The IHSAA State Tournament field has been dwindled down to just 64 teams. 16 teams per class will compete in Saturday’s Regional round that will look and feel a little different this year than in the past. Each site will…
The IHSAA State Tournament field has been dwindled down to just 64 teams. 16 teams per class will compete in Saturday’s Regional round that will look and feel a little different this year than in the past. Each site will have four teams from the same class and will play two separate regional championship games. This is in contrast to what used to be the Regional semifinals in the morning following by the Regional final in the evening. Now, we will play a one game Regional followed by a two game Semi-State the following weekend. Also, pairings will be made by random draw and announced via IHSAAtv.org on Sunday, March 12th at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (the day after the regional championship games). Now, let’s dive on in to previewing our two “southern” Class 4A Regionals at Southport and Seymour.
The Matchups: New Palestine (23-2) vs. Brownsburg (20-4) @ 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time followed by Cathedral (19-5) vs. Ben Davis (29-0)
Players to Watch: Ian Stephens Ian Stephens 6'6" | PF New Palestine | 2023 State IN (New Palestine H.S. 2023), Kanon Catchings Kanon Catchings 6'6" | SF Brownsburg | 2024 State #134 Nation IN (Brownsburg H.S. 2024 – Purdue), Xavier Booker Xavier Booker 6'11" | PF Cathedral | 2023 State #4 Nation IN (Cathedral H.S. 2023 – Cathedral), Jaron Tibbs Jaron Tibbs 6'4" | SF Cathedral | 2023 State IN (Cathedral H.S. 2023 – Purdue Football), Jake Davis Jake Davis 6'6" | SF Cathedral | 2023 State IN (Cathedral H.S. 2023 – Mercer), Zane Doughy (Ben Davis H.S. 2023 – Valparaiso), Sheridan Sharp Sheridan Sharp 6'2" | PG Ben Davis | 2023 State IN (Ben Davis H.S. 2023 – Nicholls State), Clay Butler Clay Butler 5'11" | PG Ben Davis | 2023 State IN (Ben Davis H.S. 2023 – Lincoln), K.J. Windham K.J. Windham 6'2" | PG Ben Davis | 2024 State #136 Nation IN (Ben Davis H.S. 2024)
Game 1 Analysis: In the first game at the historic Southport Fieldhouse fans will be treated to a matchup featuring two 20-win teams featuring #9 ranked Brownsburg and New Palestine. The Bulldogs had spent most of the season in the state’s Top 5 before dropping back-to-back games in late February. However, they got back on track rolling through Sectional 12 led by highly touted junior wing Kanon Catchings Kanon Catchings 6'6" | SF Brownsburg | 2024 State #134 Nation IN . Unsigned senior guard Elhadj Diallo Elhadj Diallo 6'2" | SG Brownsburg | 2023 State IN has been fantastic as well earning himself a couple of recent NAIA offers. The one-two punch of Catchings and Diallo makes the Bulldogs as dangerous as anyone in the state. As for New Palestine, they have a talented one-two punch of their own with 6’6″ senior forward Ian Stephens Ian Stephens 6'6" | PF New Palestine | 2023 State IN and 5’10” senior point guard Blaine Nunnally Blaine Nunnally 5'10" | PG New Palestine | 2023 State IN . Nunnally is the leading scorer averaging 17.5 points and dishing out 5.2 assists per game while Stephens contributes 15.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. A talented sophomore class featuring Ben Slagley Ben Slagley 6'3" | PF New Palestine | 2025 IN , Julius Gizzi Julius Gizzi 6'3" | SG New Palestine | 2025 IN , and Moses Haynes Moses Haynes 5'9" | PG New Palestine | 2025 IN provides some additional depth for the Dragons. This should be a pretty evenly matched contest, but the top end talent of Catchings and Diallo will be tough for New Pal to handle.
