It’s been a busy two weeks out on the road.
I’ve covered three girls basketball games, a boys game, and the girls state swimming championships. Oh, and there was the night I drove into the ice storm. Some notes.
Saturday I covered a girls sectional championship game. It was IHS, which features the best player in the county who dropped 40 the last time I had them, going for their second sectional title in three years. In classic dumb, blind-draw Indiana tournament fashion, IHS played the second-best team in the sectional (who had beaten them in last year’s title game) in the opening round. Meanwhile an 0-21 team and a 2-19 team were both on the other side of the bracket.
Like I said, dumb.
Thus IHS entered the final as massive favorites, playing a team with 12 wins, but none against any decent teams. Before the game IHS fans were talking about how quickly the game would end so they could go do other things. IHS scored on their first two possessions, forced two straight turnovers on the other end, and the rout seemed to be on. But DHS managed to put together an effective defense that gummed up the game and kept them in it. It was 20-15 IHS at halftime, and 22-19 two minutes into the second half.
Then IHS finally caught fire. They went on a 9-0 run. That turned into a 22-6 run. Which eventually became a 46-15 run by the end of the game. I hadn’t done a sectional game in two years, and it’s obviously much more fun to cover a winner.
Friday night I handled the preliminary rounds of the girls state swim meet downtown. I’d done the boys finals twice before and the prelims are a breeze compared. They get those girls in the water fast, there are no awards ceremonies, and a lot of the families who come from the nether regions of Indiana for Saturday’s finals aren’t there on Friday, so the crowds are easier to manage. It was an easy night out.
Thursday was the night I went to Bloomington. I was covering CGHS against BSHS, which would have been a great game 3-4 years ago. BSHS won state titles in 2009 and 2011 behind the starting point guard for IU and a starter for Butler. CGHS’ starting point guard is now at IU as a redshirting walk-on and will be one of those rare walk ons who plays a bit. Another kid from two years ago is at Butler as well. But those guys are gone, both teams are young, and CGHS took it on the chin to the tune of a 21-point loss.
Finally, there was the ice event I mentioned last week. I was on my way down to IHS for their final girls home game. It is normally an hour drive. I was 40 minutes from home, cruising at normal speeds, when traffic came to an abrupt stop. The roads went from dry with blowing, light snow to covered in a sheet of ice instantly. Cars were spinning out on the opposite side of the highway. The first exit ramp I came to was blocked by two tractor-trailers that couldn’t get up the hill. As I continued to the next exit, I was behind a large truck that, each time we went down the slightest decline, had its trailer start to fishtail around it. I kept the right wheels on the shoulder so they could get some traction from the rumble-strips. Finally, after and hour and 20 minutes, I had traversed the 12 miles from where the ice started to where I could finally get off the interstate. I called my editor who told me to go home, so I cut over to the state highway and headed back north. Same story. For roughly 15 miles, everything was iced over and traffic never crept above 10 miles an hour. But I made it home safely, driving for four hours to make a big circle.
Despite the one loss, my Total Margin Factor for the season is up to +48. There is still a month left in the boys basketball season, but most of our teams are at least decent this year and I think that’s safely in the psitive for this year.