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Hamilton County Sports Daily
  • Hoosier Crossroads Conference champion Westfield drew the Class 4A Sectional 8 bye

    Hoosier Crossroads Conference champion Westfield drew the Class 4A Sectional 8 bye in Tuesday’s IHSAA baseball draw.

    But the road to a potential sectional championship won’t be an easy one by any stretch of the imagination

    That’s because the Sectional 8 at Zionsville is arguably the state’s toughest sectional.

    Any one of the teams in our sectional is capable of winning it. It is a meat-grinder,’’ said Westfield coach Ryan Bunnell, whose Shamrocks drew the bye in the seven-team field.

  • Softball draw kind to Lady Millers

    Everyone would gladly take a bye if they could hit the jackpot in the IHSAA tournament draw.

     

    Doubt that anyone ever heard a coach complain about having to win only two games instead of three.

     

    So, no question that coach Mike Ramsey and his Noblesville Lady Millers will be more than happy to watch and wait their turn to make a bid to win the Fishers Softball Sectional, which unfolds on May 25.

  • OK, who do you like to advance out of Class 4A Sectional 8 at Carmel High School?

    Would you likely lean toward the host Greyhounds or North Central, or even possibly defending champion Hamilton Southeastern?

    Southeastern, you say?

    OK, a stretch, maybe, but...

    Despite a mere seven wins to show for their efforts, the Royals are athletic and have been competitive in most games, and I think most would agree that teams in the lower bracket have an easier path to the championship game.
  • I love the honesty of some basketball coaches when you ask them a question and then they answer it despite the fact the subject may be somewhat controversial.

    You can always expect a direct answer, no small talk, or a feeling that they are trying to find ways to avoid a question.

    At least, in most cases, that is!

    Some coaches even react quite quickly, maybe even before running the question through the thought process.
  • In some ways, kids today really have it pretty easy when it comes to sports and the many opportunities that are made available to them.

    Basketball is an excellent example.

    For one thing, kids have more opportunities to hone their skills in the summertime. And college coaches turn out in numbers to get a close look at potential future stars.
  • About this time each year, or at least for the past three or four years, conversation about the shot clock in Indiana High School Basketball seems to surface.

    So, is it time for change? I mean really time for change?

    One reader recently brought up the shot clock topic, wanting to know if I have heard anything new.

    I replied, "Not lately, but thanks for asking.'
  • Some folks in Northwest Indiana were unhappy over actions Indiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Bobby Cox recently took after a fight that broke out between the Hammond and Griffith boys' basketball teams.

    Cox, of course, canceled the seasons of the two programs.

    Not just in boys' basketball....but in ALL sports at ALL levels of high school competition, including any and all tournament basketball this season.
  • Sports rivalries can trigger many reactions and emotions.

    Some good, some bad.

    There have been a few instances where the student body in the Noblesville High School section have yelled, "We hate C-a-r-m-e-l.'

    Just good, spirited fun involving two longtime rivals?

    Yeah, probably. You would hope so.
  • What goes around often comes around.

    The Hamilton Southeastern High School boys' basketball program is a prime example of what can happen.

    Coach Brian Satterfield's teams have enjoyed a really good run the past six seasons.

    Yeah, life in the penthouse was good, for sure.

    Unfortunately, no such VIP treatment this season.
  • A lot of folks were probably wondering if we'd ever really see much parity again in Indiana high school basketball.

    Well, in most cases, the gap seems to be closing, and there does seem to be a lot more balance, if you will.

    This is until you start talking about Class 2A.

    I mean just look what's been happening. Look what's happening right here in Central Indiana. Certainly, the 2015 state tournament appears to be wide open, at least in the upper classes for girls' and boys' teams. But in Class 2A, well ... it doesn't appear to be quite that wide open.
  • The Carmel girls' swimming team figures to have a date with history.

    The pursuit begins Thursday and concludes on Saturday in the Noblesville Sectional. Competition will intensify at the state finals on Feb. 13-14 at the IU Natatorium on the IUPUI campus.

    The last 28 state championships in a row were special, of course.
  • Now, it gets interesting, real interesting for the last two teams still standing in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference.

    Maybe even more so for the Noblesville Lady Millers, who are trying to dethrone four-time defending HCC champion Hamilton Southeastern.

    It could be a shootout to remember. Expect a lot of pop and bang at The Mill on Saturday night.

  • When you're the winningest coach in Indiana high school football history, perks are to be expected. It's not every day a coach like Larry "Bud" Wright comes along and does what he has for the past 49 years.

    Even to type that number is astonishing. And really, it should be.

    49 years.

    There aren't many men that would choose to commit that much time or nearly their entire professional lives to a singular pursuit for almost five decades.

    But with commitment comes the rewards, and the legendary Sheridan head football coach definitely has achieved those.

    392 victories. Nine state championships. Enshrinement into the Indiana High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame. The honor of coaching on a field every year that bears your name.

