Posted on

A look back at tourney mayhem

For the first time since, well, I don’t really know when, I can go home and watch some college basketball. And what a time to catch up on the mid-majors along with the local favorites.
In order to arrive at courting practical bracket-busters, I had to retire the camera and the pen to the local prep season. It was a tough ending for some, while a few teams finished on the up-and-up.
In my personal experience, there was nothing better than the atmosphere in Borden less than two weeks ago for the boys’ Class A sectional. A team, a school and a community pulling together to celebrate its first sectional championship in school history. Borden brought all of that, especially in the semi-final win over Lanesville, and more in the championship victory over South Central.
Of course, the elimination of our local guys meant the celebration of the entire Borden family. As of Tuesday morning, Borden was still alive, awaiting a match-up with Orleans last night (Tuesday).
Watching the celebration and feeling the literal rush of Brave fans storming the court, trampling this poor reporter, gave me a hint of how the Lanesville community partied the previous two seasons.
Eagles’ coach Mikel Miller said his teams cherished those moments and never took them for granted. Believe me, the Eagles are going to be a solid team to reckon with come next season. I have a feeling they want to get back to the regional. They lose five seniors, but a talented group of juniors sit in waiting.
The team from Elizabeth, I don’t think many gave them a shot to come out of the sectional, especially entering the tourney on a seven-game losing streak. Heck, I even questioned if they were going to survive their opening round game against a 4-16 New Washington team.
The Rebels fooled most, but not themselves. They used emotional comebacks to knock off New Washington, followed by Rock Creek Christian to reach the sectional final. They played with a spirit and intensity missing, at least to me, since the opening game win over North Harrison. They carried that over into the finals against Borden, but the Rebels were out-matched, thus ending their season.
South Central coach Rob Murawski sat slumped after the game, realizing how hard it is to get to a sectional final. He shouldn’t slump long, as he loses just two seniors, including 1,000-point scorer Cody Jobe. On the up, they return four starters, including rapidly improving 6-foot-6 junior Randall Hertle next season.
The pair of Mid-Southern Conference teams Corydon Central and North Harrison had tough seasons record-wise. As fate would be, the two hooked up in the first round of the Class 3A sectional for the fourth year in a row. Despite struggling for wins the second half of the season, the Panthers survived the battle with North Harrison but were later ousted by Silver Creek.
It was trying times for Corydon Central much of the year. Freshman sensation Brandon Dunaway went down with an injury midway through the season, and it seemed the Panthers weren’t the same from that point. Senior Calvin Saulman capped a solid career by scoring his 1,000th point in the final game, but the team struggled to find an offensive groove while still playing fairly good defense.
Panther fans shouldn’t get too down. Sophomores Dylan Harl and Garett Ross showed they can handle starting roles while Dunaway should only get better. It may just take this trying season to motivate a resurgence next year.
And up in Ramsey, I think Chris Martin deserves the biggest pat on the back. This team played a fairly tough schedule early on, suffered through dropping the first eight games, but still believed in the coach’s system. The result was five wins, all coming in front of the home base.
The most memorable win came during the Jay Leno-hours of a Friday night, five-overtime thriller on homecoming against West Washington. In reality, North Harrison was not far from winning eight or nine games. They do lose several starters with the current senior class, but the Martin system is in, a relentless effort for 32 minutes. There are solid sophomores ready to pounce, so this team isn’t too far away.
Let the summer camps, AAU, individual workouts and all that conversation wait a bit. Let’s pick up a bat for a few months and enjoy March while I figure out the madness of my NCAA bracket (George Mason is back).