By Rick Teverbaugh The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ALEXANDRIA — Not only would it be difficult to determine a favorite for the Alexandria boys basketball sectional, just picking a winner of any individual game is a challenge.
Tipton and Elwood are the only teams in the seven-team field with winning records and yet Alexandria was only one victory from joining that group.
The Blue Devils are 4-0 on the season against the other six teams, but they didn’t play Madison-Grant or Alexandria. One of those missing elements will be corrected Tuesday when the Tigers and Devils hook up at 7 p.m. in the sectional opener.
Both Alexandria coach Kyle Bloom and Elwood coach Landon Carroll have up-close contact with two of the state’s best all-time coaches. Carroll has been influenced by former Tigers coach Garth Cone and Bloom was part of the staff when Jimmie Howell coached Lapel to a state championship.
“Tipton wins it all the time it seems like,” said first-year coach Bloom. “They are used to winning. It is going to take a great defensive effort for us to win.”
But that isn’t out of the question for the 10-11 Tigers. “Defensively we are playing really well right now,” said Bloom. His team has won five of the last six games it has played. “I only had two players who didn’t play football. I think most of them hadn’t picked up a basketball since last year. They are football players and they didn’t have a (basketball) coach during the summer.”
Bloom views the field as wide open. “Tipton is very good,” he said. “Elwood beat Frankton. Madison-Grant (8-12) is dangerous when they get it going.”
The Panthers (12-9) are also guided by a first-year coach in Carroll. He expected his team might take a while to develop because of that.
“This is our seniors’ third coach in four years,” said Carroll. “I use a different offense and a different scheme. Our biggest improvement is that we are more consistent across the board. We’ve done a better job of scoring of late.”
He believes he knows some of the key ingredients it will take to get the title next weekend.
“I think the team that executes the game plan the best will have a good chance,” said Carroll. “The teams who can find their composure at the right time will be tough to beat. We rely heavily on three seniors and we hope that will pay dividends for us.”
Elwood waits until the second game on Wednesday to tangle with the Argylls. The winner of that game will play Friday against the winner of the Eastern vs. Sheridan contest that kicks off that evening’s schedule at 6 p.m. Taylor drew the bye and will play the other Friday semifinal against either Alexandria or Tipton.