  • So, where is the best boys basketball played in Indiana?

    What area of the state seems to show the most interest in the 105 years of IHSAA championship basketball?

    A former player and basketball coach I have regular chats with contends that Indiana is more of a basketball state from Martinsville on down south.

    Up north, he believes that Warsaw and Plymouth are probably the best basketball towns, especially when it comes to the overall hoopla.

  • In some circles, Class Basketball remains a hot topic among many of the Hoosier basketball faithful.

    Oh, it might not surface in a heated manner all that often, but I still believe that there are many folks with an opinion about the way it was and the way it is, and maybe the way it could be better.

    Touch on the subject with the Old Guard and see the response you get. They will never come around and be content with the four-class format that has been in place since the 1997-98 season.

  • Let's think back, and then see where we are now when it comes to Class Basketball.

    Surely, you remember in the late 1990s when the Indiana High School Athletic Association scrapped our one-class state tournament championship format for the multi-class format.

    Of course you do ... four classes ... a new way of life ... a new culture in Indiana sports. It hit quite a nerve among a lot of us. Many fans were up in arms. Our Game had been deflated.

    Eighteen years ago. Wow, how time flies.

  • The decision the Hoosier Crossroads Conference made in not inviting Harrison, Lafayette Jeff and McCutcheon back into the fold was a wise decision, one that was generally regarded as a positive move among the four Hamilton County schools.

    But going from 10 teams to seven teams puts more of a premium on HCC victories, as well as making it even more difficult to win a conference championship.

    Basketball is a prime example of this in the first season of the seven-team conference.
  • The Class 6A sectional football landscape could be changing in Hamilton County in 2015.

    One of the four schools from Sectional 4 likely will be moving north - either to the Region in Northwest Indiana or to Fort Wayne.

    Will it be two-time defending sectional champion Carmel, the state runner-up the past two seasons?

    Will it be Noblesville, which has not had a winning season since 2001?

  • If you are a football fan and did not understand the schedule change for the 2014 IHSAA state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium, well, you were not alone.

    Why was the Class 6A title game played on Friday night, when the big-school championship has been decided in prime time on a Saturday night in the past?

    Someone joked to me that the move was likely made because Cathedral, which was going for its fifth straight championship, would move up to the 6A ranks in 2015 (thanks to the Tournament Success Factor point totals for the past two seasons), and maybe it was just a way to give the Irish a little extra pat on the back.

  • One of the strangest stories I came across in late 2014 became a national story right here in Indiana - in Franklin to be precise.

    I'm sure many of our Hoosier golfers heard about how Ted Bishop, co-owner of The Legends Golf Club, was treated by the PGA of America.

    I understand what Bishop - the former president of golf's governing body who was removed from golf's highest office - said and likely meant with his "lil' girl' comment on Twitter. He was referring to European golfer Ian Poulter, who has made some questionable comments of his own.

  • Looking back on the 2014 high school sports season in Hamilton County, it was a real doozy.

    Some of stories that made news . . . and memories:

    What a year for the Noblesville High School baseball team! The Millers hit it out of the ball park, registering a golden moment for the Millers Nation.

    It was simply a June to remember.

  • When the decision was made to make a coaching change in the Noblesville High School boys' basketball program, not everyone was on board. Certainly not all of the Miller fans.

    What Noblesville basically did was replace a hall of fame coach (Dave McCollough) for what will likely be a future hall of fame coach in Brian McCauley.

    What Noblesville did was replace old school for new school, if you will. Simply a new direction for a program that school administration brass thought was needed.

    And the early result? So far, so good.
  • In my early years in the newspaper business, I was tutored by a couple of veteran sports editors who taught me a lot.

    They are deceased, though likely still pounding on keyboards in heaven.

    I also remember one thing in particular both were in agreement on when it came to high school basketball: They believed that boys basketball never peeked until mid-January.

    Their rationale was that the interest really wasn't there the first couple of months of the season and, quite frankly, their thinking was that there wasn't much to get excited about.

  • Okay, Santa, I know it's been a long, long time since you've heard from me.

    I've been away a few months enjoying some much-needed R&R, though all of those missed fairways and sand bunker shots and an inability to get a grip on the yips didn't exactly alleviate some stress.

    Anyway, it's time to shift back into full gear in the writing department. I've really missed it. Been chomping at the bit, and looking forward to doing what I hopefully do best. And, quite frankly, what I love to do!
  • Like most of us, long checkout lines, gridlocked traffic jams and ugly sweaters are probably perched high atop your Christmas list of to-dos this time of the year.

    Honestly, it wouldn't be the holiday season without these tried-and-true traditions. What's a warm and fuzzy Christmas morning without them?

    The same can be said for the days after Christmas aka the holiday hangover. It's a time to decompress - and for those lucky enough to have some time off - go have some fun, return some white elephant gifts and relax until the wackiness of New Year's Eve.

