A quick update on local basketball.
First off, EHS fell one game short of taking their first regional title in 59 years. They won their Saturday morning contest in overtime,* their third straight one-point win, but dropped the championship game by 12 points. Still, a great year for a school that hadn’t had a winning record in ten years. They return almost their entire team, so I’m looking forward to following them again next year.
Regionals are single-day events. Four teams play semi finals in the morning/early afternoon, then the winners return for the championship game that evening. Believe it or not, I was not a big basketball fan growing up. Baseball was always my favorite sport to play and I just played basketball to do something in the winter. But I always liked single day tournaments. I remember once we had to play four games in a day. Love the fact Indiana still uses the single-day format for two rounds of the state playoffs.*
Returning to last week’s game, as I mentioned in my account there was a racial element to the wild finish to the sectional championship game. The losers, IHS, petitioned the state high school athletics association to move them to a different sectional next year. They claimed their players were subjected to racial taunts by the EHS crowd on Saturday. The official responsible for setting sectional match ups quickly shot the request down, noting that the IHS players instigated whatever interactions there were with the crowd and that they made no complaints about racial comments during the game.
I don’t know what was and was not said. The key encounter took place across the court from me in a very loud gym. I would not be surprised if someone in the crowd said something inappropriate. But, the IHS players never reacted as if they had heard any of the magic words from the crowd. They were far more upset with the referees than the crowd. It was only after the final technical foul that people on the bench began pointing at the crowd. The players on the court never grabbed the officials and pointed out people in the stands. Not that that means nothing was said; it just seems to me that if magic bombs were dropped, there would have been an immediate and obvious reaction from the players.
Also, and this means nothing at all, there were exactly two African Americans in the EHS crowd, and both were sitting in the area where the confrontation took place. Seems unlikely that any of the other fans would be dropping racial bombs with black folks sitting right next to them. Then again, maybe it was the black EHS fans who were heckling the IHS players. That would be ironic.
Whatever, it will make for an interesting rematch next year of the two teams meet in sectionals again.