May 21, 2024

Washington, IND – The scene is set and the stakes are high. The Sectional Championship is on the line tonight in front of over 7,000 rabid Indiana high school basketball fans at what may be the finest high school arena in the country, The Hatchet House. This feels like a scene right out of the greatest sports movie ever made, “Hoosiers.” While writing this article I can’t help but be reminded of the speech that Norman Dale gave to his team right before their regional championship game…

There’s a um, tradition in tournament play to not talk about the next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you. I’m sure going to the state finals is beyond your wildest dreams so let’s just keep it there. Forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here. Focus on the fundamentals that we’ve gone over time and time again, and most important don’t get caught up thinking about winning or losing this game. If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to being the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we are going to be winners. Okay!!

Gene Hackman as Norman Dale/ Hoosiers

That speech right there encapsulates what Hoosier Hysteria is all about. And Norman Dale could very well have been speaking to either of tonight’s competitors. Albeit it in a bit of a reversed way as tonight the “smaller” school should be considered the favorites, and the “bigger” school, the underdogs.

The North Daviess Cougars, through all the noise and distractions this year, have done what they have been doing for the past 4 years. Winning. They don’t care about your opinion of them skipping 2A to “avoid Linton and Brownstown.” They don’t care about their place in the rankings, although some of their fans have made it clear to me that they do. All they care about is playing sound fundamental basketball and bringing another Sectional Championship back home to Elnora and Odon. I spoke with Coach Brent Dalrymple a bit before the first game of the sectional that he was there scouting. I asked him if his young men were ready. In true Coach Dal fashion he responded as I knew he would, “Oh we’re ready.”

And I believe him. I believe him because this group of young men that he has coached for the past 4 years have been special. The kind of special that only comes by once in a great while. They’ve played on the biggest of stages, fought through adversity and more often than not, come out on top.

And tonight, they will look to do the same.

See ya’ll there. I wouldn’t miss this game for the world.

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