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Round one sectional fallout
By DYLAN MALONE
I had it penciled in for Friday that three sectional semi-final basketball games would have to be covered.
As South Adams and Bellmont figured out on Tuesday, however, sometimes it just doesn’t pan out.
Whitko found some magic dust underneath their bench in the second half. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for such a terrible team to come up with such an astounding run. It was sort of the way you would write it in a movie script though. I give props to the Wildcats on an another exciting chapter to Indiana high school basketball.
Ok, so that’s a little dramatic and it does not justice to Bellmont’s basketball program. Let me be the first to stand up for that group of guys, though.
Coach John Baker drove some players out of program with his high-effort, high-reward ambition style of basketball. In case fans forget so quickly what it felt like to win basketball games, it takes an enormous amount of hard work, not just on the basketball court but individually away from Bellmont as well. Just ask Seth Colclasure how many free throws he shot before and after games to get his record mark.
The boys who stuck it out and bought into the whole notion that hard work would get them further were disappointed on Tuesday night, but don’t mistake the 4-eesh season the Braves had with a failure. As I watched from my spot in the corner of the Teepee on most home games, I saw a team that may not have been as talented as past years, but certainly had the heart.
When Parker Zeser dove out of bounds for a ball against DeKalb at the buzzer, most would have thought the Braves were down a point and that maybe some miracle would have happened and someone would have sank an impossible shot for the win.
As it happened, the Braves were down by more than one possession but the pride of Bellmont basketball had officially seeped into the sophomore’s head. And they're all like that!
That’s what it’s going to take to bring Bellmont back to the promised land. Heart.
The talent is there. Losing Lance Vergara is big for Bellmont. They’ll really have to find someone to step up for them in the off-season but looking at what’s coming back, the Braves should hold their heads up high in anticipation of a better season and a third-term for coach Baker, who finally started to get kids to pay attention mid-season after several beatdowns at the hands of the ridiculous NHC.
The off-season starts today.
I feel for South Adams and had I not so much to say about the Braves today, I would go into a little greater detail about the great young men that coach Andy Brown has put together in the Stars. It’s a story similar to Bellmont’s really.
A team rebuilding and in search of an identity finally figures it out at the end but simply ran out of games. The buzzer-beater didn’t help. They’ll be just fine, though. Coach Brown carries with him the “Speak softly, but carry a big stick” mantra for SA. Another story I can’t wait to see unfold next season.
As for Adams Central, well they have a tall task ahead of them with Bishop Luers on Friday. It got taller when they added a 6’7” transfer from Marion. I was under the impression you couldn’t do that mid-season as was the IHSAA. The snag for Luers is that they got the board of education on their side overruling the judgment as they chanted, “Let him play!”
A great success story for the kid and Luers. Not so much for AC and potentially Bluffton who will probably play them in the finals if they beat the Jets.
What’s the solution? If you’re going to find loop holes to let private and Christian schools “recruit” let them have their own conference and their own league like the NCAA and the NAIA. It’s the only way to clean up all the sports who have been tainted by the unfair advantage of “student placement programs.”
Need a statistic? Lafayette Central Catholic has won the last four class A football titles. Their high school enrollment? 238 kids. Total. It's not rocket science and it's not something fantastic in the holy water. It's a loop hole. All the public schools can do is show up and cheer on their team against uneven odds.
That's what I'll be doing at South Adams tomorrow. Cheering out loud, "Go Jets" just like I would if only Bellmont was left or just the Stars.