Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 17, 2013

THE SKINNY: Tourney time in Indiana is special

By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN — Hoosiers’ favorite time of the year has arrived.

No, not winter. If that was your answer, pick up your parting gifts on the way out and try again.

Of course, I’m talking about high school basketball tournament time.

Otherwise known in our basketball-mad state as “Hoosier Hysteria.”

Other states may claim to be all about roundball. But in Indiana, we take the entire experience to a whole new level.

The girls have had their chance on the big stage, and it was the NorthWood Panthers and the Westview Warriors making the best showing of area schools.

The Panthers lost to Fort Wayne Concordia Saturday morning in a Class 3A regional semi, while the Warriors fell to Fort Wayne Bishop Luers in a Class 2A regional.

Now, it’s the boys’ turn to shine.

Only in Indiana could we make a spectacle of the event that sets the draw for the tournament.

But since it’s Indiana, we do that.

I’ve covered high school basketball in a number of different areas — including one state, North Carolina, that claimed to be just as crazy about the sport as we are here in the Hoosier State.

I just didn’t see it.

But then again, after covering Indiana high school basketball at a priotr stop in my career, I alaready had Indiana as a measuring stick.  

North Carolina never stood a chance.

After tonight’s draw, the agenda for one of the most exciting weeks of the year for we sportswriters will be set. Games will be scheduled; travel plans will be made; coverage plans will be finalized.

And tickets will be sold.

Lots of tickets.

For pure excitement, there is simply nothing like an Indiana high school basketball sectional game.

The entire tournament is a hotbed of excitement, but that excitement begins to ramp up as the brackets shrink and we head toward Saturday night’s sectional final showdowns.

If you want to go to one of these games, you’d better get your tickets early, and you’d better arrive at the game early.

Just sayin’.

Those championship games are a sight to see: Gyms packed to the rafters; overflow parking in the lots; two screaming cheering sections; two teams battling for every loose ball, contesting every shot, chasing every rebound.

When it’s all over, one team goes on; one team goes  home to ponder what might have been.

When all is said and done, much more will be said than done.

For all the talking all season, the message board chatter, the friendly (and sometimes not-so-friendly) banter on Twitter and Facebook, it’s time to lace up the sneakers, put on the uniforms, and settle things the only way that matters.

See you on the court!

Contact sports editor David Vantress at 533-2151, ext. 325 or by email at david.vantress@goshennews.com.