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March 12, 2013

Southern Indiana hoops: A devil of a legacy

On an early weekday morning when flecks of snow filled the sky, the sound of leather against concrete could be heard coming from our driveway. Like usual, my 10-year-old son was shooting around before school, trying to get in a few precious minutes of basketball before starting the day. 

Rain nor sleet nor snow can stop a Hoosier boy from this quest. Below freezing, the cold weather had iced over the net creating an impenetrable bottle neck. Three balls were trapped in its chilled funnel. At that moment, he was attempting to unsuccessfully add a fourth.

This is Indiana. 

Last weekend, three Clark County boys’ high school basketball teams advanced to regionals: Clarksville, Jeffersonville and Borden, an impressive accomplishment. The latter two survived both games of the series and now continue their journeys toward their respective state titles at semistate, the final four of class basketball. 

If you happen to be driving north on Interstate 65 this weekend, don’t be shocked by the amount of red letters scribbled on the back of car windows. Both the Red Devils and the Braves play in Seymour, just an hour away from here by car. 

Basketball fans from across the state will converge on the city with hopes of lifting their boys to victory. Revelers in the caravan up will be ecstatic as well, some with faces painted and others with personalized signs. A few might beg for a honk to help celebrate, a kind reminder that others understand the importance of their mission. 

For me, the pairing of these teams at the Seymour Semistate has another meaning. As a 1993 graduate of JHS, I witnessed our own boys’ basketball team bring home the state title 20 years ago. In the decades that followed, I’ve followed Braves basketball, my adopted home team. Marrying a Borden boy will do that to you. Having three nephews and a niece that have worn the school’s red and black jerseys doesn’t hurt either.

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