STEVE HANLON: When basketball doesn't mean a thing

2012-12-14T21:30:00Z 2013-05-06T22:33:05Z STEVE HANLON: When basketball doesn't mean a thingSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
December 14, 2012 9:30 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | I was excited all week thinking about Friday night's Duneland Athletic Conference showdown between Lake Central and Merrillville. That's typical when the two defending Class 4A sectional champions meet.

Then, broken information started bolting out of Connecticut on Friday morning. Heartsick, numb with disbelief, the last thing this heart thought of was a high school basketball game.

Instead, my thoughts wandered to colorfully wrapped presents under a tree labeled with the name of a child who will never experience the joy of Christmas morning or the hug from one he loves again. That's what sunk this heart on the drive up Broadway on Friday night.

There are days much bigger than Hoosier Hysteria.

Sadly, this was one.

The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — where 26 people were killed, 20 of them children, by a lone gunmen who had allegedly already murdered his own mother — was too much to take.

How can a ball floating through a hoop mean anything?

“I heard about it when I was getting taped,” Merrillville senior guard B.J. Jenkins said. “It was awful.”

Still, a crowd assembled for the game, which the Pirates won 73-67. There was an aura of “How does something like this happen?” along with quiet conversations between adults.

The young men in the game played their hearts out. Lake Central and Merrillville are, without question, two of the better teams in the area.

Jenkins had a team-high 24 points with three rebounds and three assists. Lake Central's Tyler Wideman scored 27 points with 12 rebounds. The two were unstoppable.

Merrillville scored 26 field goals. The Pirates had 18 assists. This is the most unselfish team I've seen since photographs were in black and white.

“We preached it every day this summer and every day at practice,” Merrillville coach T.J, Lux said. “We want to be unselfish.”

In this YouTube age filled with SportsCenter highlight reels, the young men at Merrillville are taking an old-school approach.

“It's not difficult at all,” Jenkins said. “It's simple. Find the open man.”

Merrillville made a statement on a night where America mourns and prays. On a weekend where parents hold their children tighter than they have in awhile and make sure to speak those most important words: “I love you.”

One day basketball games will bring butterflies to players, fans and sportswriters again. This just wasn't one of those nights.

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

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Who was the area's best baseball player this season?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses