Except for the jog around Emma Lake, C.R. 600 West is rail straight and takes motorists past browned pastures with draft horses hunkered together against cold spring rain and snow squalls. At its rural intersections, shingle signs point the way to Amish bakeries, wood shops and produce stands. Nothing along the road reveals it’s a route to basketball greatness.
The road connects Topeka, Emma and Shipshewana, tiny towns noted for their hard-working residents who make RVs, host tens of thousands of tourists each year and can serve up a hearty lunch at local cafes. The three towns also make up the nucleus of the far-flung Westview Community Schools district.
But once at Westview Junior-Senior High School, visitors quickly notice the legacy of basketball accomplishments found there. Just inside the gym doors, in a beautiful handcrafted wood-framed case, hang two state title trophies. The nets cut down by past Westview greats are draped over the trophies. And there are more trophies. Seventeen are from sectional titles, five are regional trophies and three are semi-state trophies. And then there are trophies for the girls teams and the junior high teams crowded into the display cases. Basketball dominates the trophy cases, and the passions of the Westview community.
“We kind of grow up with it in our blood around here, I think,” said Staci Massey.
Massey was busy Thursday manning a cash register at the Topeka Pharmacy before the community pep rally to send yet another Westview team to Indianapolis to play for a state title today in Indianapolis.
She is one of the thousands of people who have played roles in the ongoing drama known as Westview basketball. She was a cheerleader from seventh grade to her graduation in 1998. That was one year before the Westview boys won back-to-back state titles in 1999 and 2000.