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Rolling into the regional

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Morristown junior guard Logan Theobald flies to the hoop for a score in sectional play. The No. 4 Yellow Jackets will play No. 2 University Saturday in the second semifinal of the Martinsville Regional.
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Morristown senior guard Eli Streeval floats to the rim in a game at the Southwestern Sectional. Streeval and the Yellow Jackets will face University Saturday in the Martinsville Regional.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

MORRISTOWN -- The University basketball team has taken pride on having balanced scoring this season. All five starters can put the ball in the basket.

Although that may seem like an advantage against a team like Morristown, which has three players scoring the majority of its points, the Yellow Jackets also have five players in their starting unit who can score. Even better, all five can affect the game in multiple ways.

Morristown’s Big Three, seniors Hayden Langkabel and Eli Streeval and junior Logan Laster, are combing to score 53.8 points per game this season. The team averages 72.7.

But you can't forget about the speedy Logan Theobald and crafty Trevon Carlton -- two staples in the Yellow Jackets’ (24-2) starting lineup this season.

Theobald, a 5-foot-11 junior guard, is a high-level defender and is another player capable of attacking the basket for the Yellow Jackets. He is averaging 4.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists and is shooting 49 percent from the field. Theobald had a season-high 10 points against Knightstown. Last season, he averaged 2.6 ppg.

“My role is to rebound and play defense,” Theobald said. “I will do anything to get my teammates open, whether it is setting a screen or grabbing a rebound. I have always been an unselfish player. I like to see my teammates succeed.”

Carlton, a 6-foot-2 sophomore forward, has provided a steady presence in the paint against this season after a fine freshman campaign. He is scoring 6.7 ppg and grabbing 4.1 rpg, which is third on the team. Carlton had a season-high 14 points against Knightstown and is shooting 66 percent from the field.

“Mainly, I am there for rebounding and guarding the other post player,” Carlton said. “I feel like I am a lot stronger this year (than as a freshman)."

The pair will need to be at the top of their games against the Trailblazers (21-2), who have five starters -- all seniors -- averaging 7.5 ppg or more. The team is scoring 60.2 ppg while allowing 40.7. University has made 167 threes this season at a 41 percent rate.

“They are tall and quick and have outside shooters,” Carlton said. “They are basically an all-balanced team.”

Forward David Howard leads the groups at 14.1 ppg and 5.4 rpg. He has made 60 threes this season. Zach Hodgin is the team’s defensive leader at point guard and is dishing out a team-high 5.1 assists while scoring 7.8 ppg. Josh Watson (9.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg) and Ethan Sickels (8.8 ppg) have also shown an ability to score.

Sickels is second on the team with 35 threes, while junior Quinn Steiner is third with 27. Steiner comes off the bench. Watson, another capable shooter, has made 23 threes this season.

The Trailblazers defeated No. 7 Indianapolis Tindley, who is also playing in the Martinsville Regional, 48-46 on Jan. 5.

Morristown head Scott McClelland said it best. There are no bad teams left in the tournament.

“I told the kids there are 16 teams left and everybody is good,” McClelland said. “You don’t win on Saturday night (of a sectional) unless you are good or playing your best basketball.

“University is a very good team and has extreme balance. We are going to have to defend and do some things. You don’t win 20 games for no reason. Howard is their leading scorer but, while watching them, you would never know that. The are senior led and have played together.”

Langkabel leads Morristown in scoring at 26 ppg. Laster (12.3 ppg) leads the team with 4.5 apg, while Streeval (15.5 ppg) is the team’s top shooter with 72 made threes (43 percent).

Tindley and Bloomfield

Tindley (18-7), with Purdue signee Eric Hunter, is the favorite in the first semifinal at Martinsville Saturday. Hunter is one of the state’s leading scorers at 27.8 ppg and could finish his career as Marion County’s all-time leading scorer.

Hunter also averages 7.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game but is not the only player to keep an eye on -- especially from distance.

Senior KJ Coleman is averaging 11.8 ppg and has hit 41 threes, while sophomore Sincere McMahon is scoring 15.1 and has nailed 43 shots from behind the arc. Hunter leads the team with 73 made threes.

Tindley, which won last season’s state championship, is averaging 72.8 ppg and allowing 59.4.

Bloomfield (16-9) is scoring 51.7 and allowing 43.4. The Cardinals, who will likely attempt to slow the pace of the game, do not have individual statistics listed on MaxPreps. The team finished 6-3 in the Southwest Indiana Basketball Conference.

Two seasons ago, Bloomfield made a run to the state championship game but fell to Liberty Christian.

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.