(Hanchett Hoops) South awaits winner of Bloomington North-Columbus East matchup


South’s Anthony Leal (3) dribbles downcourt.

Logan Hanchett, Sports Writer

It’s an absolute rarity for one school to dominate their regions in both football and basketball; however, that’s exactly what Bloomington South has done. Against the odds, South’s football team secured a fifth consecutive sectional championship this past fall. Now it’s the basketball team vying for five straight, but it won’t be easy. A challenging sectional in Columbus lays ahead for the 21-3 Panthers, where they’ll first play the winner of Bloomington North and Columbus East.


Bloomington North (13-7)

It’s been an interesting season for our crosstown rivals. The Cougars have looked exceptional at times, putting together two separate six game win streaks. But they’ve now dropped four consecutive matches as they head into the postseason; three of which were lost by less than three points.

North’s streakiness over the course of the season also exists in individual games. Those who watched the North-South game might remember their ability to close the margin very quickly. Athletic and youthful, North can be explosive at times but also vulnerable to lengthy scoring droughts.

Sophomore guard Isaac Vencel leads the Cougars in scoring with 13.9 points per game. Despite his age, Vencel is now a second year starter who plays with confidence and possesses solid mid-range game. Freshman point guard Nick Klaiber, who mostly scores from deep, joins Vencel in the backcourt.

Senior guard Tim Brewster can also be a threat: athletic and a good three point shooter. He averages 10.6 points and was key down the stretch the last time North faced Columbus East.

Down low, expect to see senior Chris Thomas (11.2 PPG) and freshman Aaron Steinfeldt. Thomas, who used to play for South, stands 6-foot-7 and is nearly as effective from three as he is in the paint. Steinfeldt also has solid size (at 6-foot-5) and has improved his game over the course of the year, mostly scoring through putbacks.

North has competed with some of the top teams in the state (Center Grove, Floyd Central and New Albany on the road) but failed to close those games out. They’ll have to do so if they want to win this strenuous sectional.


Columbus East (11-10)

Contrary to North’s situation, Columbus East is hitting their stride right in time for the postseason. The Olympians have won 5 of their last 6, albeit against weaker foes. They’re looking to win their first sectional since 1996.

Senior forward Matt Frost poses the biggest scoring threat. He’s often been depended upon this season to create offense, averaging 15.3 points per game.

Two sophomores play contributing roles on the team: Tyler Boyer and Jacob Pierce. Both scored 9 in the regular season outing versus North. Seniors Drew Johnson and Carson Whitehead have also been formidable in the starting five.

For the Olympians to win the sectional, it’ll take improved defense and a balanced scoring attack. Against sectional opponents, Columbus East has given up 78 (BHSN), 77 (Shelbyville), 64 (BHSS), 62 (Columbus North) and 57 (East Central). Consistently giving up 60 or 70 plus won’t be enough for an Olympian offense that lacks a whole lot of star power.

Columbus East’s coach, Brett Chitty, is a former Bloomington South player and Bloomington North assistant coach. Chitty recently won his 300th career game.



South defeated both Bloomington North (70-61) and Columbus East (64-53) in the regular season. Since dropping their first two games, the Panthers have won 21 of their last 22 (the sole loss being to Zionsville 63 to 62 in OT).

South’s boys basketball team will play Fri. March 1 at 6 p.m. against the winner of Bloomington North-Columbus East.