The middle of February means girls' sectional basketball time and a change in the status quo for boy's basketball schedules as well.
As the girls' sectional semifinals take over Friday evenings, boys' teams take the court on Thursday night for a full slate of action. That means that both Northview and Clay City will host contests tonight with the Eels taking on North Central and the Knights at home against Putnam County's South Putnam Eagles.
The Eels are riding a streak that has seen them win three-of-four games. They will be returning home for their first game since a win over Sullivan on Jan. 24. But their opponent will a North Central team that is sorely in need of a win after losses in two of their last three games.
North Central features Andy and Kyle Boyll who generally are a handful for most teams. The pair are a threat for double figures every night and join Chad Cornelius as a potent offensive threat.
Before dropping a decision to North Vermillion in their last game, Kyle Boyll led the T-Birds to a win over Union with 18 points while Cornelius added 14. Andy Boyll paced the balanced attack with six points, seven assists and 10 rebounds.
Both Boyll's have outside range and will provide some interesting defensive dilemmas for the Eels.
Though their record is just 8-7 overall this year, the Thunderbirds have beaten both Bloomfield and Eastern (Greene) who have defeated the Eels this season.
Clay City has already beaten North Central once this season back in the Greene County Tournament championship game, 63-48.
In that game, the Eels were able to get the Boyll's in early foul trouble and hold them to just a combined 21 points, over 20 below their average.
Elliott Booe and Matt Farmer combined for 35 points and 20 rebounds as the Eels picked up their first championship in over 10 years. Landon Wellman added another 11 points as five Eels scored seven or more points.
The Eels will need another balanced game and a tough defensive effort versus what should be a revenge minded North Central squad.
In the other Clay County contest, the Northview Knights return home after a tough 82-76 loss to the Plainfield Quakers last Saturday evening.
They will face the visiting South Putnam Eagles who have won three games in a row under new coach Kyle Brewer who has led his team to nine wins this year after just four last season.
South is led by a senior dominated lineup featuring sharpshooter's Kole Ames and Adam Flora who each approach double digit scoring.
Inside the Eagles have the sophomore duo of 6'4 Sam Beasor and 6'5 Kyle Roberts who give South muscle on the interior, a characteristic that has been especially pesky for the Knights lately.
Northview has had defensive problems lately against teams that can penetrate and drive the basketball to the hoop.
The Knights have given up an average of 75 points a game over their last four contests after allowing just 58 per game over their first nine games. On the plus side is that they have retained their winning ways by keeping the scoreboard operator busy to the tune of 81 points a game over the last five contests.
Guards Logan Whitman and Josh Timm have been scoring in bunches of late.
Timm has had games of 13, 25 and 12 against Mooresville, Plainfield and Brown County while Whitman has averaged 28 over the last four. Zach Keyes had 31 versus Mooresville on Friday night and 14 versus Plainfield.
Scoring has not been the problem for the Knights, but defense has caused them problems in the second half of the season thus far. With just four regular season games left before a sectional that includes both teams that have beaten them (Plainfield and Terre Haute South) the Knights have to put the clamps on soon.
It's unlikely that South Putnam will try and run with Northview but could give them some trouble inside and in the halfcourt. The Eagles will likely try to control the tempo of the game which will go a long way in deciding how tough a contest this is for Northview.
Northview coach Mitch Lancaster has displayed a knack for turning his teams into a defensive nightmare for opponents so odds are that the Knights' ship will be righted in a hurry.
Tipoff for the Northview junior varsity game will be at 6:30 p.m. while the Eels will tip at 6 p.m.