Twine Line: Austin's mustache a must-go after Concord's sectional title

After the Minutemen won the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional, Steve Austin fulfilled a promise and parted with a look he's had for 37 years. Plus, regional pairings, area scoring leaders.

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 6:46 p.m.

Thanks to the Concord Minutemen playing like a team with hair on its chest, their coach no longer has any above his lip.

The Minutemen knocked off two opponents they lost to during the regular season — first beating Elkhart Memorial by 17, then taking down No. 17-ranked sectional favorite Northridge 67-62 — before capping their run to a Class 4A Elkhart Sectional boys basketball title last week by disposing of lately-hot Goshen 50-45.

(Through March 10)
Team                          W-L
 1. Penn (1)                      22-1
 2. NorthWood (3)           21-2
 3. Northridge (2)            18-3
 4. SB Washington (4)   14-5
 5. SB St. Joseph (6)     17-6
 6. Westview (7)              20-4
 7. Concord (9)               15-8
 8. SB Adams (5)           13-8
 9. Elkhart Christian (8) 17-5
10. SB Riley (12)            14-9
11. Goshen (10)            13-10
12. Marian (11)               14-9

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.

As a result, Concord coach Steve Austin shaved off his mustache on Monday, March 10, to fulfill a promise he made to his team early in the season if they won the sectional.

Such an inducement may not sound like that much of a sacrifice, but it was for Austin.

"I've had it for 37 years, since I graduated from college," Austin said. "It's a real big deal."

It also may not sound like much of a motivation, but it was for these Minutemen.

"Definitely," junior forward Danny McMahon declared with a wide grin as he celebrated the title Saturday, March 8, at North Side Gym. "We had a team meeting a few weeks ago and said the things we were doing this for, and we said we're doing it for ourselves, we're doing it for the families, we're doing it for the coaches, and we're doing it for the 'stache."

Austin valued his 'stache the way a squirrel values his stash.

"I thought they would forget all about it," Austin said of the his promise. "I forgot all about it."

"There's no way we'd forget about that," said his son and junior forward Brett Austin. "I've never seen him without his mustache."

It was the younger Austin who had proclaimed in a Christmas Day tweet to teammates that his dad would indeed shave the mustache if Concord won the sectional.

Ramon Johnson (Concord sr.)
Filip Serwatka (Concord jr.)
Brady Bechtel (Goshen so.)
Jack Gingerich (Goshen jr.)
Nate Ritchie (Northridge sr.)
Derald Gray (Central sr.)
Tray Qualls (Memorial sr.)

The hair came off after the Minutemen's short shoot-around on Monday, March 10.

About an hour before that, Austin was asked if he'd let the players do the honors themselves.

"Heck no, they ain't touching me," Austin said. "I do wanna live."

The coach's first public appearance with his clean face was set to come quickly, as he was planning to head over to South Bend Washington on Monday evening to scout Penn (21-1) against South Bend Riley (14-8) in that sectional final.

Concord (15-8) faces the winner in the second Class 4A Michigan City Regional semifinal on Saturday, March 15. That matchup follows the Lake Central (19-3) vs. LaPorte (16-7) semifinal, set for 11 a.m. ET. The championship is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.


Westview has tied an area record by winning at least 20 games for the fourth straight season.

Coach Rob Yoder's Warriors, who will play in Saturday's 2A North Judson Regional, are tied with Indianapolis Park Tudor for the second-longest such active streak in the state, too.

Brownstown Central has a string of six 20-win seasons going.

Among area teams, Westview tied Bill Milliner's Elkhart High clubs that won 20 or more each season from 1950-51 to 1953-54.

For an idea of just how hard 20-win seasons can be to come by, even for some of the our area's many traditionally solid programs, NorthWood just accomplished the first one in its 45-year history last week on its way to winning the 3A Wawasee Sectional, while Northridge has achieved one such season in the last 18 years, Elkhart Central's notched one in the last 19, Fairfield's managed one in the last 33 and Goshen owns one in the last 45.