Game 2 Analysis: It is unfortunate that these two teams have to face-off this early in the state tournament. However, that is how things go in the state of Indiana. Ben Davis enters as one of the most dominate teams we have seen in the state in several years. They are a perfect 29-0 having already defeated #2 Penn, #4 Kokomo, and #5 Cathedral by 12, 7, and 12 points respectively. 6’9″ center Zane Doughty Zane Doughty 6'9" | C Ben Davis | 2023 State IN is the anchor to everything the Giants do averaging an impressive 13.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game. However, the backcourt depth and talent is what really separates the Giants from everyone else. The three-headed monster of Clay Butler Clay Butler 5'11" | PG Ben Davis | 2023 State IN , Sheridan Sharp Sheridan Sharp 6'2" | PG Ben Davis | 2023 State IN e, and K.J. Windham K.J. Windham 6'2" | PG Ben Davis | 2024 State #136 Nation IN have so much firepower and any one of them can beat you on a given night. Then, you mix in X-Factor guys like Shaun Arnold Shaun Arnold 6'5" | PF Ben Davis | 2023 State IN , Mark Zackery Mark Zackery 6'0" | PG Ben Davis | 2025 State IN , and Mark White Mark White 6'2" Ben Davis | 2024 IN and you create one of the best teams we have seen in recent Indiana High School Basketball history. For Ben Davis to continue their perfect season though they will have to go through defending Class 4A state champion Cathedral. The Irish feature 5-star forward Xavier Booker Xavier Booker 6'11" | PF Cathedral | 2023 State #4 Nation IN alongside Jaron Tibbs Jaron Tibbs 6'4" | SF Cathedral | 2023 State IN and Jake Davis Jake Davis 6'6" | SF Cathedral | 2023 State IN forming an incredibly talented trio of Division I talent. This will be a heavyweight prizefight between two teams more than capable of cutting down the nets at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Predictions: Brownsburg over New Palestine, Ben Davis over Cathedral
The Matchups: Evansville Reitz (19-6) vs. Jennings County (23-2) @ 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time followed by Bloomington North (18-5) vs. Columbus North (17-8)
Players to Watch: Isaac Higgs Isaac Higgs 6'2" | PG Evansville Reitz | 2023 State IN (Evansville Reitz H.S. 2023 – Carnegie Mellon), Keegan Manowitz Keegan Manowitz 5'10" | PG Jennings County | 2023 State IN (Jennings County H.S. 2023), JaQualon Roberts JaQualon Roberts 6'8" | PF Bloomington North | 2023 State IN (Bloomington H.S. North 2023 – Vanderbilt), Cooper Horn Cooper Horn 6'2" | SG Columbus North | 2023 State IN (Columbus North H.S. 2023)
Game 1 Analysis: Two of the best will face-off in the first game of the Seymour Regional on Saturday evening. Evansville Reitz navigated their way through Sectional 16 defeating Castle, Evansville Central, and Jasper on their way to the title. This Panthers team has faced some hiccups throughout the season, but senior guard Isaac Higgs Isaac Higgs 6'2" | PG Evansville Reitz | 2023 State IN is playing at a very high level entering the Regional round while fellow seniors Jayden Sanders and Will Kirkland provide additional scoring depth. Super talented 6’6″ freshman Braylen Langley Braylen Langley 6'6" | SG Evansville Reitz | 2026 State IN is an X-Factor to watch as well. On the Jennings County sideline, they feature a talented trio in the backcourt that can really fill it up from beyond the arc. Unsigned senior point guard Keegan Manowitz Keegan Manowitz 5'10" | PG Jennings County | 2023 State IN leads the way averaging 14.8 points and 6.3 assists per game while connecting on 53 three-pointers at a 41% clip. Sophomore guard Carter Kent Carter Kent 5'11" | CG Jennings County | 2025 IN is the best shooter of the bunch having knocked in 71 three-pointers on 38% shooting while averaging 14.2 points. Finally, Owen Law adds 11.7 points per game and has connected on 41 three-pointers. You have to be ready to guard these guys from deep. Additionally, Jennings County has their own talented freshman in Parker Elmore Parker Elmore 6'4" | PF Jennings County | 2026 IN who has had a great season. These are two very evenly matched ball clubs.
Game 2 Analysis: It has been a season of runs for Bloomington North. The Cougars began the year losing three of their first six games before rattling off nine straight wins. Then, they lost back-to-back games by a combined eight points including an overtime loss before starting their current six game winning streak with a victory over Saturday’s opponent Columbus North. Bloomington North won that February 17th matchup 49-45. 6’7″ forward JaQualon Roberts JaQualon Roberts 6'8" | PF Bloomington North | 2023 State IN is the obvious player to watch for the Cougars. The future Vanderbilt Commodore averages 20.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game to lead the way. Talented sophomore Luke Lindeman Luke Lindeman 6'4" | SF Bloomington North | 2025 State IN and senior Dawan Daniels round out the double-figures scorers averaging 11.4 and 10.0 points per game respectively. As for the Bull Dogs of Columbus North, Cooper Horn Cooper Horn 6'2" | SG Columbus North | 2023 State IN averages a team-best 17.4 points per game. Fellow seniors Luke Harmon and Ty Ferguson Ty Ferguson 6'0" | PG Columbus North | 2023 IN provide some depth, but for the most part Columbus North is going to go as Horn goes.
Predictions: Jennings County over Evansville Reitz, Bloomington North over Columbus North