Sectional 26 Preview: Golden Eagles a favorite to win

(NOTE: The preview article was accidentally truncated in Monday’s print edition of The Times. Here’s the full preview)

If you ask most coaches and observers, Guerin Catholic and Brebeuf Jesuit are the favorites to win Class 3A’s Sectional 26, which starts Tuesday at Indianapolis Marshall.
But, Guerin coach Pete Smith knows there’s more than meets the eye with the five teams including talented squads and traditional rivals.
“I see our sectional being one of the best in 3A,” Smith said via email. “Only (Bishop) Chatard comes in with a losing record, and because they’re such big rivals of Brebeuf and ours they’ll fight and play extremely hard.”
If both No. 7 Brebeuf and No.3 Guerin advance, it would set up a much anticipated rematch. Guerin beat Brebeuf, 76-60, on Jan. 24.
“I am very happy with the way we have been playing lately,” Brebeuf coach Noah Haynes said via email. “(Guerin) caught us at a bad time and played really well. When we play with confidence, play within our roles, and take care of the ball, we are dangerous for any opponent.”
Smith agrees: “It will be a great challenge for us to play that well against them a second time.”
However, the Braves (14-5) might be without standout guard P.J. Thompson. Reports indicate he hurt his foot last week and he didn’t play in the regular season finale against Carmel. His status is “questionable,” Haynes said.
Guerin (18-3) has an important injury concern of its own with senior point guard Whit Rapp injuring his ankle last week. Rapp was limited in practice the rest of the week, but Smith said the ankle is “a lot better.”
But, before you pencil in Guerin or Brebeuf for the sectional championship, there are two other squads with winning records.
Indianapolis Herron is a surprising 18-4 going into the sectional
“The majority of the casual high school basketball fans haven’t even heard of us,” Herron coach Scott Adams said via email. “We have a talented team mostly made up of seniors and one of the top offenses in the state of Indiana capable of exchanging baskets with any team.”
Haynes agrees: “They are capable of shooting very well and they are very athletic.”
“They know how to win, no matter what their strength of schedule is,” Smith added.
One of Herron’s losses was to Indianapolis Marshall (13-8). The sectional host has played well at home, only losing twice.
“We are coming in with a chip on our shoulder, looking to protect our home court,” Marshall coach Aaron Sembly said via email. “This is the first time all year that we will have our full squad.”