News and Tribune

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November 19, 2012

HOOPS PICKS: Basketball season is finally here

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — As the sports editor — of all sports — it’s probably not a good idea to write this, but there’s nothing better than the start of basketball season in Indiana. Except maybe the Indiana high school basketball tournament.

Twenty-four teams in Southern Indiana start with a clean slate, a chance to fulfill promise, to try to reach their potential.

Honestly, there’s nothing better. College basketball is fantastic. The NBA is wonderful. I love almost every other sport. But there’s nothing — I mean, nothing — better in sports than good Indiana high school basketball.

And in Clark County, it starts with a bang.

When I moved to Southern Indiana 10 years ago, the first high school boys’ basketball game I attended was Silver Creek at Henryville. I showed up a minute or two after tipoff — and I couldn’t find a seat. Now that’s Hoosier Hysteria.

Two teams representing small communities carrying the hopes of an entire community going head-to-head for bragging rights. Growing up for me, it was Elwood and Tipton — and it was annual ecstasy. There was nothing I looked forward to more. One year I had the flu and missed the Elwood-Tipton game and it ruined my entire year.

I have always loved basketball. I had an uncle who played a decade in the NBA. I loved the trips to Indianapolis for Pacers’ games. I treasured treks to West Lafayette for Purdue games. But nothing got me more excited than Elwood basketball games.

When I was a child, my basketball heroes weren’t Chuck Person, Larry Bird and Troy Lewis. They were Elwood Panthers’ Jeff Cotton, Matt John and Trent Hicks. I remember waiting outside of their locker room for autographs and getting nervous seeing them around town. That only happens in Indiana.

So with apologies to football, swimming, baseball and track — all sports I played in high school — my greatest love in the sports world is basketball. In particular, high school basketball. And I can’t wait for it to get started on tonight.

Onto the picks:

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