KNIGHTSTOWN — One might think that high school basketball in June would be a strange sight, but the Historic Hoosier Gym in Knightstown has cultivated an early summer gem on the basketball calendar in the state.
In its 12th year, the event brings some of the best seniors throughout the state, boys and girls, to showcase their skills in a historic location.
This year, Michael Ertel of Mt. Vernon, Raegan McMurray of New Palestine, and Madison Wise and Katie Helgason of Greenfield Central all received invites to the event. Further, Mt. Vernon boys coach Travis Daugherty was able to coach the Hickory boys team.
Some may expect all star games like these to not be very competitive, but that isn’t what McMurray experienced.
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“It was really competitive out there,” McMurray said. “It’s great to be able to play against the best players in the state like that.”
McMurray was on the winning side in the girls game, as she suited up in the uniform of the Terhune Tigers, the fictional rival of the Hickory Huskers in the movie Hoosiers. Terhune defeated Hickory, of which Greenfield-Centrals Wise and Helgason played for, 87-75.
McMurray finished with six points, highlighted by a steal soon after entering the game, which lead to a three-point play for her after she was fouled on the lay-up.
McMurray will be heading to Illinois Wesleyan for college to play basketball, and she plans to hone her craft this summer before heading to school full-time.
“I have a few open gyms to go to (at Illinois Wesleyan,) but I’ll mostly just be playing here to get ready,” said McMurray.
Wise, of Greenfield-Central, had eight points in the game. Indiana Miss Basketball Karissa McLaughlin scored 25 points in the game and 18 in the fourth quarter for the Huskers.
Wise, who finished third in the Miss Basketball voting, will be joining McLaughlin on the Indiana All-Star team as they prepare to play against Kentucky in the annual series.
The boys game was even more fast paced. The Hickory team, coached by Daugherty with Ertel was a member, defeated Terhune 152-130. Hickory scored 76 points each half. Despite the high scoring, Ertel thought all players were taking their matchups seriously.
“Sometimes in these games help defense may not be like it is during the season, but everyone was taking their one-on- one matchups seriously which is all you can really ask for,” Ertel said drenched in sweat afterwards.
Ertel, who begins practice with the boys Indiana All-Stars on Sunday and leaves for Louisiana-Monroe in early July, enjoyed the event.
“This group of guys was really fun to play with,” Ertel said. “I know a lot of them and it was fun to get together one more time for a game.”
For Mt. Vernon coach Travis Daugherty, the event was special for a few reasons.
“First, this group of guys was great to work with all day,” Daugherty said. “A lot of times games like this can make guys selfish, but they weren’t that way at all today.”
It was also the last time Daugherty and Ertel will take the floor together as coach and player, which Daugherty said made the day extra special.
Mt. Vernon’s Ertel and Greenfield Central’s Wise will be playing in the area two more times before heading out of state for college. On June 8, the Senior All-Stars will be playing the Junior All-Stars in Plainfield at 6 p.m., and on June 10, the Senior All-Stars will play the Kentucky All-Stars at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis at 5 p.m.