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.
The buck I'm talking about is watching Bowman Academy's depth and athleticism overwhelm another boys basketball team in 32 minutes of play over the years.
But last Saturday these eyes saw something else occur. After all these years and all these games I believe I saw the best high school basketball team I've ever seen.
Not the most talented. Not the one at the top of the Top 10 video clip highlight list. Simply, the best.
Carmel beat Bowman 74-52. It was a clinic. It was substance over style. It was painful to watch for the large contingency of Eagles fans assembled there.
I recall being shocked last March when I read Jim Peters' tweets about the Class 4A semistate game between Merrillville and Carmel. The Pirates team last year was dynamite. Explosive. Plain sick.
Carmel's 66-36 win was jaw-dropping over the Bucs.
The Greyhounds went on to win their second straight Class 4A state title, which is the toughest of all.
"They played their game and we didn't," Bowman coach Marvin Rea said last Saturday after the loss between the two reigning state champs. Bowman is the defending 2A state champ.
Both were ranked No. 2 in the state poll, Carmel (4A) and Bowman (3A).
But what coach Scott Heady has put together on the north side of the state capital has been impressive.
For those who've forgotten these fingers typed stories in Indy for four years from 2000 to 2004. I missed the pizza, colorful conversation and story telling of home, so we returned.
Immediately area hoops fans asked me one question. What's the biggest difference between here and there?
It's simple. The highly talented, highly recruited talent in Indy is much more fundamental than up here. The teaching at the lower levels is much higher there. The game IQ is off the charts amongst Indy's best.
Up here it's mostly a work in progress.
This is not a slam against our teams and players. We get to Indy often and will continue in coming Marches. But outside of Munster, no one up here plays the game the way Carmel does.
Bowman's Davon Dillard won the highlight trophy with several unbelievable takes to the hole. But Carmel's Michael Bruns won the MVP trophy. Both scored 27 but Bruns game was Northwestern smart.
The Eagles' press got within four in the third quarter. Heady called a TO. On two straight possessions the Hounds passed the ball around and got two wide open 3-pointers. Both went in. Game over.
Carmel is the best passing team I have ever seen.
Some Bowman fans thought the officiating hurt their team. Not true. Yes, Justin King spent too much time on the bench as I saw it. But that was not the bottom line.
Fundamental basketball beats freak-show athletic hoops 99 percent of the time.
It's time for the region to adjust or lose.