Friday night in the gym.

RELATED: Boys basketball sectional schedule/results

But every year it comes. Every year we start sectional play with a lot of exceptional games and performances. And even though the end of my season means we will all have to listen to The Pigskin Prophet more again soon, the war of attrition of a high school basketball postseason is alluring. So here are Shooter’s picks for the area sectionals:


Sectional 5 at East Noble: It is a three horse race and one of those horses (East Noble) just got stung by some hornets, so it could come in a little sore. Shooter doesn’t hide that he loves North Side’s players, but their play at some points over the year has opened up some questions that big wins over the likes of Bishop Luers (snicker) won’t answer. The Legends will have to answer them in the thick of things at East Noble. Carroll, on the other side of the spectrum, has answered all questions about itself minus one: did it catch North Side on one of those bad nights? East Noble lost last week to Angola, but is still a threat as the host. SHOOTER SAYS: CARROLL BEATS NORTH SIDE IN SECTIONAL FINAL

Sectional 6 at Huntington North: Hell hath no fury like a Spartan scorned. A conference title was in their hands and then Carroll came to the gym. Homestead has done nearly everything right since a season-opening thrashing at the hands of Huntington North. But I don’t think the Spartans care about that anymore, they care about dealing with the athleticism of South Side and Wayne in potential matchups. If you are on upset alert, Shooter likes Asher Blum’s chances of making waves for South Side. But enough waves to crash the boat? SHOOTER SAYS: HOMESTEAD BEATS WAYNE IN SECTIONAL FINAL


Sectional 21 at NorthWood: If you look at Luke Stephens of Fairfield, you — like Shooter — probably have not seen a more unlikely prime scorer in your life. But he has been lethal throughout the year and the Falcons have developed around him with Shooter most intrigued by Peyton Faldoe. West Noble and host NorthWood also present some quality options in this sectional. SHOOTER SAYS: FAIRFIELD BEATS WEST NOBLE IN SECTIONAL FINAL

Sectional 22 at New Haven: Call this the sleeper sectional. The host team has the edge and that doesn’t surprise anyone. But look at all of the individual talent that has the chance to cause some rough passages through this bracket. Aaron Hahn at Woodlan, Braxton Meek at Angola, Lane Reed at Leo, Jadon Dance at Concordia Lutheran. Lesser appreciated players capable of taking over games. This is one of two sectionals that COULD potentially be wide open. But will it be? SHOOTER SAYS: NEW HAVEN BEATS LEO IN SECTIONAL FINAL

Sectional 23 at Norwell: Blackmons win championships. Jalen wants one and good luck stopping that. The likely sectional final comes Friday night when Marion should play host Norwell. Shooter (and Reggie Hayes) are quite fond of Will Geiger’s game this year where he has been a beastly double-double machine as just a sophomore. He will need a lot of help though as Marion is multi-faceted, even as a relatively young team themselves. Heritage also presents a unique challenge for any team in this sectional, especially if they want to get out and run up and down the court. The Patriots’ slow-it-down style has worked far more often than not this season and it is going to take a high powered offense to get that off track. SHOOTER SAYS: MARION BEATS HERITAGE IN SECTIONAL FINAL


Sectional 35 at Westview: Shooter thinks that most people take LaVille. Shooter also thinks most people don’t realize that 22-0 LaVille has the worst strength of schedule of anyone in this sectional. But 22-0 is 22-0 and I can respect that. Shooter likes Friday night in this sectional with possible LaVille and Westview (a combined 43-1) and then Whitko versus Central Noble. The Wildcats and Cougars have two big-time scorers in River West and Ridley Zolman and watching them trade shots would be fun. SHOOTER SAYS: WESTVIEW BEATS CENTRAL NOBLE IN SECTIONAL FINAL

Sectional 36 at South Adams: And here it is, the WIDE OPEN sectional. Each team could lay claim to having the chance to win this one in some way. For the emotional storyline, it would be great to see Canterbury send the Krieger family our of area hoops with a title. Player for player wise, Shooter really likes Adams Central. But since we are wide open, let’s pretend that this is an “upset special.” No team in this sectional has improved as much since the season opened because their young players have been able to grow. Brayton Bonar has become a double-double machine and a pair of freshmen in Zane Burke and Jackson Paul are now battled tested. SHOOTER SAYS CHURUBUSCO BEATS ADAMS CENTRAL IN SECTIONAL FINAL

Sectional 37 at Manchester: The host team was unfortunate to draw a senior-laden Oak Hill team in the first games of this sectional. Shooter really likes the brothers Hamby (senior Mason and freshman Weston) and the Squires have a great future ahead of them losing just two players in leading scorers Mason Hamby and Koehl Fluke. Draw this up as a great learning experience for the future. Eight senior Oak Hill did that to build for this year. SHOOTER SAYS: OAK HILL BEATS ROCHESTER IN SECTIONAL FINAL


Sectional 52 at Hamilton: You’d hear crickets if I hadn’t eaten them all. I could keep it simple but I don’t want to disrespect some of the talents elsewhere. Shooter wants to see Carter Gonzales of Lakewood Park and Justin Booker of Smith Academy. But this is Blackhawk Christian all day, all night. Focus or complacent, this sectional belongs to the Braves. Chances are, you won’t see a Blackhawk Christian team complacent. SHOOTER SAYS: BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN BEATS LAKEWOOD PARK IN SECTIONAL FINAL

Sectional 55 at Wes-Del: Southern Wells, the lone local team in this sectional just picked up a very big win against host Wes-Del. Unfortunately, the Raiders run into Daleville and senior Ryan Hale first. At 15.7 points and 11.2 rebounds per game the 6-foot-4 player is the best in this sectional. SHOOTER SAYS: DALEVILLE BEATS WES-DEL IN SECTIONAL FINAL

For more from Shooter, follow him on Twitter at shooter_ns