Andy Amey: Reunions? We have several of them

Mar. 8—The late, great Carl Jones used to say he thought the regional round of the Indiana state tournaments for high school basketball was the best one because it matched teams from the same locale who knew each other well.

That was before class basketball, of course, and before the changes that came about as a result — and before that girls regional game between North Vermillion and Rising Sun, whose proximity (sarcasm alert) has for some reason not resulted in a continuing rivalry between the Falcons and the Shiners.

For most of the five boys teams from the Wabash Valley who are competing Saturday, however, this weekend will be a reunion of sorts.

For Sullivan coach Jeff Moore, it's almost a family reunion. After graduating from Scottsburg High School, his first coaching job was as junior varsity coach at Brownstown Central, where one of his players was David Benter.

Jeff moved on to coach the Golden Arrows, but Benter stayed in his hometown. He's the coach of the top-ranked Brownstown team that faces Sullivan on Saturday at Washington, and his son Jack is his star player.

"I still have some very good friends in Brownstown and it's the place I started my career," Moore said this week. "I was the JV basketball coach and science teacher, my first and only other job besides Sullivan. I coached Dave Benter at Brownstown and had both him and his wife in class.

"Great coach and a great family."

Benter's Braves have had state-championship aspirations for at least three years now — even when they were a 3A team competing against the Western Indiana Conference teams in sectionals as recently as two years ago — and were thwarted in the semistate last year by Linton and in a 3A regional by eventual state champion Beech Grove in 2022.

Sullivan was a 3A team in 2022 as well, and the Arrows took Beech Grove to overtime in the semistate (also at Washington, like Saturday's game will be).

Moore describes Brownstown as a "very good team, maybe a top-10 team regardless of class. Jack is going to Purdue and is a candidate for Mr. Basketball. It will be a very tough challenge."

Don't send the sympathy cards his way yet, however. Sullivan had the worst possible draw at the Paoli Sectional and won it, and two years ago the Arrows might have been state champions had 5-10 power forward Luke Adams not been one of the Sullivan players who fouled out against Beech Grove. I mention the number because Sullivan was the smaller team then and will be the smaller team Saturday afternoon. My guess is that the Sullivan players will take a "so what" attitude about those facts, just as they did in 2022.

Parke Heritage's reunion against Northeastern's Knights in a game at Martinsville isn't exactly a reunion, coach Rich Schelsky of the Wolves pointed out, even though the Wolves beat the Knights 58-48 in a regional game last year at a different site.

"A somewhat unique situation with us playing Northeastern in back-to-back years," Schelsky said. "Hats off to coach [Brent] Ross and his staff for the job they've done with this team. They graduated five key seniors from last year and here they are again.

"They're a typical Northeastern team: tough and aggressive on defense and pretty disciplined offensively," the coach continued. "They can really shoot it. We can't let them get going from [3-point range] and the big guy [6-3 Samuel White] is a load in the paint and on the glass. We will have to handle whatever pressure they throw at us, and defensively we need to guard like we have most of the season. It should be a great regional game."

Northview's reunion at Lebanon with Danville, for quite a while the top-ranked team in Class 3A, was addressed in Friday's Tribune-Star, with coach Shawn Nevill's Knights looking to reverse a loss at Danville a month ago — a loss that may have spurred Northview to finish the season on an impressive run.

Clay City is playing the 1 p.m. opener Saturday at Washington, which spoiled a possible reunion for the Eels. Jeff Bell, a former coach, athletic director and principal at Clay City, has returned to his hometown as the principal at Martinsville and was hoping to see the Eels in his gym. "He was pretty disappointed when he found out we wouldn't be coming there this week," coach Chris Ames of the Eels said.

Try as I might, however, I couldn't find a reunion scenario for North Vermillion, which plays Fort Wayne Canterbury at 1 p.m. at Frankfort. The Cavaliers had their leading scorer back from last year and complemented him with a handful of transfers from Class 4A school Homestead, including 6-7 post Tucker Day.

