Welcome back to the blog! As much as I’d like to blog every week and give you my thoughts more often it’s pretty much impossible. Calling games on the weekend, writing newspaper articles nearly seven days a week, and making sure the youth of the world doesn’t eat glue or pick boogers makes for a hectic schedule.
But with a rare day off it’s finally time to interact with the rest of you. With January upon us and the countdown towards tournament time now in full force, here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly heading into the second half of the basketball season.
- Local Teams Dominating 3A Rankings – #1 Greensburg (12-0), #5 Batesville (7-2) and #13 Madison (6-1) have combined to go 25-3 this season and have given this area three powerhouse teams. I could lay on the couch and write all night about the Pirates and the Bulldogs as both were expected to receive much publicity and accolades this season but I’d just be repeating what everyone knows about those teams. The Cubs on the other hand, have quietly dominated and made their way into the rankings. A team with a little bit of everything (including one of the best backcourt duos around in Nick Macon and Landon Perry) that plays in one of the state’s toughest conferences (Hoosier Hills Conference), Madison is beginning to look like a potential team that could knock off Brownstown Central in the sectional and compete in the south regional at Washington. With regular season matchups featuring Greensburg/Batesville and Madison/Greensburg still looming, there’s also the possibility that the winner of the Greensburg Sectional could play Madison in the regional, putting some local flavor inside the Hatchet House in March.
- You Mean the Ohio River Valley Conference Has Four Good Teams? – Since about 2009 (5 years for those of you who don’t feel like counting), the ORVC hasn’t been quite what it used to be even years before that when nearly all seven teams were competitive, making the race for the conference crown a fun one. By mid-January we’re usually talking about two teams battling for the title but FINALLY we’ve got more teams vying. As of right now, the ORVC features four teams that will be battling for first place the next two months; Switzerland County, Jac-Cen-Del, Milan and South Ripley. Switzerland County and South Ripley have duked it out in the past and with talent returning this season were expected to compete up at the top. But throw in a a young yet maturing JCD team and a Milan team that might be Josh Blankinship’s best team since the 2011-2012 year and you’ve got intriguing matchups in the next two months that will decide the top four places in the ORVC. The race begins on Saturday when South Ripley travels to Switzerland County!
- Abundance of Talent – Greensburg, Batesville, Madison, Switzerland County, South Ripley, Milan, Jac-Cen-Del. Go see any of these teams play and I guarantee you’ll come away impressed with one or more players. It’s been a breath of fresh air seeing this many teams have some talented kids that are fun to watch. Basketball is a team sport and one player doesn’t win a ballgame but even if any of these teams happen to have a rare bad game, you’ll still walk away having seen some of the best individual talents this area has seen since a stretch that lasted from about 2004-2009. There are many on these teams that are destined to continue their playing careers at the next level.
- The EIAC – Once one of the best conferences in the entire state, the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference has dropped off considerably the past couple years with Greensburg and Batesville as the only teams who have had any kind of success. With Rushville and Connersville now members, the conference has added a little flavor and more competition but it is still far off in terms of what it once was. With the Pirates and Bulldogs losing their superstars in the next couple years, the EIAC may eventually even back out.
- Money – Yes money and high school basketball goes together. Why? Because it seems like going to a basketball game costs more than most other activities do anymore. Imagine a family of four. It’s five bucks per person to get in ($20), then your kids who are future players want to get halftime shooting tickets ($5-$10), then you’ve got those parents who stock up their annoying brats on concession stand food then let them run all over the gym unsupervised (add another $10) and finally throw in gas money to get to a game and the various organizations selling you split the pot and raffle tickets and suddenly basketball games turns into a near $50 venture. Luckily for me I get to sign in for free and usually get food and drink for free!
- Fans – There’s nothing better than a gym packed with enthusiastic and sold out crowds watching their respective teams go at it. But lately fans have ruined going to games (The first two rows of Greensburg fans nearly ruined the Hall of Fame Classic for me….and by the way you all were obnoxious and sounded like idiots). Those of you who go to games and act like complete morons please realize this; there aren’t many good officials around anymore. You want to know why the old /bad ones remains? It’s because nobody wants to deal with a bunch of yayhoos who sound like they just got back from a Blue Collar Comedy Tour concert. Therefore no new officials take shape and you’re left with all the bad ones. If you know so much about the game of basketball and think you officiate better in the stands then those on the floor do, then I suggest getting your license. Then that way when everyone realizes you know about as much as basketball as an all-state chess player then we can all sit and scream at you!
- Concession Stand Popcorn – It’s a must for me. If I’m at a basketball game I have to get popcorn. If I don’t then it’d be like going to Steak and Shake and saying, “I’ll pass on the burgers and shakes but I’d love a glass of water and some grilled cheese!” But every school I’ve been to this year has had terrible popcorn. Folks it’s called salt and a little butter. Sure you may burn down the concession stand attempting the right recipe but you’ve got to do something because this straight up putting kernels in the machine then serving it without putting a thing on it isn’t going to cut it. Worse comes to worse if you put too much salt on it then you’re going to make even more money because people will need water or pop to help digest that stuff!
That’s all for tonight! Feel free to comment, share with your friends or interact with me. I’m on Facebook (my profile picture is Calbert Cheaney and I) and you can also follow me on Twitter (@RobLafary). May your 2014 be even better than 2013!