While Goshen came up just short of its first Elkhart Sectional crown in 45 years, the Redskins took great care — specifically of the ball — in trying.

Over 12 quarters of sectional play, Goshen committed just 14 turnovers, including four in the loss to Concord.

"I think all three games were really clean for us," Redskin coach Brian Bechtel said. "We had some of our best points per possession (figures) we've had all year."

Goshen shot 44-of-100 from the field in the sectional, but with 15 made 3-pointers, and added 49-of-66 from the line for 74 percent.

During the regular season, the Redskins shot 42 percent from the field with an average of 4.4 made 3s, hit 66 percent from the line and committed an average of 12.2 turnovers per game.

A bit remarkably, Goshen was playing its neighboring rival in a sectional final for the first time since 1986. The Minutemen won that '86 meeting, too.

Further, when the Redskins beat Warsaw in the first round, it marked just the second time ever that those Northern Lakes Conference foes have met in postseason, the other being Goshen's 1969 Elkhart Regional championship win over the Tigers.


(All Saturday, March 15; Eastern Times)


Lake Central (19-3) vs. LaPorte (16-7), 11 a.m.

Concord (15-8) vs. Penn (22-1), follows

Championship, 8 p.m.


FW Dwenger (15-8) vs. NorthWood (21-2), 10 a.m.

Muncie Central (10-11) vs. Norwell (19-6), follows

Championship, 8 p.m.


Woodlan (18-6) vs. Winamac (14-8), 11 a.m.

Hammond Noll (21-3) vs. Westview (20-4), follows

Championship, 8:30 p.m.


                                      W-L   Off   Def

(Through March 8)

Penn                           21-1    69.7  54.4

NorthWood                21-2    65.4  49.0

Westview                   20-4    59.9  48.1

Northridge                 18-3    62.4  54.4

Elkhart Christian      17-5    68.2  48.4

Concord                     15-8    57.2  50.9

Marian                        14-9    58.1  53.3

Fairfield                      12-9    57.2  53.2

Goshen                    13-10   48.8  49.4

Elkhart Memorial      8-13   55.0  59.5

Jimtown                     7-14   46.2  47.4

Elkhart Central         5-16   55.9  59.0

Wawasee                 4-17   45.8  54.3

Bethany Christian   3-18   44.6  60.4


                                              G Pts Avg

Nate Ritchie, Northridge 21 505 24.0

Devin Cannady, Marian 23 504 21.9

Zach Zurcher, NWood 23 448 19.5

Ramon Johnson, Concord 23 438 19.0

Jon Wilkinson, NWood 23 412 17.9

Cory Waycaster, ECA 22 391 17.8

Jordyn Bontrager, Westview 24 419 17.5

Jordan Geist, Penn 22 377 17.1

Joe Line, Fairfield 21 356 17.0

Tray Qualls, Memorial 7 114 16.3

Filip Serwatka, Concord 23 361 15.7

Ryan Kupferschmid, ECA 22 343 15.6

Dimitri Giger, Memorial 21 321 15.3

Chandler Aspy, Westview 23 351 15.3

Sol Brenneman, Bethany 21 286 13.6

Alex Clark, Wawasee 21 283 13.5

Treyton Harris, Central 21 271 12.9

Deric Haynes, Goshen 23 276 12.0

Billy Doslak, Penn 22 274 12.5

Nick Floyd, Jimtown 21 260 12.4

Abe Thorne, Bethany 21 259 12.3

Will Stueve, NorthWood 23 263 11.4

Pete Smith, Northridge 21 240 11.4

Cameron Maxwell, Memorial 21 235 11.2

Brady Bechtel, Goshen 13 144 11.1

Gage Reinhard, Wawasee 21 22910.9

Austin Woolett, Goshen 23 248 10.8

A.J. Gary, Memorial 21 193 9.2

Jamar Weaver, Westview 24 218 9.1

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