By GREG MENGELT
High school coaches will tell you that nothing is more important to their programs than success in the tournament.
They’ll also tell you that one of the keys to a successful tournament run is finishing the regular season strong.
Here’s a look at some of the teams that are setting themselves up for good runs:
• Jeffersonville: Blowout wins over defending Kentucky state champion Trinity and Castle have to have Sectional 15 teams just a little worried.
• Christian Academy: All season, Warriors coach Steve Kerberg has been saying his team is better than its record. During their currently six-game winning streak, they’ve proved it.
• New Albany: The Bulldogs have won five straight and 9-of-10 and stand as the only team capable of challenging Jeff for the Seymour Sectional title.
• Borden: The home loss to Springs Valley appears to have been a fluke. A win over Clarksville should give the Braves confidence heading into the tournament.
• Silver Creek: The Dragons are a one-point loss to Corydon from entering the tournament on a seven-game winning streak.
• Providence: Second-half losses to Silver Creek and New Albany have to be concerning, but the Pioneers have won three straight and six of their last eight.
• Clarksville: Stumbles at Brownstown and Borden aside, the Generals have nine wins in their last 11 games heading into the tournament.
GAMES TO WATCH
GAME OF THE WEEKEND
CHARLESTOWN (11-8) at FLOYD CENTRAL (5-16), 7:30 p.m. Friday
• Series last 15 years: Floyd Central 8-2.
• Last year: Floyd Central 67, at Charlestown 48.
• Analysis: It was a nice win for Floyd Central over Jasper. It certainly won’t be easy, but Highlanders should enter the tournament on a winning streak.
• Greg’s Pick: Floyd Central 60, Charlestown 53.
NEW WASHINGTON (9-11) at PROVIDENCE (16-3), 7:30 p.m.
• Rankings: Providence — Class 2A No. 3 AP.
• Series last 15 years: Providence 13-2.
• Last year: Providence 62, at New Washington 30.
• Analysis: This is a really bad matchup for the Mustangs. Hopefully, it won’t hurt their confidence in the sectional.
• Greg’s Pick: Providence 63, New Washington 31.
BLOOMINGTON NORTH (11-8) at NEW ALBANY (13-6), 7:30 p.m.
• Series last 15 years: New Albany 7-1.
• Last year: New Albany 66, at Bloomington North 55.
• Analysis: You have to love the way New Albany is playing. The Bulldogs are moving the ball, finding the open man and knocking down shots. It will take a monumental performance, but they’re starting to believe they can beat Jeffersonville in the sectional.
• Greg’s Pick: New Albany 68, Bloomington North 54.
SILVER CREEK (8-11) at SEYMOUR (2-17), 7:30 p.m.
• Series last 15 years: Seymour 9-3.
• Last year: At Silver Creek 50, Seymour 45.
• Analysis: Drawing Brownstown in the first round of the sectional was a bummer for the Dragons, but the second half of this season should give them some serious momentum heading into 2013-14.
• Greg’s Pick: Silver Creek 54, Seymour 32.
ROCK CREEK (7-14) vs. CANNELTON (8-11), 2:30 p.m.
• Series last 15 years: Rock Creek 14-3.
• Last year: At Rock Creek 85, Cannelton 56.
• Analysis: The Lions have had some nice opportunities this year. First playing in the big tournament at Richmond. Now playing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Plus, playing Cannelton should give them an opportunity to end their five-game losing streak.
• Greg’s Pick: Rock Creek 70, Cannelton 55.
BORDEN (16-3) at SALEM (0-19), 7:30 p.m.
• Rankings: Borden — Class A No. 10 AP.
• Series last 15 years: Salem 16-8.
• Last year: At Borden 60, Salem 48.
• Analysis: As predicted at the beginning of the season, it has been a crazy year in Borden, epitomized by the last week. The Braves lost to 8-11 Springs Valley at home, then beat Class 2A No. 6 Clarksville on Friday. That’s a really nice win for a thriving program headed toward its fourth sectional championship in six years.
