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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, December 06, 2017 1:00 am

Legends, Spartans top seeds in tourney

North Side looks to win 5th straight title

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

SAC Tournament

At Wayne

Dec. 27-30

Seeds

Boys

1. North Side

2. Wayne

3. South Side

4. Carroll

5. Homestead

6. Snider

7. Bishop Dwenger

8. Northrop

9. Concordia

10. Bishop Luers

Girls

1. Homestead

2. Northrop

3. South Side

4. Carroll

5. Concordia

6. Bishop Dwenger

7. Snider

8. Bishop Luers

9. North Side

10. Wayne

The defending SAC Tournament champions are the top seeds in this year's tournament as the pairings were announced Tuesday.

Last season, the North Side boys basketball team became the first program to win four straight SAC Tournament titles.

“Winning the tournament is definitely a goal of theirs,” coach Shabaz Khaliq said. “I don't think we talk about the streak, we talk about pursuing one for the guys who have never had that opportunity before. It's not so much maintaining the streak as much as it is giving our new kids an opportunity to experience what some of the guys had before.”

The Legends will open the tournament Dec. 28 against the winner of No. 8 Northrop and No. 9 Concordia.

North Side has already played 10 games including contests against Snider and South Side of the SAC, as well as New Albany, Valparaiso and Cathedral.

“Being able to play teams with various styles, and styles that contrast. That's why we do what we do, and why we do what we did in the past,” Khaliq said. “(The SAC Tournament) is a good measuring stick for us. We're already learning things about ourselves, things that we need to do differently. It helps us plan and prepare better.”

Wayne, the tournament's second seed, will face the winner between No. 7 Bishop Dwenger and No. 10 Bishop Luers.

No. 4 Carroll and No. 5 Homestead will face off in their opener along with No. 4 South Side and No. 6 Snider.

On the girls side, top-seeded Homestead will open Dec. 28 against the winner of No. 8 Bishop Luers and No. 9 North Side.

The Homestead girls are on a 27-game winning streak against SAC opponents in regular-season play.

“I think the pressure has been there the last couple years, and I think the kids are accustomed to that,” Spartans coach Rod Parker said. “I'm excited to be the No. 1 seed. We're excited for the tournament. I think the conference is very balanced this year. ... I think the tournament will be a lot of fun to watch. Looking at our first game, not sure who's going to win, Bishop Luers is a pretty good 8 seed. If we have an opportunity to win, we have to play really good opponents.”

With a target on their back, inexperienced players on the court and greater parity throughout the conference, Parker knows there's a tall task ahead of him and his team.

“We graduated kids who were seasoned in tournament play,” he said. “It's going to be good for us to see where we're at. Our goals are to win it, but we know it's going to be a challenge, and we're going to have to play really good basketball to win.

Second seeded Northrop will face the winner of No. 7 Snider and No. 10 Wayne, and No. 4 Carroll opens against No. 5 Concordia while No. 3 South Side squares off with No. 6 Bishop Dwenger in their opener.

areichel@jg.net