STEVE HANLON: Saying goodbye to a great prep year

2013-07-05T18:15:00Z 2013-09-16T18:46:18Z STEVE HANLON: Saying goodbye to a great prep yearSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
July 05, 2013 6:15 pm  • 

Man, you blink your eyes and it's over.

A great and wonderful 2012-13 school year is now in the books. Great young men and women are now moving on to their next chapter on this planet.

Here are my fondest memories of what was.

Toughest competitor: In the fall there were no two better teams than Merrillville and Andrean in football. Both made it to semistate games in their classes and put a buzz on Broadway.

My favorite gridiron standout was Morton's Eleazar Henderson. He led the Govs to another sectional title. In the regional he had a fumble. When Morton lost to Mishawaka 39-7, Henderson cried.

It showed no weakness. It showed how much he cared. Bravo, young man. Your team never would've got that far without you.

Cavemen II: Hobart had a great season, too. But no luck came the Brickies way. In a huge win over Kankakee Valley in the sectional opener, a mosh pit turned into some over-the-line conduct. Hobart's Anthony Burgos was ejected from the game along with a Kougar.

So he could not play the next week against Mishawaka. You hate to see a young man's career ended on a call where many others could've got tossed, too. But for those ready for a new football season, find a way to walk away. It's always the best call.

Hoops: Boys basketball had another great winter in Da Region. Bowman Academy was dominant in winning the Class 2A state championship, with Antonio Pipkin showing he is one of Gary's all-time top athletes.

Munster finished the regular season undefeated and was No. 1 in the state polls. A very solid Merrillville team beat the Mustangs in the regional on one of the best shots these old eyes has ever seen.

B.J. Jenkins, you are now legend. That 25-footer is the best shot I've ever seen and the most clutch. What happened against Carmel in the semistate no longer matters. Great run. Great fun.

Hoops II: What is going on in Gary? You bring Renaldo Thomas in for one season at Roosevelt, he gets everything ready to make a run and then you fire him, along with half the athletic staff.

The once great Panthers are now black and blue. Can someone there get a clue?

Girls hoops: A big high-five has to go out to Amy Govert and her Merrillville Pirates. The Bucs should've made it to the semistate but didn't. Things like that happen sometimes. But you always get another chance.

My favorite players, who showed great hustle and spirit, were Merrillville's Darian Patton, Lake Central's Jessica Bell, E.C. Central's Tiajaney Hawkins, West Side's Lexus Fox and Munster's Jordan Cole.

You gotta B-E-L-I-E-V-E: The softball season, like usual, was great. It's the best sport in Northwest Indiana. What Portage did in winning the Class 4A state championship was off the charts.

Nobody — not even Petie Portage — thought the Indians could do it. But they did. Great run, ladies. Hanover Central in 3A and Wheeler in 2A were also very impressive in the postseason. Hats off.

I have to give some print thumbs-up to Hobart's program and senior pitcher Dana Claussen. I was very impressed with the way she gave everything she had in the sectional final against Portage.

She led an up and coming program like a champion, no matter what the scoreboard said.

The end: And finally one last shout out to Valpo boys golfer Patrick Andrie for being honest at the IHSAA state golf finals. His score was reported incorrectly and he turned himself in and was disqualified.

Of all the great events in 2012-13, this is what will carry me into next year, which is like two weeks away now. Here's hoping Mr. Andrie will run for president one day. We need this kind of truthfulness in Washington these days.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

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