Boys Basketball | Class 4A State Championship

Family's history with Lake Central basketball spans two generations

2014-03-27T21:00:00Z 2014-04-15T18:39:14Z Family's history with Lake Central basketball spans two generationsSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com

ST. JOHN | On Monday night, a mom and her teenage son sat down to watch a movie.

It wasn't a slasher flick, a gross comedy or a pointless thriller.

It was a classic, with a bowl full of popcorn and a heart filled with dreams.

"We watched 'Hoosiers,'" Jayne Martin said of the film she watched with her son, Ian. "It was an Indiana movie, a good basketball movie. It was the first time either of us had ever seen it."

The mother lived through Hoosier Hysteria 30 years ago. Jayne Laird was a cheerleader at Lake Central High School in the 1983-84 school year. That's when the Indians shocked the region and shocked the state by advancing to the state Final Four.

Everyone knew that Lake Central team was pretty good. But no one expected them to get to Indianapolis.

"I was a cheerleader, so I was always positive," Jayne (Laird) Martin said. "I was always like, 'You can do this. Let's go.'"

The ’84 Indians got revenge against regular-season losses. They beat Merrillville in the final of the Calumet Sectional. They beat Bishop Noll in the Gary Regional final.

That set up the biggest upset, beating second-ranked Anderson in the semistate at Purdue's Mackey Arena.

On Saturday night, Lake Central will play Indianapolis Tech in the Class 4A state championship game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Similar to the 1984 run, Tech beat the Indians by 19 in the regular season.

Keith and Jayne Martin's son, Ian, is a junior on this team.

It's deja vu all over again in a pair of blue Nikes.

"They've talked to me about the ’84 season a lot the last couple of weeks," Ian Martin said. "My mom was a cheerleader. After they won the semistate, everyone went back to the school for a pep rally and they stayed there for hours. The whole community went crazy for that team."

After Lake Central beat Homestead in Saturday's semistate, the Martins went to a Texas Roadhouse for some post-game food. Martin was wearing his shooting shirt and pants.

"Everybody, strangers were coming up to him to congratulate him," said Keith Martin, Ian's father, who was in the stands for every game 30 years ago when he was a Lake Central student. "It was exciting. It was hard for him to eat."

"It reminded me of 1984," Jayne said with a smile.

Van Halen was at the top of the charts. The Cubs were actually good. Ronald Reagan was in the White House. And "Hoosiers" was two years away from hitting theaters.

Yeah, it's been awhile.

"Hoosiers tells Indiana basketball's story; anyone can win a game in the state championship," Ian said. "This run has been amazing. After last year, I couldn't imagine us getting to state. But everyone's stepped up. We've come together.

"Tech has good players. We have good players. 'Hoosiers' showed me that anyone can win, and that's what we want to do."

In ’84, Lake Central was a band school. The Marching Indians were known all across the nation. But when the basketball team went south, the community jumped aboard.

Like now, businesses in Dyer, Schererville and St. John are all praising this team's efforts. About 1,500 fans went to a pep rally Wednesday night, which was a high number because the district is on spring break.

"In 1984, every group at the school got excited about that team," Keith said. "You're seeing it again this year."

"I'd walk down the hallways and the lockers were decorated, there were posters all over the walls," Jayne added. "We're seeing it again. It's so exciting. The community is really getting behind this team."

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