Rematches highlight opening night of ONB Classic boys’ basketball tourney

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In a strange quirk of the schedule, three of tonight’s first-round Old National Bank Classic boys’ basketball games are rematches of Friday’s regular-season games.

Central (6-4), which defeated visiting Bosse 82-78, will play at Bosse at 7:30. Harrison, which beat host North 65-62, will again play at North.

Castle (7-3), which defeated visiting Memorial 67-53, will play at Memorial (3-4). The pairings for the 15th annual tourney are selected by a blind draw.

“It’s not a secret that anybody in the (Southern Indiana Athletic) conference can beat other teams in the conference,” said Castle coach Brian Gibson. “If you’re not ready to play, you’re in trouble.”

Previously winless in league play, Central stunned Bosse behind Kourtlandt Martin’s 21 points. Stanley Duncan’s 3-pointer with five seconds left snapped a tie and lifted Harrison to victory in Friday’s game at North (6-3).

“We know the things we have to do to win by more than three points,” Duncan said. “We’ll go back and fix everything.”

Harrison coach Bryan Speer took a philosophical approach.

“You can’t do anything about what happened in the past,” Speer said. “All you can do is prepare for the next game. We’ll do our best to put ourselves in position to (advance) in the conference tournament. I’ve said it before. I think from top to bottom, we’re the best conference in the state. I really believe that.”

Harrison (10-0) is ranked No. 3 in Class 4A while Bosse (8-3) is No. 6 in 3A. Last year, Bosse beat Harrison on its home floor for the ONB Classic title. Speer said the secret to the Warriors’ success this season is group chemistry and depth.

Castle, which won the ONB Classic title in 2011, advanced to the 4A semistate last season.

“It will be exciting,” said Knights senior Blake Simmons of the ONB Classic. “There are great teams in the conference.”

In the girls’ tourney, Mater Dei is the defending champion. The Wildcats, who went on to win the Class 2A state championship, are 14-1 and ranked No. 1 in 2A this season. They will host Reitz (5-10) at 6 tonight in the first game of a girl-boy doubleheader.

“We know it will be hard,” said Mater Dei sophomore center Tori Schickel. “All the teams come out strong against us, but we’re used to that. We have to use this to get better (for postseason). It would be a good accomplishment if we can win it again.”

Mater Dei coach Steve Goans said the ONB Classic is a good measuring stick to prepare the Wildcats for postseason.

“The other bracket is a heck of a bracket,” Goans said. “The SIAC is a lot stronger than it was a year ago.”

Castle (12-3) and Bosse (11-4) lead the opposite bracket.
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