Men's basketball | IHSAA Semistate

Kokomo prepares for another tough game against Munster

2011-03-14T22:00:00Z 2013-09-30T21:04:31Z Kokomo prepares for another tough game against MunsterBy Steve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com

There are eerie similarities between Class 4A No. 1 Munster (25-0) and No. 10 Kokomo (22-2).

Both teams are very balanced offensively. Both are coming off nail-biting regional championships Saturday night. And both will be facing each other this Saturday at the Lafayette Jeff Semistate with a trip to Conseco Fieldhouse on the line.

"We have a quality group of players, kids with great character and we've had a very pleasing season so far," Kokomo coach Brian McCauley said Monday afternoon.

"Munster is well-coached, disciplined and highly skilled. They are athletic and strong. They are 25 and 0 for a reason."

In Saturday's semifinal, the Wildkats beat Jay County by seven. And in the championship game against Hamilton Southeastern, it was Kokomo 58-55 in double overtime at Marion.

The 'Kats won on sophomore LaBradford Sebree's buzzer-beating 3-pointer in front of 7,000 fans.

The Wildkats are playing in their 19th Final Four and are looking to get to their sixth state championship game.

Munster has never played in the state finals.

"They are very athletic, very aggressive and a really good offensive rebounding team," Munster coach Mike Hackett said. "And they are very good in transition, too."

Kokomo's starting lineup consists of D.J. Balentine, a 6-foot-2 junior guard who leads the team with a 16.3 scoring average; Armon Bridgeforth, a 6-foot junior guard who averages 6.3 points a game, but is a defensive specialist; Sebree, a 6-2 sophomore who averages 8.8 from the forward position; Cheyse Swain, a 6-3 senior who is scoring 6.8 points a game; and Huston Clark, a 6-4 senior center who is scoring 8.3 points and grabbing a team-leading 6.7 rebounds a game.

Kokomo won the North Central Conference and beat Bishop Noll's semistate opponent Tipton, 46-43.

McCauley said he expects an electric crowd at Jeff on Saturday for the 5:15 p.m. CDT start. He said there is one thing about Munster that worries him the most.

"The fact that they're perfect," McCauley said. "No one's been successful against them. That concerns us."

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