The first game of the Class 3A Sectional pitted Elmhurst against Wayne. Elmhurst was coming off a 16-5 season and had the best record in the New Haven Sectional. The Trojans won the game 64-43. Joe Poindexter had 17 points and James Hardy scored 15. Wayne was led by Sylvester Mayes with 19 points. Elmhurst concentrated on defending Mayes, as he was the leading scorer in the SAC, with 26.9 PPG.
The second game at New Haven High School placed the Harding Hawks against the Bishop Luers Knights. Harding won the game 59-43 and set up a showdown between Harding and Elmhurst. Harding had won the Class 2A State Title in 2001 and was Class 3A runners-up last season. The Hawks record was 13-5 and their win against Bishop Luers extended their win streak to 7.
Trojans coach, Keith Edmonds likes to play an ‘up-tempo’ offense, but often switches to a triangle offense when the fast breaks are not working. Elmhurst has had problems dealing with teams that control the tempo of the game and play a good half court defense.
The Harding Hawks came ready to play and the game was “up-tempo” from the opening tip. Harding took an early lead of 19-11 but Elmhurst never let down. The game was tied at 3 minutes before the half and then Elmhurst went on an offensive spurt to lead 36-33 at half time. The second half was all Elmhurst as the Trojans went on to a win the game 76-60.
The final game of the sectional put Elmhurst against the Heritage Patriots. The game started at 7:30 PM Saturday, March 7. The Trojans came out displaying a tough defense against the Heritage half court game. This time the slow-down game didn’t work. Elmhurst had learned from previous mistakes and took control early. Every time Heritage coach John Hohnstreiter would change his offense, Elmhurst would adjust. Elmhurst led from wire to wire, and went home with the sectional trophy. This was Coach Keith Edmonds first sectional victory after being at Elmhurst for six years.
Coach Edmonds has had his hands full this season. There were some closed-door meetings in which the team members got together and tried to iron out problems. As on any talented team there was intense competition for playing time. Personality conflicts and the typical grumblings that arise from second-guessing and Monday morning quarter-backing can create nightmares for a coach. Somehow Edmonds has been able to weather the storms and get these kids on the same page just in time for a run into the State Tourney. How deep will they go?…Will this be their year?…We’ll find out when the tournament continues Saturday, March 15th at Northwood. The first game is at 10:00AM and pits Elmhurst 16-5 against Lakeland (La Grange) 15-7,. The second game begins at noon and has Jay County (14-9) against New Prairie (16-7). The winners of the two morning games play for the regional title at 8:00PM.
Northwood is located in Nappanee Indiana. From Fort Wayne, take 30 west to Warsaw, 15 North (rt.) to 6. Take 6 west (lt.) to Napanee. Take 19 north (rt.) about 1 mile. Northwood High School will be on the right hand side. About 1.5 hours from Fort Wayne.