Saturday, March 14, 2009

Not quite Hickory, but still great

If you've talked with me about our annual trip to the Big Ten Tournament at any time in the last three years I've probably mentioned that in 2006 we went to Hinkle Fieldhouse and saw Greg Oden and Mike Conley lead Indianapolis Lawrence North to a regional win over Jeff Teague and Indianapolis Pike. It was neat to see two future lottery picks and a future college All-American in one high school game at the gym where they filmed the final scene of Hoosiers.

Tonight we went back to Hinkle to catch Lawrence North play Franklin Central. It was an entertaining game won by the underdog, Franklin.

Franklin was a bunch of scrappy guards and one stellar big guy, Patrick Bade, a 6-8 kid who played a great game. Unfortunately, he'll be playing at Purdue. No one else who played much for the Flashers (great nickname) was taller than 6-3.

Lawrence's front line, on the other hand went 6-9, 6-7, and 6-9 on its front line. And not just any old big guys -- 6-9 Stephan VanTreese and 6-7 Justin Martin are Louisville signees, and 6-9 Dominique Ferguson is a Kentucky commit. Off the bench, Lawrence brought 6-9 Purdue signee Jeff Robinson and yet another Louisville commitment, 6-10 Michael Chandler. They had a 7-foot kid, Jan Maehlan, who didn't get in the game at all.

And they lost by about 15 points in a game that wasn't even that close. Franklin packed it in, forced Lawrence's other guys to shoot, and made the most of their opportunities.

Think about that: this game featured three Louisville recruits, two Purdue recruits, and a Kentucky recruit. On two teams in the same metropolitan area, neither one private schools. You ever see that sort of top-level talent in one non-all-star setting?

Anyway, it was intense, with both coaches really working the refs hard, and really physical, with bodies falling all over the place. Better yet, the game took about 75 minutes to complete, and to Nick's delight they had Chik-Fil-A available.

If for whatever reason you ever attend this event in Indianapolis in the future, I would urge you to go to the Hinkle 4A regional, it's well worth the time.

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