EMMA — Troy Neely and his wife Sharon have celebrated their wedding anniversary for the past 25 years by attending the IHSAA boys state basketball finals.
This year the trip will have an extra special meaning as the former Westview High School basketball coach and his bride will be watching the Warriors compete for the Class 2A state championship Saturday around 12:45 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
“We’ve had our tickets and room since September,” Neely said. “It’s a coincidence that Westview is there.”
Actually, it’s the second time it has happened.
Fifteen years ago, when the couple celebrated their 10th anniversary Neely was coaching the Warriors to their first of two consecutive 2A state titles.
“Our 10th and 25th anniversaries have been pretty magical,” the former coach said.
Neely coached the Warriors for eight full seasons and part of a ninth one, compiling a 135-64 record.
Saturday will be the first time Neely has seen Westview play this season.
“That is very difficult for some people to understand,” he said. “I love basketball and get way too deep into it. I become addicted like an alcoholic. Now I’m more of a religious man, spending a lot of time reading my Bible and concentrating on my faith. Basketball would take me away from that. I am so much more at peace in my life now.”
Neely did attend games as recently as the 2009-10 season when his son Dominique was playing for the Warriors.
Westview was not ranked in the final AP Poll this season. The Warriors (23-4) take on the top-ranked Park Tudor Panthers (23-4) in Saturday’s title contest.
Park Tudor is led by 6-6 senior Trevon Bluiett, the state’s leading scorer at 35.6 points per game and considered by many to be one of the frontrunners for Indiana’s Mr. Basketball award.