Column: Postseason basketball brings special memories

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Southridge players celebrate after a basket in the fourth quarter of Saturday evening’s 2A Sectional 48 championship against South Spencer in Huntingburg. The Raiders seized a 58-44 victory over the Rebels.

By JIMMY LAFAKIS
jlafakis@dcherald.com

Made in March

JASPER — I’ve been fortunate to experience some memorable moments across several gymnasiums and arenas. Covering the 2A Sectional 48 action at Memorial Gym in Huntingburg became an experience I will not soon forget. I took time to walk around the gym before each game, just as I did when I entered the historic building for the first time in November.

Tuesday and Friday showcased high-powered offenses, stifling defenses and nearly everything in between. Saturday night’s tale of the tape offered a plethora of storylines. Southridge had the opportunity to avenge last season’s sectional defeat to South Spencer. Moreover, the Raiders had the chance to advance to regionals at Memorial Gym.

Both sides brought several standout players into the fray, but Southridge senior Colson Montgomery rose to the cream of the crop. Montgomery picked his spots, knocked down five 3-pointers in the first half and finished with a total of 26 points in two quarters. That output loomed larger than the Rebels’ total — South Spencer scored 19 first-half points.

As Montgomery splashed triples that would have made Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard tip their caps, I immediately flashed back to March 2019. Life was a bit different back then, but history has a funny way of repeating itself. During the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, Seton Hall guard Myles Powell dropped 29 first-half points against Georgetown.

His record-breaking performance became a legendary moment in the annals of Big East history. I sat on the baseline, witnessing all the action through my camera lens. While Seton Hall celebrated yet another 3-pointer, I captured a photo of a St. John’s fan cheering for Powell and the Pirates. Those schools are fierce rivals, but allegiances are thrown out the window when you’re witnessing history.

In fact, I can hear Gus Johnson’s buttery voice as I type this column: “What Trenton makes, the world takes.”

As I snapped back to reality on Saturday night, Montgomery resumed his exceptional performance. The senior led all scorers with 38 points in Southridge’s 58-44 victory. Powell scored 31 points, but both players led their respective teams to key March triumphs. That’s what seniors do.

“We’ve had a lot of adversity going into this game and this whole season,” Montgomery said after the game. “We’re just so happy to come out with a win.”

Two shining moments

These past few days have allowed for more opportunities to reflect. Southridge’s victory was the second sectional championship I have covered this season. Back in February, the Forest Park girls basketball team handled its business against a talented Evansville Mater Dei squad in Ferdinand.

The Rangers clamped down on defense, holding Mater Dei to just 26 points in their 35-26 win. A common thread ran through both championships — just as Southridge toppled South Spencer, Forest Park overcame last year’s sectional loss to Mater Dei.

The Raiders and Rangers earned their championships on their home floors, which made the experiences all the more meaningful. Forest Park head coach Tony Hasenour led a pep session after the Rangers’ win. The coaches, players and managers took time to thank all of the fans who supported them throughout the postseason’s hustle and bustle.

There is nothing like Indiana high school basketball. Years from now, I will tell my family about these moments.

I will simply say, “You just had to be there.”




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