DA REGION -- The Super Bowl is over. I was pleased with the outcome.
Patrick Mahomes showed us all how special of a quarterback he is. Something Bears general manager Ryan Pace seemed to miss a few years ago.
Thanks for that, pal.
The commercials were extremely expensive and mostly dull. Zzzzzzzzz. I heard funnier jokes in the living room I was chill’n in. How much money do these folks get paid? And where can I get an application?
The Halftime Show was musically good and the dancing was pretty good. I would have thrown a few “backfield in motion” flags at the stars on the stage, but that’s just me. I liked our culture a little better when everything wasn’t shoved in our faces every two seconds.
So now what do we do? Baseball doesn’t start for a couple of weeks and the NCAA basketball tournament is a month away. I have a suggestion. Take in some Hoosier Her-steria this week as the IHSAA’s 45th annual girls basketball state tournament tips off on Tuesday night.
The young ladies work extremely hard every day to be the best they can be. They learn to be the best teammates possible. This week is a celebration of our future and we should all take in some games with a little popcorn.
So here are your winners, folks. I have looked into the crystal ball and believe I know who will win at each local site.
Morgan Twp. Sectional: The host Cherokees are the best team in the field and got a good draw. They’ve beaten a solid Kouts team twice and should do it again. Playing in the home gym helps the cause. Morgan will win.
Culver Sectional: I don’t know. It’s too far away.
Whiting Sectional: This field should be fun. Buy a pierogi and get ready for some great players and teams. Bishop Noll’s Courtney Blakely is the best of the bunch. This point guard can fill it up from almost anywhere, just like her mama -- Angela Hamblin, who starred at Lew Wallace and Iowa.
Lake Station’s Taylor Austin is also very talented. And you better bring three pencils if you’re keeping the book. But my pick is the Andrean 59ers. A little more team depth will help. Playing a tougher schedule, too.
Hebron Sectional: There are five teams with winning records here, all very capable squads. While I haven’t seen North Judson play yet, being ranked No. 9 in the state gives me enough info to put the Blue Jays at the top of the heap. Keep an eye out for South Central on the other side of the bracket.
Calumet Sectional: This wonderful old gymnasium has two teams on opposite sides of the bracket aiming to get the Lombardi Trophy. Griffith on one side and Lighthouse on the other. Dustin Nelson has done a phenomenal job with the Panthers, while Tim Mays has a lot of talent.
Talent usually beats teamwork so I’m going to pick Lighthouse. Nervously.
Knox Sectional: Since I have a rooting interest in this one I won’t say much. Other than this is the most geographically dysfunctional sectional in Indiana. Two Lake County teams -- Hanover Central and River Forest -- along with Wheeler, which is almost in Lake, make the extremely long drive to Knox. It’s 95 miles, round trip, from Cedar Lake to Knox.
Kankakee Valley and Knox are the favorites, in that order.
Lake Central Sectional: This is tough, like trying to run the ball against the 49ers. Munster (19-5) opens against West Side, then would likely play Merrillville (15-9) in Game 2. While
Lake Central (14-10) must beat Highland and East Chicago to get to Saturday night.
The games will be tight and the crowd should be rocking. I will pick Munster, but it will not be easy. It never is in Sectional 1.
Portage Sectional: And this one is even tougher, like trying to stop the Chiefs from scoring in the fourth quarter. Six of the seven teams have 10 wins or more, but only Crown Point is 24-0. The second-ranked Bulldogs are the best team in the Region. Chris Seibert’s team is the one to beat and no one will be able to do it.
C.P. will get back to the semistate again, but I do not know if they can get over the Indy hump. I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Like many other parents out there, I have a senior daughter playing her last sectional. Like all of you there is a sadness seeing it eventually end. So be filled with pride and joy -- no matter where all these girls are in the pecking order -- and cheer them all on this week.
It will be better than watching the commercials this past Sunday.