Warrior Nation. Warrior Family.
One sounds huge, public and, OK, even a bit clichéd. The other suggests something smaller, intimate and seems sacrilegious to even suggest is clichéd.
And yet both apply so fittingly to the Westview boys basketball program as it gets set to compete for a Class 2A state championship on Saturday, March 29, against top-ranked Indianapolis Park Tudor at Indy's Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Each side enters 23-4.
There certainly is a Warrior Nation. There certainly is a Warrior Family.
WESTVIEW ON THE AIR
Ways to take in the Warriors' approximately 12:45 p.m. Class 2A state tite game Saturday, March 29, against Indianapolis Park Tudor
TV: WHME, Ch. 46
Radio: WLEG 102.7, WRSW 107.3
The Nation can refer to the passionate and disproportionate following Westview has. In almost any season, even the seasons not as successful as this one, probably none of our area fans travel as well as the Warriors' do, and that's even though some of those fans travel by buggy.
And definitely none travel as well per capita. Remember, this is a 2A school.
"It's like fighting 3-pointers with free throws," Rob Yoder semi-kidded last week in reference to the population bases some schools can draw their fans from. "We have to hit a lot higher percentage."
At the Huntington North semistate last week, no surprise, but Westview featured the most fans among all four teams with an estimated 2,400 making the trip, beating out their 2A opponent, Cass, and dusting the 3A combatants that were present, Bowman Academy and Fort Wayne Dwenger.
"It's just a great part of our program, all the support that the fans give us," Westview standout center Chandler Aspy said this week.
Aspy is one of the many Warriors who both feels the Nation and lives the Family.
It seems on virtually any Westview team, there are younger brothers or cousins or kids of former Warrior players, and this current group is no exception.
"I kind of always wanted to surpass my brother," said Aspy, whose older brother, Taylor, was a senior standout on the 2007-08 powerhouse club that lost to eventual state champion Fort Wayne Luers in the semistate.
"I didn't really say anything about (indeed going a step further)," Aspy said of teasing his brother after the present team's semistate win. "I'm sure I will in the future, but he was there and he just gave me a big hug and said, 'Good job.’"
That 2007-08 Westview team went 24-2, the best winning percentage in Warrior history, even better than the marks achieved by the back-to-back champions of 1998-99 and 1999-2000.
"They were a great team," said Aspy, who attended all his older brother's games. "They played together, and Coach has compared us a lot to them over the years, which is kind of awesome."
Aspy's not alone in the family twist. Current junior backup Brody Jantzi is a cousin of former Warrior Justin Jantzi, a senior star on the 22-3 club that lost a regional final in 2011. And current sophomore backup Andrew Yoder is a younger brother of Brett Yoder, a senior starter a year ago, and a cousin to Justin Yoder, another senior standout from that '07-08 record-setting squad.
Often, of course, the Nation and the Family converge. After all, it's a family not just in blood, but in loyalty, and it's a nation in that some of the loyal family sometimes heads off to other places.
That worked out well for Westview on Friday, as the Warriors — already in Indy since Thursday for their Bankers Life Fieldhouse practice — headed over to Indy area high school Tri-West for one more practice.
The head coach at Tri-West is Adam Bontreger, a key player on Westview's back-to-back state title teams.
That tie made Friday's arrangement a natural for both the Warrior Nation and Warrior Family.
Reviewing last week's lone pick, Twine went against the grain and tabbed Westview to beat Cass.
This week, for the State Finals, I'll pick each game.
In the case of Westview, a much larger underdog than a week ago, one of Rob Yoder's observations keeps coming to mind.
"The whole season doesn't matter, and who would be better over 24 hours doesn't matter," Yoder said earlier this week. "Only 32 minutes matter, and that's a relatively short slice for determining who's going to win a game, but that's how a game is set up."
Read that how you will, and if anybody can pull shockers, it's Westview, but grudgingly, I've got to pick Park Tudor.
In 4A, I'll take Indianapolis Tech and Kentucky recruit Trey Lyles over Lake Central and Butler recruit Tyler Wideman. The teams also met during the regular season, with Tech winning 80-61. It'll be closer this time.
In 3A — featuring the first-ever matchup of defending state champs (Bowman Academy won the 2A crown last season) — I'll again go against the grain of what I'm hearing and take Greensburg, whose only loss all winter came in overtime.
In 1A, I'll take Barr-Reeve to nip Michigan City Marquette, which does have plenty of area ties. Marquette closed its regular season at North Side Gym, beating Elkhart Memorial 63-60, and one of the team's junior starters is Braxton Miller, the transfer from NorthWood.