By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY — It was a historic day inside Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium, and though only one local team advanced to its respective championship game, Clark County was certainly well represented during Saturday’s semistate action in Seymour.
The Borden High School Braves bested the University Trailblazers to claim their first boys’ Class A semistate basketball championship during the first game of the afternoon.
In the nightcap, Jeffersonville High School fell to Indianapolis Cathedral in the 4A Seymour Semistate match up.
While Borden may have been the only victor locally, fans from both sides pulled for their Clark County brethren.
“We all cheer for each other,” said Barbara Martin.
She, along with her husband Gary Martin, staked out front-row seats inside the packed gymnasium to root for their hometown Borden Braves. As halftime approached during the first match up, the majority of the more than 8,000 seats inside Scott Gym had been filled.
A sea of white engulfed the Braves’ portion of the bleachers and extended well into the visitor’s side, as Borden fans easily surpassed in number those cheering for University.
Jeremy Krob of Borden snapped photos from the gym floor of the crowd and the Braves players as they shot lay-ups during pregame drills. With his young daughter and nephew at his side, Krob absorbed the atmosphere.
“I believe the whole town is here too,” he said.
The unselfishness of the team, including its passing ability and defensive prowess, is what stands out to Krob about the Braves.
Though the scene of thousands of Borden fans wearing white shirts with red letters and words may have been intimidating to University, the Martins said it was pretty much business as usual for Braves supporters.
“A lot of it is the town. They’ve just got a hell of a fan base,” Gary Martin said.
Babies to grown men sported red hair dye in support of Borden. The crowd stood for nearly the entirety of the fourth quarter, then the student section emptied as Borden teenagers rushed the floor after the buzzer sounded and the Braves stood as semistate champions.
As they waited for their team’s tip-off, Jeffersonville fans cheered on Borden as they captured the Class A Seymour Semistate crown.
Watching the Red Devils play is nothing new for Jo Robbins. She said she’s attended Jeffersonville games for almost seven decades, and conceded quite a bit has changed over the 69 years she’s watched high school basketball.
The uniforms are different, the style of play is different and even the players are built differently now, Robbins said.
But there’s one big change from when Robbins attended Jeffersonville High School that she said has definitely been a welcome switch.
“I especially like the fact that now we have a multi-race team,” Robbins said, as she added that when she attended Jeffersonville, the school was all white.
Accompanying Robbins at the game was her friend Frances Fellmer, who has also followed the Red Devils since high school.
The setting of the semistate finals is spectacular to witness, Fellmer said, though there have been some changes to the high school game over the years that aren’t so popular with her.
“I don’t like this class system, but it’s also nice that small schools get a chance,” Fellmer said.