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March 12, 2013

Southern Indiana hoops: A devil of a legacy

(Continued)

Back when I attended Jeff, I didn’t know much about the sport. Some might argue I still don’t. We went to the games for a sense of community and just to have a good time. 

At the state championship, it felt like the whole city was there. When the guys embraced the championship trophy, the students, regardless of social standing, felt like winners too. 

Theo Moore was on that Red Devil state championship team. The fellow ’93 grad can understand the emotions of this moment, even more so because his nephew, Senior Darryl Baker, starts for Jeff. 

Back then, there was no class basketball. Jeff, after six previous appearances in the final four, won its sole state boys’ basketball title outright by beating Ben Davis 66-61 in the Hoosier Dome.

To Theo, playing ball with some of his best friends was one of his most cherished memories of winning state, perhaps more important than the championship itself. Through time, Theo and his friend and former ’93 teammate Sherron Wilkerson shared these stories as well as some playing advice with his nephew. The time has come for Darryl to make some memories of his own.  

“I just make sure he stays mentally focused. That’s the most important thing,” Theo said. “I tell him now that when you get this far in the tournament, it’s not about talent. It’s about possession.”

Jeffersonville isn’t the only school with family ties to tournaments’ past. Borden has its fair share of connections. This weekend will be the second time in the school’s history that their boys’ basketball team has made it to semistate. That first happened five years ago. Chris Beam, my nephew, played under Coach Doc Nash during that fantastic season. His cousins, Billy Kirchgessner and Garrett Vick, start for the Braves now. 

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