  • I knew it was going to be a weird night once I walked up to the press box at Tri-Central High School last Friday. For those of you unfamiliar with the mighty Trojans media pen, imagine the complete opposite of Carmel Stadium's press box. It's drafty. It's slightly cramped. It has character, yes, but unfortunately, it has limited seating and field sightlines.

    I had neither while covering Larry "Bud" Wright's Sheridan Blackhawks second meeting with Tri-Central as the two programs dueled to decide the Sectional 44 title.

    Caught in front of window covered in an unidentifiable, smeared and hazy white paint and surrounded by more than a dozen workers, radio broadcasters and writers, I had to think quickly on my feet - quite literally.
  • There are terms in sports that hold a ton of weight, both figuratively and quite literally.

    Heavyweight bout.

    Main event.

    Big class football.

    Does anyone else remember a few years ago when the latter was the "big" craze in the Indiana High School football community? I sure do. For those of you needing a quick refresher, it was way back in 2011-12.

  • Everyone ha$ an angle.

    That'$ one of the fir$t thing$ I learned pretty fa$t eight year$ ago when I $tarted working for a daily new$paper.

    When you talk to a $ource about an i$$ue you have to make $ure you report on the other $ide a$ well. There alway$ i$ another $ide to a $tory.
  • It amazes me how as things change, things really stay the same.

    It's an amazing day that we live in. With today's technology you have the ability to follow the action of all county football games on a Friday night, from your living room sofa if you so desired.
  • It's hard to believe that the girls golf regular season is almost over.

    Time flies pretty fast in the world of high school sports. It feels like school just started and that sports just got started up again.
  • Welcome to Friday football fans.

    I trust you have your tickets in hand. Get ready for another exciting week of high school football.

    Week four is shaping up to be a pretty important week for Hamilton County teams.
  • High school football is a funny thing.

    You can look at the match-ups and say that one team is favored over the other. You can say that this team needs to get a win if they want to turn their season around. You can say that if they want to compete in their conference they have to win this week.
  • I brought it on myself. Last week I put together a Friday football story talking about rain and lightning being in the forecast.
  • A field of 132 lady golfers will converge in Noblesville this weekend for the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship.

    Harbour Trees Golf Club in Noblesville will be on display for the next six days as the field gets trimmed until a champion is crowned Thursday in the 18 hole Championship round. This marks the first USGA championship conducted at Harbour Trees.
  • Hello world!

    I hope you had a relaxing Labor Day weekend. I can hardly believe that September is here already. Sport seasons fly by so fast.

    We are entering week three of the football season. The Millers are 2-0 on the year and will be heading to Fishers to take on the 1-1 Tigers in Hoosier Crossroads Conference action this week.
  • There are few things than are better than a Friday night in Indiana in the fall.

    Every Friday night in communities all over the state the lights go on and legends are born. High school athletes take the field and write the stories that they will be talking about for years.
  • The most dangerous opponent in sports in the one you overlook.

    That statement seems obvious. Think about how often in college football the big school gets beat the small school. It doesn't happen every time, but when a team is looking ahead to their next opponent instead of the team in front of them funny things can happen.
  • Whenever you hear of a student-athlete transferring from one school to another, it can be for a number of reasons.

    Usually, though, it is for athletics, it seems. Obviously, that may only be my opinion, but . . . I just think that most school systems are darn good in the area, certainly in Hamilton County, so I don't see many kids going elsewhere for academic reasons.
  • Golden moment for legendary high school coach
    The year was 1965.

    Bear Bryant and his underdog and once-beaten Alabama Crimson Tide were named national champions by the Associated Press after upsetting Nebraska winning the Orange Bowl... Southern Cal's Mike Garrett was the No. 1 vote-getter for the Heisman Trophy . . . Urban Meyer, the man who now coaches perennial football power Ohio State, was a 1-year-old...and Larry "Bud' Wright became a head football coach at a Newton County school that no longer exits.

    There were some bumps for a few years, including a 1-win season in his first varsity position. His next stop was Sheridan, his alma mater. Once he got the foundation laid and the program on the right track, well, the rest is history.
  • It's time to think high school football
    The calendar says it's July 25. That means the 2014 Indiana high school football season kicks off in less than a month.

    So while football enthusiasts start looking ahead to the Aug. 22 openers - likely with some degree of uncertainly as to what to expect in terms of wins and losses, here's a look at some things we know for certain as we start thinking about upcoming season.
  • "Doc" knows his golf - Boy, does he ever!
    When it comes to Hamilton County golf, John "Doc' O'Neal may not necessarily be in a league of his own....but he's right there with the best when it comes to golf history and overall knowledge, and course management and etiquette, and what it takes to keep the customers happy in the great sport, the great game in general.
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Hamilton County Sports Daily
a division of Sagamore News Media