But the Falcons, who have won 15 games after winning just 19 in their four previous seasons, are playing with house money right now. And as the only public school among the four competing at Frankfort, they might have the biggest fan following to cheer them on.

—Schedule note — There are 16 regional sites on Saturday and two teams will be playing at home: North Judson and Southridge.

Therefore two teams (Gary 21st Century and Evansville Bosse) are playing road games for the right to advance. Those two teams are similar demographically.

Could be a coincidence, except that I grew up in The Region and attended the 1972 state championship game at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

And I'm skeptical.

Saturday's regionals

At Michigan City

Class 4A — East Chicago Central (22-4) vs. Mishawaka (19-7), 5 p.m.

Class 4A — Warsaw (19-5) vs. Crown Point (19-5), 8 p.m.

At Logansport

Class 3A — Peru(15-10) vs. West Lafayette (19-6), 1 p.m.

Class 4A — Fort Wayne North (19-8) vs. Fort Wayne Wayne (21-3), 4 p.m.

At South Bend Washington

Class A — Marquette Catholic (11-15) vs. DeMotte Christian (19-7), 4 p.m.

Class 3A — Glenn (13-13) vs. South Bend St. Joseph's (17-9), 7 p.m.

At New Castle

Class A — Seton Catholic (19-7) vs. Liberty Christian (16-9), 1 p.m.

Class 4A — Kokomo (25-3) vs. Fishers (25-1), 4 p.m.

At North Judson

Class A — Tri-County (14-11) vs. Elkhart Christian (16-9), 4 p.m.

Class 2A — North Judson (15-9) vs. Gary 21st Century (20-6), 7 p.m.

At Lapel

Class 2A — Wapahani (23-2) vs. Tipton (24-2), 1 p.m.

Class 3A — Delta (21-6) vs. Fort Wayne Concordia (14-12), 4 p.m.

At Triton

Class 2A — Wabash (20-5) vs. Westview (20-5), 4 p.m.

Class 3A — Hammond Bishop Noll (20-7) vs. Fairfield (19-6), 7 p.m.

At Frankfort

Class A — Fort Wayne Canterbury (15-9) vs. North Vermillion (15-10), 1 p.m.

Class 2A — Fort Wayne Blackhawk (20-6) vs. Lafayette Central Cathoic (17-8), 4 p.m.

At Southport

Class 4A — New Palestine (22-5) vs. Ben Davis (20-5), 4 p.m.

Class 4A — Franklin (18-4) vs. Center Grove (20-4), 7 p.m.

At Seymour

Class 2A — Switzerland County (15-10) vs. Forest Park (17-9), 1 p.m.

Class 3A — Batesville (20-5) vs. Scottsburg (21-5), 4 p.m.

At Lebanon

Class 2A — Irvington (16-9) vs. Park Tudor (19-5), 4 p.m.

Class 3A — Northview (14-11) vs. Danville (21-3), 7 p.m.

At Washington

Class A — Bethesda Christian (20-7) vs. Clay City (21-5), 1 p.m.

Class 2A — Sullivan (21-5) vs. Brownstown Central (24-4), 4 p.m.

At Greenfield-Central

Class 3A — Guerin Catholic (20-7) vs. Indianapolis Washington (14-12), 4 p.m.

Class 4A — Avon (15-10) vs. Lawrence North (24-3), 7 p.m.

At Southridge

Class 3A — Southridge (19-6) vs. Evansville Bosse (14-10), 1 p.m.

Class 4A — Jeffersonville (18-7) vs. Evansville Harrison (20-4), 4 p.m.

At Martinville

Class A — Oldenburg Academy (13-11) vs. Greenwood Christian (17-7), 4 p.m.

Class 2A — Parke Heritage (22-5) vs. Northeastern (18-7), 7 p.m.

At Loogootee

Class A — Christian Academy (22-4) vs. Barr-Reeve (23-2), 1 p.m.

Class A — Trinity Lutheran (14-11) vs. Evansville Christian (23-2), 4 p.m.

Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. at 812-231-4276 or 812-231-4277; by email at; or by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808. Follow TribStarAndy on the X.