INDIANAPOLIS | The building was named Conseco Fieldhouse the last time Tyrae Robinson, Kevan Ford, Cylk Joseph, Kameran Madison and Christopher Bond were there.
Not quite two years ago to the day, the contingent of then-Thea Bowman Leadership Academy seniors led the Eagles to the Class A state title with a decisive 74-52 victory over Barr-Reeve.
The group, now all sophomores trying their hand at basketball in college, returned Saturday to the field house now named Bankers Life, to watch their Gary alma mater take on Indianapolis Park Tudor for the Class 2A championship.
"The view's very different from this side," Ford said, sitting in the front row of the Bowman fan section. "Last year, we said if they made it (here), we'd come to the game. It's exciting. We want to see them make history, winning 1A and 2A."
Unfortunately for the Eagles alums, that didn't happen. The Panthers took control early and rolled to a resounding 79-57 victory, putting a damper on the fans' enthusiasm as the outcome became evident.
Even so, being in the stands brought back memories of Bowman's 2010 accomplishment, finishing 24-1 and bringing the hardware home to Gary.
"Anyone could do anything at each position," said Robinson, who is at Ball State along with Bond and Madison.
Asked prior to the game which team was better, Joseph, now playing for Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, answered, "2010, for sure."
"This team is a lot bigger, but our family ties were a lot closer," Madison said. "A lot of people thought we couldn't do it, but we came together as a team. We had a lot of pride. We want to see them bring it back."