The minefield that is Sectional 59 continues on Friday night at Clay City High School as the host Eels tipoff at 6 p.m. versus the Bloomfield Cardinals followed by the bye bracket game between White River Valley and North Central.
The Class A No. 2 Eels get the unsavory job of knocking off the No. 8 Cardinals just to get to the title game of the sectional where they could face the No. 15 Wolverines or the Thunderbirds who have a great deal of talent as well.
But first up, the Eels have to gain a measure of revenge against one of the only four teams to defeat them this season.
The Cardinals downed Clay City back on Dec. 13 by a score of 47-42.
In that game, Bloomfield had a balanced offensive effort from their team. Five players had seven or more points in the victory for the Cardinals.
Junior Corey Sparks joined Jon Neil with 12 points apiece while Dustin Haywood added seven, Nathan O'Neall added eight and J.D. Wells also had eight.
The Cardinals capitalized at the free throw line where they shot 15 more charity tosses than the Eels. Bloomfield hit 17-of-25 while Clay City got just 10 tosses and hit eight.
A bigger factor in that game was at the center position for Clay City where 6'4 Matt Farmer was held scoreless and took just one shot in the game. However, he has been a force of late for the Eels.
Farmer has averaged 19.2 points a game over the final four games of the regular season and the first game of sectional play for the Eels who are currently on a seven-game winning streak. Leading scorer Elliott Booe has stayed steady with 19 points a game in the past three contests after a season low six versus West Vigo back on Feb. 21.
That contest marked one of Farmer's career best games when he poured in 27 points and double digit rebounds in about three quarters of action.
The Eels will certainly need his presence on both ends of the court against Bloomfield's 6'4 center Jon Neil who got to the line eight times in the last game.
Clay City will need to keep getting a balanced offensive output from Roger Harden who has averaged double digits over the last four games along with Landon Wellman and Camrand Tucker.
Harden had 11 points in the first meeting while Wellman had five and Tucker added four. Jared Defore's condition could also be a wildcard. He didn't score in the sectional opener versus Shakamak but did have nine against Bloomfield earlier this year.
The Eels have shown that they can play the slow down style that the Cardinals prefer and ball handling should come heavily into play in this semifinal. Bloomfield has been particularly stingy of late with the ball and had just four turnovers versus Union on Friday while forcing 20. Clay City didn't get to the No. 2 spot in the state by giving the ball away either so who wins this battle will certainly have the advantage.