Hounds Fend Off Rivals, Win Sectional Championship

Ashwin Prasad

As the reigning IHSAA State Champions, mired in a difficult Sectional bracket, the circumstances were ripe for an upset of the Carmel Greyhounds (18-7).

The rapidly maturing team, however, was more than up to the task. The Hounds outlasted the HSE Royals, Noblesville Millers, and Westfield Shamrocks in a span of four days to defend their Sectional title, setting them up for another deep run in the playoffs. In Regionals, the Hounds face the New Haven Bulldogs (18-6) in Logansport on Saturday.

The road was far from easy. On March 3, the Hounds fought past a Royals team which had beaten them by one point in February. This time, the Hounds built an early lead and held on to it, pouring in 19 points in the fourth quarter to hold off HSE 49-43.

The next opponent, despite their below-.500 record, proved an even bigger threat. The Hounds had barely beaten the Millers in double overtime in December, and due to the rotating venues for the playoffs, had to play Noblesville in their own building. A back-and-forth, nip-and-tuck contest saw sophomore small forward Peter Suder shoot just 4/12, and the Millers at one point hit six consecutive 3-pointers. With one minute to go, Noblesville held a 36-33 lead. After trading free throws, the Millers still held a 37-35 advantage with 30 seconds left.

The Hounds found a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and keep their repeat bid alive. Suder hit an and-one floater to tie the game, but missed a free throw. The Hounds battled for the rebound, and retained the ball with the possession arrow. Suder missed another floater, but the Hounds once again battled for the rebound and knocked the ball out of bounds off Noblesville with 6.3 seconds to go. Senior shooting guard Jackson Jannsen, who had been quiet all game, drove to the right elbow and swished a tough, twisting ten-foot fadeaway to win the game at the buzzer.

The Sectional Championship would run through Westfield, who were holding a superior record at the time. Junior small forward Brian Waddell, however, put on one of the finest performances of his career with a 26 point explosion, including nine crucial fourth quarter free throws and an emphatic dunk. Suder backed him up with 17, and the Hounds cruised 54-41.

ROAD TO BANKERS LIFE

Should the Hounds defeat New Haven, they will face the winner of Marion and Fort Wayne Snider in the Regional Championship on the same day. Afterward, they will take on the Regional Champion from Michigan City in Semi-State, with a spot in the March 28 State Championship game at stake.

 

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