Twine Line: No regional teams? Its only been 90 years
Posted: 03/04/2013 at 7:00 pm
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Northridge senior Grant Legault, top, leaps from the bleachers as he and the rest of the student section cheer on their Raiders at the Elkhart Sectional championship game against Warsaw Saturday, March 2, 2013 at North Side Gym. The Raiders lost to the Tigers 64-57. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard)
Northridge's Nate Ritchie (40) and Austin Moniot (30) are given a consoling pat on the back as they leave the court with teammates following the sectional championship game at North Side Gym Saturday, March 2, 2013. Warsaw defeated the Raiders 64-57 to advance to Regionals. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard)
There is no regional-bound area boys high school basketball team whose story we’ll be tracking this week, and, unfortunately, that is the story.
For the first time in 90 years — yes, you read that right, 90 years — not a single Elkhart Truth coverage school is advancing out of an Indiana sectional.
The last time it happened was in 1923, when sectionals were also commonly referred to as districts, and since-consolidated Elkhart High lost in the third round to since-consolidated Lakeville High.
For Twine, it’s frankly an eerie and empty feeling, a lost-soul feeling, a cast-away feeling, a what-now feeling.
But, it’s also a fitting hammer-to-head reminder that a bunch of teams and players get that feeling every single season around this time of year.
Twine certainly doesn’t have as much invested in any one given season as those guys do.
Still, the only sporting-related thing I can vaguely liken to the sudden shock that I felt this past Saturday night after deadline is when I was 11 years old and on a 14-0 Little League team that lost in the first round of our league tourney.
Even after a 19-1 Concord club was stunned 41-39 in triple overtime by Warsaw during Friday’s Class 4A Elkhart Sectional semifinals, each of us in the sports department here was still reasonably sure we were going to have a regional entry.
After all, in the championship round, there was still Northridge about to get its turn at Warsaw. Over at 4A Mishawaka, we still had Penn, taking on South Bend Adams. Over at 3A Wawasee, we still had NorthWood, taking on Tippecanoe Valley. And over at 2A Westview, we still had Westview, taking on LaVille.
We agreed these were all tossup games. We could go anywhere from 4-for-4 to 0-for-4, but who would’ve bet on 0-for-4?
Talk about your about-face slap in the face.
Because just a year ago at this time, we were spoiled — and outrageously busy — thanks to Memorial, NorthWood, Marian and Westview, from among our 14 Indiana coverage schools, each earning regional spots.
It was the first time in 10 years that we had four teams make it to regionals.
Of course, there were many years that the Elkhart Sectional contained only area teams, so we were assured of a regional entry in each of those seasons.
Further, starting in 1998, the arrival of class basketball didn’t bring any guarantees, but it did bring a seemingly greater chance at multiple entries.
Yet, even before class, we were typically getting two or more schools onward to regionals during the glorious decade that was the 1990s.
In fact, 20 times in the 22-year window from 1991 to 2012 we had two or more schools make it. The exceptions were in 2003, when only Central won a sectional, and in 2008, when only Westview did so.
At the start of every season, a handful of friends typically ask me something like, “So, we got any semistate or any State teams this year?”
Not one of them has ever asked me, “So, we got any regional teams this year?” Ever.
That much was a given, that much was sort of taken for granted.
Even after the fact, it almost doesn’t feel like it’s happened.
At a minimum, it certainly did not happen in a year that seemed a prime candidate for it to happen.
Concord was ranked No. 8 in the state, and if anything at the end of the regular season, seemed to be surging.
The Minutemen were among many area clubs who helped provide us another banner-filled season.
Concord went 19-2, its second-best record in the last 23 years, and became the first school ever to win the Northern Lakes Conference by three games.
Westview went 20-4, its third straight 20-win season — a first in the Warriors’ ridiculously rich history — and ran the table in both the Northeast Corner Conference regular season and league tourney.
Penn went 17-5, its best record in six years, and captured a share of its first Northern Indiana Conference title in six years.
NorthWood went 16-7, its best record in six years.
Elkhart Christian went 14-8, the best record of its nine-year IHSAA membership.
Goshen went 14-8, its best record in 10 years.
And individually, Marian’s Demetrius Jackson (1,934 points) gave us our first McDonald’s All-American in 25 years and became the No. 2 scorer in area history, Markese McGuire (1,246) became the No. 2 scorer in Memorial history and Franko House (1,178) became the No. 5 scorer in Concord history. Speaking of those guys, our 37th annual All-Area team will be coming up later this month.
In the meantime, how in the world do all these team and individual feats equal no regional teams?
They don’t. It’s just something that happened, an aberration.
Twine doesn’t believe it’s a sign of anything. We’re still strong, our players will still work in the offseason, but now, for once, we will have to wait ’til next year. And the start of a new streak.
Contact Anthony Anderson at email@example.com or on Twitter @AnthonyAnders11.
The Truth’s All-Elkhart Sectional
Jared Bloom, Warsaw sr.
Blake Brouwer, Central sr.
Franko House, Concord sr.
Markese McGuire, Memorial sr.
Nate Ritchie, Northridge jr.
Sam Stegelmann, Goshen sr.
Jordan Stookey, Warsaw jr.
Anthony’s Twine 12
Team W-L 1. SB Adams (3) 21-2
2. Concord (1) 19-2
3. Plymouth (4) 20-3
4. Penn (2) 17-5
5. Triton (5) 17-5
6. NorthWood (6) 16-7
7. Warsaw (12) 13-10
8. LaVille (—) 18-6
9. Marian (9) 11-10
10. SB Clay (10) 14-9
11. Goshen (7) 14-8
12. Westview (8) 20-4
Last week’s ranking in parentheses. Teams chosen from among the 38 making up the NLC, NIC, NSC, NECC and independents Bethany and Elkhart Christian. Dropped out: SB Riley (11).