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As the 46th annual Boys Bi-County Basketball Tournament gets underway tonight, many area teams are looking for a shot to check off one of the big three on their 2010-11 to-do list.
Over its long history, the eight-team tilt has taken on special importance for its participants and for many, this week has been circled on their calendars since summer, along with conference games and the IHSAA tournament.
âEvery year you want to win conference, you want to win Bi-County and then come tournament time you see what happens there,â said Triton head basketball coach Jason Groves, whose Class A, No. 3 Trojans won the tourney last year. âThis is definitely one of our big three that we circle.â
In order to do that Triton (8-3) will first have to knock off the Cougars (5-5) at New Prairie while Culver (6-3) travels to Bremen (1-9), Oregon-Davis (3-9) makes the journey to LaVille (5-5), and Argos (0-11) hosts John Glenn (5-4) in the other opening round match-ups.
While the Trojans beat New Prairie handily in the two teamsâ last meeting at The Trojan Trench December 17, Groves and his players arenât taking anything for granted against the Northern State Conference foes. Luckily his team is on a three-game win streak headed into the tilt.
âWe (NSC) teams just all know each other so well, and itâs at New Prairie, and thatâs a really, really tough place to play so we need all the momentum we can get headed into the Bi-County,â he said.
While Triton looks to keep the good times rolling, Culver will seek to rebuild momentum after tough defeats to the Trojans and North Judson sandwiched around a long holiday layover.
âWeâve got one day to get ready for Bremen, and theyâre a ball club thatâs maybe struggled for wins, but itâs not from lack of effort. I went up there and saw them play against Glenn and I saw them at LaVille and their kids play extremely hard,â said Culver head coach Kyle Elliott. âWeâre going to have to regroup.
âWeâve got to get focused for the Bi-County. Itâs an outstanding eight-team tournament, and weâre going to have to go on the road to play a very good Bremen team. Weâll see. Our kids will regroup and weâre and progressing each practice. Weâd like to have more than one practice, but each team in that Bi-County field is saying the same thing. Weâll adjust and get our game plan together and see what happens.â
Bremen has had intermittent spurts of strong play throughout the season, but the relatively inexperienced Lions havenât quite been able to translate those stretches into a full 32 minutes yet.
Bremen has been looking for a chance to break out, and tonightâs match-up at home versus NSC foe Culver may be that chance.
âI challenged the kids,â said Bremen head coach Kyle Hanyzewski. âI said âHey, strange things happen in this tournament they call the Bi-County and why not try and make something strange happen?â All of our focus has to be on Culver. Theyâre a tough team and itâs going to reply a tough effort, but weâre looking forward to the challenge.â