This week we will continue on with our early preview of the upcoming Indiana High School Basketball season. Last week we broke down the new IHSAA Sectional alignments and highlighted the top players in each class. Now, today, we will dive into the state title favorites in each class beginning with Class 3A. These are the five teams we believe have the best chance to cut down the nets at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Teams are listed in alphabetical order.
- Connersville: The Spartans had an untimely first round exit from last season’s state tournament. However, they bring back a lot of production and will look to accomplish their post season goals this time around. Connersville’s top two scorers from a year ago, and , are both back for their senior seasons. These two are among the best players in east central Indiana and are poised for big years. Additionally, we know that the Spartans are always going to be one of the best defensive teams in the state. Greensburg will still be a tough out in Sectional 29, but give me Connersville to advance and have a real shot at making it to Gainbridge Fieldhouse out of the south.
- Guerin Catholic: Guerin Catholic lost by two points to a senior-heavy Brebuef Jesuit team in Sectional 27 last season. Now, they’ve added Heritage Christian to the mix as well but the Golden Eagles should be the favorites to cut down the nets. Despite losing leading scorer Will Grissom to graduation, there is a lot of returning production here. Junior guard and senior wing are the top returners after averaging 9.5 and 8.7 points per game respectively. and will provide some experienced depth in the backcourt as well. Versatile wing came via transfer and should make an instant impact to the Guerin Catholic squad this season.
- Mishawaka Marian: After finishing as the Class 3A runner-up last season, senior point guard is back with his 17 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. Other key returners include , , and . It will likely be a toss-up with Culver Academy in the regional, just as it was last season when Marian won 39-38. However, the experience of already making it to Gainbridge Fieldhouse leads to giving the Knights a slight nod heading into the season.
- North Daviess: Fresh off a Class 1A state championship, North Daviess has made the jump all the way to Class 3A. After being moved up to 2A, they elected to compete up another classification. Heritage Hills will likely provide some resistance in Sectional 31, but there is certainly a realistic path for the Cougars to make it back to Gainbridge Fieldhouse as a 3A school. Oakland City commit highlights the returners after averaging 16.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. and were both starters as well averaging 9.2 and 8.7 points respectively. This team is out to prove they can compete at this level and certainly have the talent and experience to do so.
- NorthWood: The Panthers will arguably be the most complete Class 3A heading into this season. After a 25-3 season and regional final exit, NorthWood returns much of their core including Indiana Junior All-Star who averaged 19 points per game and shot 40% from three-point range on nearly 200 attempts. 6’6″ senior forward and 6’3″ elite athlete also return as key contributors from a year ago. Junior guard and 6’7″ sophomore are among the others who will contribute to a potential state championship run for NorthWood.
Other Early Potential Contenders: Culver Academy, Oak Hill, Scottsburg