By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
This is a great time of the year to be covering high school sports.
The football playoffs are underway and of course since this is Indiana that also means the beginning of basketball is not far away.
Girls basketball practice begins on Monday while the boys start on Monday, Nov. 5.
It’s never too early to talk about the sport.
As it says on the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Web site “In Indiana, basketball isn’t simply a game – it’s a tradition, passion, and part of our culture.”
The passion is what continues to fuel the fire in some people who would like to see the return to a single-class tournament rather than the four-class one currently in use.
I loved the tradition of the tournament when I was growing up.
Although Bobby Plump’s miracle shot that won the state championship for Milan a couple of years before I was born the memory of it was enough to motivate smaller schools when facing the bigger ones.
There was always the chance of another Milan-type team making a run in the tourney.
Now that we have been under a multiple-class tournament since the 1997-98 season it seems more natural.
As a sports writer and a high school basketball fan it has been my privilege to see the joys experienced by youngsters in both tournaments.
Seeing the emotional high experienced by the NorthWood girls in the 1997 tournament when the “Black Swish” finally broke through and won the Fort Wayne semistate championship to qualify for the Final Four for the first time ever was equally matched two seasons later when the team, led by Amy Zercher and Natalie Will, captured the 3A title by edging Indianapolis Cathedral 72-71.
You can’t convince me the excitement of winning a state championship was in any way diminished by the fact it had a 3A in front of it.
Few communities in the area support their teams with more enthusiasm than the fans of the Westview Warriors.
That support has remained constant over the years.
The Westview faithful were there supporting the Warriors in the old days when the team played in the sectional over at East Noble and they were in Indianapolis when the small-town school made state history by becoming the first school to capture back-to-back class state championships.
Fans turned out in droves to show their support whether the Warriors were playing a school like East Noble that is considerably bigger than Westview or a similar-sized school like Winchester of Paoli in the 2A state finals. The 2A didn’t seem to bother them.
Let the seasons begin!