High school basketball: Forum Tipoff Classic field set for December at Southport

A matchup of potential Class 4A state championship contenders – possibly the favorites – will highlight the schedule for the six-game Forum Tipoff Classic, one of the annual highlights on the high school basketball schedule.

Defending 4A state champion Cathedral, which is led by Michigan State recruit Xavier Booker, the No. 1-ranked player in the country by Rivals, will play a loaded Ben Davis in the finale of the event, which is set for Dec. 10 at Southport Fieldhouse.

Cathedral’s Booker figures to be one of the top contenders for IndyStar Mr. Basketball going into his senior season. The past eight Mr. Basketball winners have played in the Tipoff Classic, including Westfield’s Braden Smith last year. Ben Davis, which lost to Cathedral in last year’s regional championship at Southport, returns most of its core group from a 22-7 team, including seniors Zane Doughty and Sheridan Sharp and junior K.J. Windham.

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Cathedral Fighting Irish Xavier Booker (34) celebrates after making a shot during the IHSAA regionals boys basketball tournament game against the Ben Davis Giants, Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Southport Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Cathedral Fighting Irish Xavier Booker (34) celebrates after making a shot during the IHSAA regionals boys basketball tournament game against the Ben Davis Giants, Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Southport Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

2022 Forum Tipoff Classic game schedule

8:30 p.m. – Ben Davis vs. Cathedral: Cathedral was 26-6 last year and returns several key players in addition to Booker, including seniors Jaron Tibbs, Jake Davis and Sincere Germany. Ben Davis beat Cathedral 67-64 during the regular season last year before falling in the regional championship. In addition to Doughty, Sharp and Windham, coach Don Carlisle’s team also returns seniors Clay Butler and Shaun Arnold and sophomore Mark Zackery, among others.

Junior All-Stars Logan Imes (21) rushes past Indiana All-Star Amhad Jarrard (2) on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at Mt. Vernon High School in Fortville.
Junior All-Stars Logan Imes (21) rushes past Indiana All-Star Amhad Jarrard (2) on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at Mt. Vernon High School in Fortville.

7 p.m. – Penn vs. Zionsville: This is another matchup of 4A contenders with seniors who could make a run at Mr. Basketball honors. Penn is led by high-scoring point guard Markus Burton (26.9 ppg), who committed to Notre Dame in August. Coach Al Rhodes returns his top four scorers. Zionsville is led by Penn State recruit Logan Imes (17.8 ppg, 5.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists), along with 6-9 senior Nick Richart and several others for coach J.R. Howell’s team. The Eagles, a 14-8 team a year ago, were ranked No. 1 early in the season. Penn was 24-3 last season, falling to Chesterton in the 4A regional final.

5:15 p.m. – Bloomington North vs. Fishers: Fishers features Jalen Haralson, ranked No. 10 in the country by 247sports in the 2025 class. The 6-6 Haralson averaged 16.0 points and 4.6 rebounds last season for the 21-3 Tigers. Bloomington North will be led by JQ Roberts, a 6-7 Vanderbilt recruit who averaged 14.4 points and 9.1 rebounds as a junior on the Cougars’ 24-4 team that reached the 4A semistate.

Fishers' Jalen Haralson shoots a free throw versus Pike on January 7, 2022.
Fishers' Jalen Haralson shoots a free throw versus Pike on January 7, 2022.

3:30 p.m. – Crown Point vs. Southport: Crown Point will be led by Bellarmine recruit and senior A.J. Lux, one of the state’s top 3-point shooters. Crown Point is coming off a 17-6 season. Southport coach Eric Brand has a team that should be improved from last year’s 14-12 squad with senior guards A.J. Dancler and Keyon Miller returning with senior forward Nickens Lemba. That trio combined for 45 points per game last season. Seniors Jayden and Jeff Pinkston transferred in from Tindley.

1:45 p.m. – Franklin Central vs. Norwell: Franklin Central will have a young and talented team with junior Dhani Flannigan as one of the team’s most experienced players from a 9-14 season. Norwell, a 22-5 team and Class 3A sectional champion last season, will be led by senior guard Luke McBride. Norwell brings back the bulk of its team.

Noon – North Daviess vs. Beech Grove: North Daviess, the Class A state champions a year ago, will be playing in Class 3A this season. Jaylen Mullen will lead the team against Beech Grove, which won last year’s 3A state title. The Hornets, under new coach Joe Rihm, will return several seniors, including Jeremiah Tate and Jeremiah Alexander.

Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: IHSAA basketball: Forum Classic teams, matchups set for Southport