What a run: Indiana basketball as good as advertised


Indiana basketball as good as advertised

What a run

Indiana basketball as good as advertised

What a run

I’ve spent half of my life living in Indiana. I was part of Munster High School’s Class of 2000 — yes, I just aged myself — and attended plenty of high school basketball games in my younger days.

But I’d never experienced Indiana basketball like this.

As my first full year at the Daily Reporter wrapped up, I finally reached the winter, with the promise of exciting, incredible high school basketball.

I was incredibly excited. It certainly didn’t disappoint.

From my first game on Nov. 1, a narrow Mt. Vernon girls win against Franklin, to my last game Saturday, a narrow New Palestine boys loss to Ben Davis, it was one heck of a journey.

I watched the New Palestine girls cruise to an incredible regular season, only to see the similarly impressive Mt. Vernon girls shock them for a sectional title in the greatest high school atmosphere I’ve ever been a part of.

I saw Eastern Hancock roll Union in one of the most lopsided, yet fun, games I’ve seen live, as the Royals racked up steal after steal and cruised to a huge early-season conference win.

I witnessed Hannah Farrell lift the Greenfield-Central Cougars up on her shoulders for the early part of the season, then saw an improved team scratch and claw their way to 10 wins.

It looked like we could have a fairly long tournament run in Hancock County, only for the pesky Ben Davis Giants to end the girls basketball season, just as they did this past weekend for the boys.

I was able to witness incredible performances and some incredible teams this winter. I was there when New Castle’s Luke Bumbalough dropped 28 on New Palestine, and was there a week later when he scored 51 points against Mt. Vernon, both in losing efforts as the Dragons and Marauders prevailed. I don’t think I’ve seen a more impressive basketball performance than I saw from Bumbalough in the latter game.

Our county teams were a blast to watch, from the way the Cougars fought every game to the Marauders struggling through a long losing streak, to Eastern Hancock playing countless close games to the Dragons finding their footing after a late start to the season.

I’ll never forget the weirdest basketball finish I’ve ever seen, either, when Mt. Vernon ended their losing streak thanks to a string of technical fouls late in a game in the last week of the regular season against Westfield. The bizarre finish, and the sheer excitement and relief from the Marauders, were unforgettable.

I got to see some of the state’s top teams, too, and that includes the Dragons, who finished in the final eight. I saw Ben Davis twice, Lawrence Central twice and Hamilton Southeastern once. For the record, I thought HSE was the best non-county team I saw. Ben Davis was not far behind.

Most importantly, outside of all the fun I had simply watching and writing about basketball, I got to work with and meet some incredible people. We truly are lucky in Hancock County to have so many incredible coaches and coaching staffs, and we have a lot of great players and people, too.

It’s been an awesome first year here in Greenfield. I saw two state championships, countless regional games, a whole bunch of sectional titles and some incredible games. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to write stories about so many of our county athletes and people, and I’ve got plenty more planned.

It’s nice to be here now, so I can bring my own personal season-preview style and planning to our spring sports this time around. I’m sad to see winter sports go — just as I was sad when fall sports ended, just as I was sad when spring sports ended last year — but I’m excited for what’s to come.

We’re about to have a several week span of comprehensive spring sports coverage, and we’ve still got swimmers of the year and a boys basketball player of the year to come.

It’s an exciting, busy time, and I can’t wait to get back outdoors for some spring sports.

See you out there!

Brian Heinemann is the sports editor of the Daily Reporter. Send comments to [email protected]

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Brian Heinemann is the sports editor of the Daily Reporter. Send comments to [email protected]

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Brian Heinemann

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