• Greg’s Pick: Borden 67, Salem 35.
SPRINGS VALLEY (8-11) at EASTERN (9-10), 7:30 p.m.
• Series last 15 years: Eastern 8-1.
• Last year: Eastern 61, at Springs Valley 47.
• Analysis: Springs Valley suddenly looks like a different team, but don’t expect the Blackhawks to win in Pekin.
• Greg’s Pick: Eastern 60, Springs Valley 55.
INDIANAPOLIS HERRON (10-9) at HENRYVILLE (0-19), 7:30 p.m.
• Series last 15 years: No meetings.
• Last year: Did not play.
• Analysis: It’s a shame the Hornets didn’t play the way it did against West Washington against Indianapolis International. They surely would have won. The records wouldn’t indicated it, but Henryville has a chance to win this one, too.
• Greg’s Pick: Herron 54, Henryville 49.
BOYS’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Darryl Baker, Jeffersonville
Baker is the News and Tribune Player of the Week for the fourth time this season after scoring 79 points in three wins last week. The Red Devil senior opened the week with a 29-point performance in Friday’s 68-51 win over defending Kentucky state champion Louisville Trinity. The next night Baker matched his career-high with 38 points in the Devils’ big 85-65 win at Castle. Then on Tuesday he added 12 more points as Jeff beat Charlestown 96-66.
Last Week’s Stars
• Aaron Hayes, Christian Academy: 15 points in Thursday’s 62-47 victory over North Bullitt; 20 points in Friday’s 67-52 win over Medora; 24 points in Monday’s 54-51 win at Trinity Lutheran; 27 points, 14 rebounds in Tuesday’s 68-54 win over Crothersville.
• DeVonta King, Christian Academy: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks in Thursday’s win over North Bullitt; 32 points, 12 rebounds in Friday’s win over Medora; 18 points in Monday’s victory over Trinity Lutheran; 14 points in Tuesday’s triumph over Crothersville.
• Aaron Daniel, Charlestown: 14 points in Friday’s 71-47 win over Salem; 24 points in Tuesday’s loss to Jeffersonville.
• Jeff Byrne, New Albany: 18 points on 6-of-7 3-pointers in Friday’s 58-49 win over Bedford North Lawrence; 12 points in Saturday’s 69-53 win over Arlington.
• Michael Lynch, Borden: team-high 17 points in Friday’s 56-55 overtime win over Clarksville; 9 points in Tuesday’s 45-32 win over West Washington.
• Calvin McEwen: game-high 22 points in Friday’s 56-55 overtime loss to Borden 13 points in Tuesday’s 84-34 win over Henryville.
• R.J. Jackson, Eastern: 21 points in 76-47 loss at Brownstown.
• Ian Hughes, New Washington, 21 points in Friday’s 55-54 loss at South Central.
• Drew Hussung, Floyd Central: 12 points in Friday’s 48-38 win over Jasper.
• Devin Burt, Rock Creek: 19 points in Friday’s 56-48 loss at Madison Shawe.
• Keenan Williams, Jeffersonville: 7 points in Friday’s 68-51 win over Trinity; 8 points in Saturday’s 85-65 win over Castle; career-high and game-high 28 points in Tuesday’s win over Charlestown.
• Tyler Collins, Henryville: 18 points in Friday’s 46-39 loss to West Washington; 20 points in Tuesday’s loss to Clarksville.
• Gabe Bauer, Silver Creek: team-high 14 points in Friday’s 35-34 loss to Corydon Central.
BOYS’ POWER POLL
Team Record Last
1. Jeffersonville 19-3 1
2. Providence 16-3 2
3. Borden 16-3 5
4. New Albany 13-6 4
5. Clarksville 15-5 3
6. Charlestown 11-8 6
7. Eastern 9-10 7
8. Silver Creek 8-11 8
9. Christian Academy 11-9 10
10. Floyd Central 5-16 —
Note on the Power Poll: The power polls aren’t based solely on which teams would beat which. Factors like team records and how they are expected to perform in their respective class sectionals are also taken into account.