HILLARY SMITH: New boys hoops season, new traditions

2013-11-24T19:15:00Z 2013-11-25T02:48:14Z HILLARY SMITH: New boys hoops season, new traditionsHillary Smith Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 24, 2013 7:15 pm  • 

Welcome to the start of the boys basketball season.

With a defending state champion, three teams in last year's semistate and countless possibilities, the excitement is palpable.

Let's kick it all off with the traditional opener: Roosevelt vs. Andrean.

Wait, I'm sorry, what's that now? No traditional opener? No Andrean vs. Roosevelt?

Could that be right?

Don't adjust your schedules, you're looking at an Andrean at Lake Central opener.

Before anyone starts crying about the death of a tradition, this isn't the first time in the last 10 years or even since the turn of the century that Andrean and Roosevelt haven't opened the season.

In 2002, Andrean opened against Hammond on Dec. 2, not playing Roosevelt until Dec. 18. In that year, the 59ers reached the state final in football, pushing back the start of their basketball season.

In 2004, Andrean opened against Bishop Noll on Dec. 4, then played 'Velt on Jan. 12, 2005. The Niners' football team won the state championship, also delaying the start of the hoops schedule.

"We've had to move it so many times because of football it had almost lost its luster because we ended up playing at later in the year," Andrean athletic director Bill Mueller said.

Of note, in 1997, when Andrean won its first semistate title, the basketball season started on time, and the Niners beat Roosevelt 74-69.

This year, both the Andrean basketball and football teams will start and continue their respective seasons without disrupting the other.

However, 2013 will mark the first year that Roosevelt isn't found anywhere on the Niners' basketball schedule.

Mueller said the change comes after a spot couldn't be found for the Panthers on the schedule, and when it wasn't as traditional as everyone made it out to be.

"To be honest, it wasn't drawing like it used to," Mueller said. "It used to be that everyone would come out for that night and no one else would schedule. It just hadn't been that way. It wasn't like a planned, hey we're going to change things up, it just happened that way."

The opening of the Duneland Athletic Conference schedule is in part to blame. The Niners have added Lake Central and Crown Point to the early part of the schedule.

The change in sectional opponents is also partially at fault, with Hanover Central joining the schedule after being added to the Class 3A sectional a year ago.

But that's not all. It has been four years since the opener vs. Roosevelt has been a competitive game.

In that time, violence at a Roosevelt volleyball game two years ago had the Niners questioning their future in the traditional series.

Let's not kid ourselves. The start of the boys hoops season always meant one thing: Andrean/Roosevelt.

The tradition was nice, a historical marker for the region's slice in Hoosier Hysteria. But, the sense of nostalgia has already been busted by football brackets in the recent past, and there's always a chance to restart old customs.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach her at hillary.smith@nwi.com.

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