Hard to believe the boys' basketballs season is almost over. Actually, let me rephrase that, the regular season is almost over.

Yes, sectional tournaments are set to begin next week on Tuesday, and the draws for the second season are already complete, which on the surface makes tonight's finales seem, well uneventful. But not so fast.

These games still hold weight and here's why:



1. THE MID-INDIANA CONFERENCE IS AT STAKE: Alright, that sounds a tad melodramatic, but tonight's regular-season finale for Class 3A No. 12 Hamilton Heights at Peru really is for all intents and purposes the end.

After this season, the MIC will no longer be. The Huskies have won the past two MIC titles outright and three overall in the past four years. A third straight - and the last one - would accomplish one of the team's primary goals this season.

Can't think of a better way to enter the postseason then on a championship hot streak, can you?

Hamilton Heights (16-7, 5-1) is in prime position to do just that with a win tonight at 7:30 p.m. One position up in the standings on both Western (12-9, 5-2) and Eastern (Greentown) (11-11, 5-2), the Huskies control their fate. Plus, their finally getting back to full strength.

Without 6-foot-6 senior Garrett Paull and 6-5 sophomore Sterling Weatherford the past few weeks due to injuries, both have rejoined the fold in recent games and the results have been obvious.

Able to take some pressure off of the team's other playmakers in Purdue recruit Grant Weatherford, Hunter Crist, Jadon White, Kurry Miller and Noah Whyde, the Huskies have won seven straight games.

No. 8 would be the perfect finale.



2. A RETURN TO MILLER BASKETBALL: The Class 4A Noblesville Millers could do no wrong the first half of the season. They won eight of their first nine games, captured the Noblesville Holiday Tournament title and took down ranked opponent after ranked opponent with their deliberate patience and fundamentals.

Contrarily, the second-half has been a struggle - though one could argue by design.

Since the new calendar year, the Millers (12-10) have lost nine of their last 13 with several ranked teams on the schedule. Two of those games were in overtime and three to Sectional 8 foes, including upcoming first-round hurdle Zionsville.

Of their four wins, which included quality victories against 4A Merrillville and 4A Pike, the Millers haven't won back-to-back since before New Year's Eve.

Needless to say, a win tonight would be a nice momentum boost.



3. A ROYAL CHALLENGE: Class 4A Hamilton Southeastern has dealt with it all this year: injuries, ups, downs, inconsistencies, and losing streaks not witnessed since the late 1990s.

Tonight's game at home against No. 11 Lawrence North (16-5) is sort of a microcosm moment.

Will the team that defeated 4A Columbus North, 64-49, and lost 11 games by eight points or less this season show up? Or will the Royals carry a potential five-game losing streak into sectional?



4. BLACKHAWKS FACE A TEST: Apparently, the Class 2A No. 3 Frankton Eagles (20-2) are mortal after all. Falling back to earth for the first time in 10 games with a 67-57 loss to 3A Muncie Central on Tuesday, talons will lock tonight at 7:30 p.m. when the Eagles land in Sheridan.

While some will immediately write off the Blackhawks in this game, a better postseason primer doesn't exist for coach Chris Schrank's steadily improving team.

Already doubling the program's win total from last season, the play of Jacob Chesney, Brock Kitchel, Garrett Chesney, Elliott Barker, Chris Roberts and the others have put the Blackhawks in position to win numerous times this year.

Even if they lose, the Blackhawks could be better for it, applying what they learn in their rematch with Elwood in the opening round of Sectional 39.



5. GREYHOUNDS PASS: The good news for Class 4A No. 2 Carmel is they received the bye in Sectional 8 and host the tournament.

The bad news: they are locked in the toughest half of the bracket, having to face either No. 8 North Central (16-5) or Hoosier Crossroads Conference champ Fishers (12-10) in the semifinals on Friday, March 6.

That's a one-week layoff for the defending four-time Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference champions.

What does that mean? Brebeuf Jesuit will be pushed hard tonight for that reason alone.

Intrasquad scrimmages only go so far, and for the next week that's all the Greyhounds will get, so expect Purdue signee Ryan Cline and Air Force commit Keegan Culp to wrap up their final regular-season home game in style.