We now know 2nd-ranked Guerin Catholic’s opponent Friday night in Class 3A’s Sectional 26.
If you ask Guerin coach Pete Smith, he would rather have known sooner rather than later.
“I don’t see (the bye) as a ‘big’ plus,” Smith said via email last week, noting that two other teams in the sectional (Bishop Chatard and Brebeuf Jesuit) have the same luxury.
“However, playing one less game is one less chance of one of our players getting injured in a game,”
Indianapolis Herron beat host Indianapolis Marshall, 83-78, Tuesday night to advance to the sectional semifinal.
Guerin beat Herron by twenty points in its season opener back on Dec. 3. The Archaens lost in a similar fashion three days later to Brebeuf. The squad then reeled off 12 straight wins, its only other loss came to Marshall Jan. 31.
“(We) know they’ve improved a great deal,” Smith said. “They are athletic, they’re confident, and they’re playing very good basketball.”
The charter school squad is led by second-year head coach Scott Adams. Herron is only in its fourth year of being eligible for the postseason. So, when Adams claims that the school is an unknown, it may not be a stretch.
Adams’ prescription for an upset: “(We need to) sell out defensively, work as a team and commit ourselves to rebounding and valuing possessions.”
Senior Cris Burrough has drawn praise from Smith on numerous occasions for staying on the block and not being tempted too much by the 3-point shot. Burrough is averaging 12.7 PPG since Guerin’s last loss, when they lost to Kentucky’s number one team, Louisville Ballard.
Smith thinks it’s also paying off for at least one teammate.
“That has allowed Matt Holba to play more on the perimeter and Matt’s productivity has been better,” Smith said of the 6-6 junior who’s averaging 15.1 points a contest, just behind senior Aaron Brennan’s 17.5.
When junior guard Matt Labus went down with a knee injury Jan. 4, it forced sophomore Christian Munson into the starting lineup. Munson has been solid, averaging 10.3 points a contest since his first start the following weekend against rival Bishop Chatard.
Labus returned from injury but is now coming off the bench.
“Both have thrived in those roles,” Smith said. “(Labus is) giving us a great lift and presence of the bench instead of starting, and I believe that’s made us better.”
There’s one stat that Smith points out somewhat proudly, but might not be a plus for Guerin. The Golden Eagles haven’t lost a home or away game all season.
Guerin lost on consecutive days (to Bloomington South and New Haven) at the Noblesville Tournament back in December. Smith points out that both losses were noon games. Its only other loss was to Ballard Jan. 11 at Louisville’s Freedom Hall. Those are all neutral floor losses.
But, Guerin would play the rest of the way on neutral floors. At least this Friday, they won’t be playing at noon.