Login NowClose 
Sign In to chronicle-tribune.com           
Forgot Password

Teams and fans ready for regionals

1 / 2
GIANTS: Marion Community Schools’ Superintendent Brady Lindsay talks with some M-Club members prior to a Giants’ home game. Marion will host NorthWood at 10 a.m. today in the first semifinal of the Marion Regional. New Castle faces Angola around 11:30 a.m. in Bill Green Arena.
2 / 2
EAGLES: Oak Hill students held a Red, White and Blue theme night against at the Golden Eagles final regular season game against Northwestern. Oak Hill meets host-Lapel around noon in the second semifinal of today’s Lapel Regional. Tipton plays Covington at 10:30 a.m. at the Madison County school.

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

With each passing game, the Indiana high school state basketball tournament generates more excitement and the anticipation of today’s regionals for Marion and Oak Hill is ready to become action.

The Giants and Golden Eagles stand just three wins away from a trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 24, but face the toughest day of the journey. Having to win two games in a single day, with just a few hours to prepare for the second if you’re fortunate enough to win, is simply a tough task.

Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay took an opportunity to address the Giants before practice on Wednesday. The former standout player and coach for Westfield in the 1980s and 90s talked to the team about the importance of their opportunity. 

“What a tremendous opportunity it is to play the game of basketball here in the state of Indiana, and Marion, Indiana.,” Lindsay said. “Everything they’ve done in their lives has led to this moment, the privilege it is, the honor it is and you’re representing the Giants Nation and that proud heritage.

“We’re proud of our students, we’re proud of all of our academic and music and athletics accomplishments,” he continued. “But right now, Saturday is special. This place is going to be rocking. It’s going to be full and you’ve got an opportunity in the hot bed of Marion, Indiana, the hot bed of Indiana basketball, to compete for a regional championship in a fantastic environment.” 

Bill Green Arena is certain to be filled with energy when the Giants tip off against NorthWood at 10 a.m. today in the first semifinal of the 3A Marion Regional. No. 1 New Castle meets Angola in the second game around 11:30 a.m. with the winners settling the championship at 8 p.m. 

It’s certain to be a similar environment when Oak Hill takes the floor against host-Lapel around noon. The 2A No. 8 Golden Eagles and Bulldogs will follow No. 9 Tipton and No. 1 Covington which tips at 10:30 a.m.

The three schools traveling to Lapel all notoriously travel well, and the quaint 3,200-seat gymnasium of the hosts is certain to be packed to capacity.

Oak Hill Athletic Director Ryan Fagan said the school was allotted 500 tickets that sold out rapidly and met Lapel officials in Elwood to pick up 200 more, which also quickly disappeared.

“We’re going to bring a pretty good crowd. It would surprise me if there were Oak Hill people that went to Lapel and bought tickets too because they (live) in Indianapolis and Noblesville. It’s going to be an electric atmosphere and its going to be full. If you didn’t get ticket ... you better get there early.” 

The “Get there early” was said in unison with Oak Hill Principal Mike McDivitt.

The Giants and Golden Eagles are both familiar with regional competition. Oak Hill has won a sectional three of the last four years while the Giants are in the regional for the second time in the last three seasons.

While there has certainly been excitement in preparing for today for both schools, two more wins will only help to build hysteria. 

“Between both our girls and boys programs the last couple of years, there is almost an expectation that sectional is something that we should win,” McDivitt said. “I think if we get past this week, and I think (today) will be a really, really tough test for our boys, I think we get past this week a lot of the excitement in the building will be greater.

“It’s pretty much been business as usual this week,” he added. “Of course we’ve had ISTEP this week too. If we are fortunate enough to win two games, next week will be a marked difference.”

Both McDivitt and Fagan said a fun part of this week has been reconnecting with people from the Oak Hill community. McDivitt mentioned former students from when he started teaching at the school in 1990 and a Swayzee neighbor of his.

Make no mistake, though, if either the Giants or Golden Eagles are to win a regional title today, Marion and Oak Hill fans alike could play a key role. With the grind of two games in a day, the teams could feed off an enthusiastic crowd. 

“I think the Marion fan base - the sixth man - is a key secret to past success and to current success,” Lindsay said. “Our fan base is like a player on the floor, They are active participants.

“Our fans are going to help us win. Our fans are going to give us the energy...,” he continued. “...We need our fans to bring their best.”