Hop on a Sectional bandwagon Your guide to postseason trends you want in on
Twelve area teams have already taken their final bow in the postseason with more cuts happening rapidly in the coming days.
So there is a chance that your team is probably already at home drinking their Yoo-hoo and dreaming of better days gone by. But don’t fret, if only 12 are gone, that means that there are plenty of other teams and players to hitch your wagon to whether it is for one night, one weekend or maybe (fingers crossed) a late postseason run. <br>
<center> Churubusco </center><br>
It took me a while to go all in on Churubusco. Too long if you ask Jalen Paul. No, seriously, get on Twitter and ask him, we haven’t been on speaking terms almost since he was in Canterbury blue. It was hard for Shooter to praise Paul’s new home in Turtle Town and not just because that turtle stole my last grasshopper for lunch the last time I visited Fulk Lake. The Eagles started 0-3, including an uninspiring loss to a surprisingly not-so-sharp Leo. They had good wins along the way, smacking around Woodlan and Angola, but their latest run has Shooter on full bandwagon alert. They have now won four in a row and seven of their last eight. I thought Shooter’s interest was piqued when they basically ended Hamilton’s program with a 113-61 shellacking after someone popped Paul in the nose.
But it was their three wins in a five-day stretch Feb. 14-18 that really made Shooter look at Paul, Dakota Barkley, Brayton Bonar, Luke Foote, Dean Stanley and the others much differently. They have some revenge games coming with both Woodlan and Eastside looming this weekend, wanting to get back losses to the Eagles. But Churubusco knows all about revenge and how it is a dish best served in eliminatory fashion after dispatching South Adams on Tuesday just 13 days after the Starfires had beaten them.
It sure has looked good lately for Churubusco, almost as good as Paul’s hair. Roll on, Busco, roll on. <br>
<center> Jacob Redding </center><br>
Last year, the Carroll captain had to have been right there in consideration as the area’s best. He had an enormous junior campaign that kind of sputtered out toward the end, leading to some disappointing finishes for the Chargers. This year, someone ate their Wheaties. Redding has had some of his best outputs of the season in the closing weeks, including 27 points Tuesday to rocket Carroll by a game East Noble squad. That game follows two 30-plus point outbreaks in wins over North Central and Huntington North. Even if Carroll isn’t your cup of tea, look to Redding to be one to cheer for; he will give you plenty of chances to do so. <br>
<center> North Side, duh </center><br>
Even though State Boulevard crickets are some of the blandest I’ve ever tried, Shooter can’t let the opportunity to praise North Side’s play pass. Yes, I know that I won’t change your mind. If you are a a RedLegendSkin, then you are all “yay North Side.” And if you like any other team, like at all, you are all like “boo North Side.” There is no more polarizing team than they are nor coach than Shabaz Khaliq is. But deny the fact that Keion Brooks Jr. is electric. I dare you. It is hard to scoff at a 22-2 record that may be better if South Bend Riley ever gives Davontae Kinnie his free throws. The Legends have rolled some tough competition and around the state are considered to have the best chance of a team from Fort Wayne make a run at a state title. Are they? Time will tell a better version of that story than Shooter can, but watching them attempt to will be enjoyable no matter what side of the gym you are on. <br>
<center> Homestead’s championship drive </center><br>
Shooter got quite comfy inside the confines of Banker’s Life Fieldhouse last weekend after hitching a ride in the undercarriage of Justin Kenny’s car. So cozy in fact that I made sure all of Twitter knew how much I expect to be back March 25 to see another local team follow in the footsteps on the Homestead girls. So what better team to do that than the Spartan boys? No pressure intended, but Shooter has high expectations every night for Brandon Durnell, Jack Ferguson and Parker Manges. As the rest of the team has developed over the year, the Homestead team that barely dressed enough guys to play on opening night of the season is now eight men deep consistently.
There are flashier teams, teams with easier roads in this postseason and, yes, I’ll say it: better teams. Don’t hit me, Durnell! But, if Shooter was told to put one area team up against anyone, I’d give Homestead the best chance because of their talent, depth and poise. We forget about the Spartans because they didn’t compete for or win a conference crown, but today they sit at 21-3. And Shooter saw two of those three losses, games with easily could have been Spartan wins had the ball bounced a different way or two. The other loss, a regular season game opposite North Side, was well in Homestead’s grasp. So you want a bandwagon to jump on? Head out to Wayne and hitch along to a team that could easily be 24-0 right now. <br>
<i> This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Shooter at firstname.lastname@example.org. </i>