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HAMMOND | So how do you beat the champion? Short jabs? Quick stomach blows followed by a rope-a-dope hoping to win the bout on points?
EAST CHICAGO | Frank Kollintzas used to stand in the southeast corner of the Baratto Center's gym. E.C. Central was a state power. The bleachers were always full.
HAMMOND | It's winners week in Indiana. We've been doing this for 104 years. Ain't it fun?
HEBRON | Hebron boys basketball coach John Steinhilber had an official speak with him before his Hawks took on Boone Grove on Tuesday night.
Predicting title winners has been a tradition for sports scribblers. So it's time for your above-the-rim Nostradamus to slip on his Air Jordans, comb the cookie crumbs out of the beard and let you know who will win our local sectionals and the state championships.
CROWN POINT | If Rory Gard ever starts a business, buy the stock of the Lake Central senior. If you do, it could end up being like one of those nameless folks in California in the '70s who purchased Apple shares.
What if Mike Hepp had coached at Andrean? Or Lake Central? Or Crown Point? Would the records or scoreboards changed much at those tradition-rich football schools?
HOBART | If you think a jam-packed, Motley Crue-loud Hobart gymnasium on a sectional Saturday night had LaPorte's Nicole Konieczny nervous, think again.
LOWELL | There was one singular reason to drive to Lowell on Friday night. It was to take in the West Side-Lake Central Class 4A sectional semifinal showdown.
HAMMOND | This sports scribbler had a decision to make back on Feb. 22, 1980. It was a teenage decision which meant, unless I listened to my parents, it was likely to be wrong.
CEDAR LAKE | Donald Nelson walked to the middle of the gym floor on Jan. 11 and sat directly in the middle of the two cheering sections.
MUNSTER | It's before lunch. The fingers started dialing the number. Gary Hayes answered. The raging pulse could be felt on Friday morning.
CALUMET TWP. | Imagine Barack Obama in a black-and-white striped shirt, a whistle around his neck, running up and down the basketball court. Imagine the crowd reaction when our hoops-crazed President made a call.
LOWELL | Region hoops fans have been talking about this since the middle of November. On paper, it seemed, Lowell's Red Devils had a shot to end Munster's freak-show streak in the Northwest Crossroads Conference boys basketball.
CARMEL | I wish I had a dollar for every time I saw it happen. If so I could retire to the warming sun of the south. Wheatfield is nice this time of year I hear.
So it's Tournament Week in “Da Region.” There is an extra thrill in the air as two small-school conferences host a basketball party.
In March 1997 there was a loud refrain across the state, from Angola to Zionsville. You can still hear it at the truck stop in Lebanon.
CROWN POINT | For a few minutes I was starting to feel bad for Merrillville's junior varsity. They stood behind the varsity waiting for the first basket against Crown Point on Friday night.
If Lake Central is wrong then so is everybody else, except for Munster. And if Lake Central is right, like most others, it seems that fewer girls in Northwest Indiana will have a chance to play high school softball.
MICHIGAN CITY | What you're about to read almost always happens here, in this place alone.
CEDAR LAKE | It is surprising that even the rims were up at 5959 Broadway when the 2013-14 boys basketball season started.
GARY | There have been a lot of questions Americans have been asking lately. Like, is there a Santa Claus? Or how many children will I have to sell to afford the new health care law? Or will Miley Cyrus ever learn to close her mouth?
HAMMOND | The lights were on, bright and burning. Some emotion and star-gazing filled the fans at the Hammond Civic Center on Wednesday.
CROWN POINT | On Friday at Crown Point there were four exciting girls basketball games, capped by Times No. 1 Lake Central's 52-50 win over No. 3 Merrillville.
GARY | Eugene German is the Amelia Earhart of Region boys basketball. But unlike the famous pilot who disappeared somewhere over the Pacific in 1937, German has been found.
It would've been real easy for Antonio Smothers to quit.
ST. JOHN | Marvin Rea felt a little like Marc Trestman on Friday night. He had a star player who hadn't played in awhile. He had a tough decision to make.
It seems like only yesterday that it was 100 degrees and we were walking from one grid to another taking mug shots for our 2013 football preview edition. The season's over already? Dang.
INDIANAPOLIS | Things looked bleak in 2009. The IHSAA was looking to move the state football championships potentially outside of Indianapolis. Or, outside. How would Andrean fans think of that today in Indianapolis.
FORT WAYNE | Nearby, the Fort Wayne Dwenger Saints were jumping up and down, screaming about advancing to the Class 4A state championship game.
In another time some genius came up with the idea of New Coke, red dye No. 2 and the Edsel. Thankfully, they disappeared like a Cubs fan at a Happy Convention.
There are two things Andrean quarterback Matt DeSomer won't do tonight. But Niner Nation can relax. Neither have anything to do with football.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at email@example.com.
EAST CHICAGO | Last Friday night Denzel Thruston had a slice of pizza. The E.C. Central offensive tackle was celebrating his Cardinals' 46-44 win over West Side in the Class 4A Sectional 17 championship game, the first sectional title in school history.
In two years Lake Central will have a new football complex, with the ever-so-popular turf surface that's all the rage with big schools in Indiana.
ST. JOHN | When a mother talks about her daughter in a loving way, it will cause the average person to need a hanky. If they have a soul anyway.
This is an American story, even though it's a little different than in past times. It's a reflection of a well-known region football family.
EAST CHICAGO | In the middle of September an old buddy called and laughed about The Times Football Preview Section. The guy said we had it all wrong.
Back in the day, Roz Howell used to love to talk about Hobart football. The wife of Hall of Fame coach Don Howell didn't talk much about the 19 consecutive sectional titles, the 11 trips to Indianapolis or the four state championships the Brickies won.
So can you believe the regular season has flew by this quickly? Did you have fun watching great region football on Friday night?
Like waiting for the federal government to finally reopen again, or hoping that it stays shut down for the next 100 years like some are pulling for, region football fans were still waiting for word from the IHSAA on Thursday night.
ST. JOHN | It hasn't been a piano. It's been a continent of pianos that has been on the back of Lake Central's football program.
ST. JOHN | It's something any high school football player in Indiana would love to do. To run out onto the football field in front of a standing-room-only crowd with a conference title on the line is what dreams are made of.
GARY | Ten minutes before the biggest game on West Side's schedule, Cougars coach Jason Johnson wasn't preparing for Morton's offense. Or defense. Or special teams.
We're about to head into our sixth year of "Hope and Change." Here's hoping we all have more than just change in our seven-year-old ripped Wranglers in the near future.
WHEATFIELD | Don't know what was stranger Friday night in Wheatfield, seeing Kirk Kennedy and Brad Stewart on different sides of the field in contrasting colors?
If one looks at the spiraling downward attendance numbers of Indiana's basketball tournaments, it is beyond shocking. Does anyone remember when they called it Hoosier Hysteria?
HOBART | At 8:01 p.m. Friday in Hobart, we moved into the second half of the 2013 prep football season.
It was June of 1998. The tension of the state softball tournament had subsided for a moment. Andrean had just won the semistate semifinal.
ST. JOHN | The game was in hand. Really, it was all but over 90 minutes earlier.
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