Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Pride may be the first word that comes to mind upon entering Barr-Reeve High School.  The halls are lined with photos of student success, on and off the athletic field, and the trophy cases are filled to capacity with one championship after another.  All of this with an enrollment that hovers around 300, from a school that has more than once boasted a 100% graduation rate.  The boys basketball teams have posted 11 wins or more for 40 straight years, 12 Sectional titles, 4 Regional crowns and been state runner-up four times.  But, on this Saturday, I came to see Mark Holt's Lady Vikes take the floor. Almost perfectly square, with a semi-domed roof, this 1959 gym is wrapped in wooden bleachers and highlighted in black and red - a cozy environment to all but visiting teams.  The 2014-15 squad is not very deep and not very tall.  "We've essentially got 5 guards," one fan told me.  But, these five do what guards do best - they pass, dribble, weave and score.  Today, Pike Central was on the receiving end, 51-23.  And now, with 20 games down, two more to go and winning by an average of 23, the season has come down to a few single digit numbers.  And those six or seven will get them to where they want to go - #1.  CGS.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


In the last year we have visited old gyms, ones that are moving into middle age and soon, some new ones.  None, however, hold history in every square inch the way Rushville Memorial does. From its limestone trimmed brick exterior to its trophy cases filled with consolidation memorabilia to the hand numbered wooden bleachers, Rushville, built in 1926, is a living monument to Indiana high school basketball. Always in a state of quiet expectation, it explodes into life when the fans roll in and the teams take the floor.  A tradition of excellence can also be found here, as the boys teams have won 48 Sectionals (2 before the gym was built), 19 Regionals and 1 Semistate.  And the girls - 29 Sectional crowns, 11 Regionals and 4 Semistates.  If experiencing the heart beat of Indiana high school basketball is your goal, you'll find no better trip than the one that ends where the Lions play.  CGS.

Monday, January 12, 2015

old rivals

For 91 years the small towns & schools of Ripley County have settled their differences on the basketball court and at one time all have held high the champion's trophy. Versailles - 1922, Osgood - 1939, Holton -1940, Napoleon - 1943, Milan - 1954, New Marion - 1961, Sunman - 1963, Batesville - 1980, South Ripley - 1989, Jac-Cen-Del - 1993. Even interlopers from Dearborn County have appeared on the winners list:  Aurora -  1977, South Dearborn - 1985 and East Central - 1987.  The sites of the annual tourney rotate from year to year, enrollment doesn't matter nor does gym size - everyone has a shot, to host & to win.  2015 brought the girls to Milan, the gym of the storied 1954 state champs (although not their home at the time) and the trophy to the Batesville Lady Bulldogs.  The rest of the season will take these teams to different paths on the state championship trail all the while knowing that next January they will all be back together, battling for bragging rights once again.  CGS.