GOSHEN — “There’s a, um tradition in tournament play — not talk about the next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you. I’m sure going to the state finals is beyond your wildest dreams, so let’s just keep it right there.”
Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman)
For dozens of Indiana high school basketball players all across our great state, those wildest dreams of hoops heaven are about to be put to the ultimate test.
It’s time once again for that certain malady we call “Hoosier Hysteria.”
There is no cure for this particular ailment — nor would we want one, even if one were to be made available.
The best the afflilcted can hope for is a slight easing of the symptoms.
And the only way to do that is to hit the road and watch sectional basketball this week.
For sportswriters, one of the joys of our job is getting paid to watch sports.
That’s especially true of Indiana high school basketball.
I have covered prep sports all over the country. And nobody does prep hoops like Indiana. It’s just a fact.
For our area players, the past four months of sweat, sacrifice and steadfastness have all led to this: The road to Indianapolis.
Now that the silliness of the debate over a possible to return to the single-class tournament is behind it, it’s time to focus on what is, in my opinion, one of the best prep sporting events in the country.
The four-class system widens participation, levels the playing field (or court, as it were) and spreads the wealth.
And it’s here to stay.
Former sports editor Stu Swartz has some great tidbits on past tournaments on his great-as-always column on this front page of this sports section.
And on these two middle pages, sports reporter Greg Keim has an in-depth look at the fields for all four of the local sectionals we will be covering this upcoming week.
Tournament basketball in Indiana is a sight to behold. Our already rabid fans take things to another level.
As do the players.
This year, Greg will be covering the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional for the first time. It’s a move that was long overdue, and I know Greg is looking forward to it.
Stu will head over to Wawasee to cover a Class 3A sectional that is loaded with talent as usual.
And I will traverse the sometimes treacherous back roads of Elkhart and LaGrange Counties to cover the Class 2A sectional at Westview.
The Warriors and their talented athletic staff put on a great tournament.
Greg, Stu and I hope to see you at the games this week!
Contact sports editor David Vantress at 533-2151, ext. 325 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.