Sectional Bracketology: Part II

Here are SSN’s predictions for Sectional 8 play following the final bracket drawing.

Welcome to the madness before march! Or as IHSAA has tagged it, “Hoosier Hysteria”. The 100 team bracket for the Indiana State 4A title (that’s right, one hundred) kicks off for the Hamilton Southeastern Royals today, February 28, when Sectional 8 play begins at Carmel. The results of each sectional bracket will narrow the 100 team bracket down to 16 champions; who will then fight for a trip to Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. There are many games to be played across the state this week, and many upsets to be had. Here is our best look at how we think the Sectional 8 bracket will play out and what you should look for in each game!

Round 1

Game 1: Carmel vs. Westfield

In our initial seedings of the Sectional 8 teams prior to the sectional drawing, a little over a week ago, the No. 1 Greyhounds found themselves at the top of the list and multiple places over the No. 4 Shamrocks. In addition to that, the previous matchup between these two on January 7th resulted in an 11 point 49-38 victory for Carmel. This game was yet another example of Carmel’s suffocating defensively play holding a typically high-scoring team to under 40 points. However, with the Shamrocks coming off a momentous stretch, winning 5 of their last 6 games and the exception being a double-overtime loss to University, there is still plenty of uncertainty in this game. However, with Carmel’s continuous grounding of many team’s offenses and their consistency throughout the year. The Greyhound’s will progress out of this game in our bracket.


Game 2: Hamilton SE vs. Fishers

The biggest cross-town rivalry in the state once-again finds themselves in a rematch to continue their tournament run this season. The Tigers led by Jalen Haralson met the Royals in the famed Mudsock game and came out with a victory in a 65-60 game. The Tigers led by much more than that at times throughout the game with the Royals leading an energetic run in the fourth quarter that just fell short. However, this game was played prior to the Holiday break and a lot has since changed. Fishers has lot 3 of their last 5 games, all 3 to tough opponents (Anderson, Cathedral, and North Central), but have bridged the gap with a major win of Zionsville. The Royals have also heated up over the last two weeks. Following a double-digit losing streak, Donovan Hamilton has heated up and the team along with him. Ending the season with many close games against some of the state’s top teams. This includes a win over Hoosier Crossroads Conference champion Brownsburg and a dominant performance against top 20 Southport. In a rather large High School venue at Carmel High school there is not doubt the place will be packed with students and fans alike. In an energetic venue, a major rivalry game, and the end of their season’s on the line. Both team will fight tooth and nail to come out on top. This will be an exciting game that you won’t want to miss! With that being said, frick the Red school. We believe the Royals will come out victorious.

Round 2

Game #3: Carmel vs. Noblesville

With Carmel moving on following a victory over Westfield they would meet the Noblesville Millers in round two. The Millers were the only sectional 8 team to beat the Greyhounds this regular season in a 45-42 early-December matchup. This game being in the first weeks of the season, however, means that much could have changed since. The Millers finished the regular season winning 5 of 6, losing by 6 points to Brownsburg. These were all high scoring victories as well; scoring over 60 in each victory. This is an interesting dynamic heading into this matchup. Noblesville’s high-volume offense versus Carmel’s unrelenting defense poses the question: which is more impactful? However, Noblesville’s high numbers may be misleading as it all seeming comes down to a single player for the Millers. In games that Luke Almodovar has scored less than his season average 17 points, Noblesville’s offense scores less than 50. With that trend, and Carmel being extremely successful in games where their opponent scores less than 50; all they would have to do is slow down Almodovar. With that, we believe that Carmel will continue their traditional defensive dominance and advance to the championship.


Game #4: Hamilton SE vs. Zionsville

The Zionsville Eagles are a dominant offensive squad that can beat you with their mobility, explosive shooting, and fast paced play. Led by one of the top players in the state, Logan Imes, Zionsville has been a force to be reckoned with. However, they also have some notable losses including a loss to Carmel in their season opener and a very recent loss to Fishers on February 17th. This isn’t to say that they are inconsistent by any means, all of their losses are from very competitive teams this post-season. In addition to that they have very strong wins such as their holiday break 48-41 win over Kokomo. From the Royals perspective, yet again it could come down to Donovan Hamilton’s play as well as Reph Stevenson’s ability to control the glass. If the Royals can control the paint and have an explosive night; there is no doubt they can give Zionsville a run. However, the Eagles have been too explosive this season to go against them. With that, we believe the Royal’s run will end here, and Zionsville will face Carmel in the Championship.

Championship: Zionsville vs. Carmel

The storyline we have seen for most of Carmel’s postseason run has been if their defense can stop an explosive offense. However, Zionsville takes a different approach to the game as compared to the rest of the sectional. They look to control the game. This is accomplished by moving the ball, only taking open shots, and controlling the pace on defense. This isn’t far off from Carmel’s style. So the question is: who can do it better? Our answer is Carmel. As can be seen in their matchup, given it was early in the season, Carmel was able to just barely edge out the Eagles. In addition to that, recent play shows Zionsville struggling with some opponents like Cathedral and Fishers when it comes to limiting their points. With all that in mind, Carmel is Southeastern Sports Networks Sectional 8 champion!

Story by Alex Boothby + Joe Karwowski