It’s been awhile since I’ve shared any news from the road. Of course, there haven’t been a ton of really interesting stories from the winter sports season so far. But here are some tidbits to keep you updated on what I’ve been doing.

I forget if I shared my experience writing a preview on one of the boys teams we cover. So allow me to repeat myself if I did.

It was the first time I’ve talked to this coach, who has been at FHS for a year, but has been coaching since the 1970s. I had no idea what to expect. This guy was awesome. First all he warned me he was going to use a lot of words I couldn’t print in the paper. That’s ok, I answered, I have three daughters, I use those words a lot. His assistants, who were hanging out in his office, liked that response.

He jumped right to it when I asked him about if he was surprised how the team took to his coaching philosophy last year. “Well,” he said of his team’s 11-game winning streak in January and February, “we looked good because we were shitty for the first month of the season.” Can’t use that quote, but this is fun!

Later, after he had given me his roster breakdown and I asked where the kids fit into positions, such as a shooting guard, etc. he answered, “I wouldn’t put the word shooting in front of any of our kids, unless you’re talking about what I want to do to them after practice…”

This went of for 45 minutes or so. He wasn’t mean spirited at all. In fact a couple kids came into the office while we were talking and he would good naturedly rip them. They’d just smile and give it right back.

I could only use about 20% of the words he used, but it was one of the more enjoyable coaching interviews I’ve had.

For kids I’ve covered, one girl scored 32 and another has had both 30 and 32 point nights in front of me. Both are sophomores. The first girl balanced her 32 points with about 30 turnovers in an overtime loss. Room to grow, I guess. It reached the point where I would look away when she was about to pass instead of shoot.

The second girl plays for a team that’s been very good for 4-5 years but is down a little bit now. They play a 1-3-1 half-court zone much of the time, and at 5’9’’ she creates havoc at the top of it. On her 32-point night her coach left her in deep into the fourth quarter. They were up 15-20 the whole night, but never looked super comfortable. I didn’t think it was egregious to leave her in that long.

After the game ended, I was running through my stats and getting ready to write when I looked up and saw the two head coaches talking at mid-court. The opposing coach’s back was to me, but I noticed he seemed agitated. He jabbed his finger in the home coach’s face and then walked away. The home coach is about the nicest coach I’ve come across and he just stood there, clearly angry but not responding. I’m guessing it was a “discussion” about playing the pressing zone so long, leaving his best player in, and so on. We had an early deadline that night so I didn’t get a chance to ask him after.

Right before Christmas I had a great boys game down at ol’ EHS. They’re in a rebuilding mode after a nice four-year stretch, but are still a solid team. They were playing one of their biggest rivals and it was a terrific game all night. The visitors got a basket-and-foul at the buzzer of halftime to cut it to one. EHS hit a three just before the buzzer at the end of the third quarter, then the visitors threw in a 3/4 court shot that came just after the buzzer. Finally, down one, EHS went full court off a missed free throw and hit the game winner in the lane with :02 to play. A last-second heave missed and the home crowd went home happy.

There was a cameraman from one of the Indy TV stations taking video most of the night. When I got home, I switched around watching highlights and eventually found the right station. The cameraman stayed for the entire game and got a great shot of the game winner from under the basket. I say great because in the background you could see a good chunk of the crowd and the scorer’s/press area. In the upper left corner, just barely visible, was yours truly. While a couple hundred other people went nuts, I did a little shoulder jump then looked up to the clock to see how much time was left. Always a professional!

That’s it so far. We don’t have a truly great team in either boys or girls hoops this year. I’m covering what is probably the best team out of the bunch this week, so that will be fun. They’re not a state title contender, but should be a threat to get through their sectional next month.