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The halls outside Boone Grove's Hinkey Gymnasium are adorned with photos of championship teams, a history of the school's athletic success.

Look closely and there's a common thread among the boys basketball images.

"Ian's in almost every one of them," Wolves coach Matt McKay said of his son. "He's probably in more pictures than any Boone Grove athlete."

Matt has coached Boone for 24 years, winning 10 sectionals. Ian, now 18 and a senior on his dad's team, was just a couple weeks old when he attended his first games, the old South County tournament, in the arms of his mom. He wasn't in the 1998 sectional photo a few months later, but he's been in all eight since, the first when he was 1.

"Growing up, I always wanted to play varsity basketball for my dad," Ian said. "I remember some of those teams, rattling off three, four (sectionals) in a row and how great that success must have felt. I wanted to try to do the same thing."

As a freshman, Ian was on the sectional roster and saw a bit of playing time as the Wolves won the title at Winamac. They lost in the opening round in 2014 and in the finals last year. Boone hosts the sectional this week, starting tonight against River Forest.

"It's my last season and potentially his," Ian said. "It's something I think about. Sometimes, it's a surreal feeling, that it's one game away from potentially being over. I've really had a good time. We've been pretty successful. I've been with these guys middle school. I've taken time each game to really soak it in. I'm really enjoying it a lot. It's been fun, but it's not over yet."

Other than occasionally filling in at AAU games, Matt purposely didn't coach Ian in organized ball before he became a varsity player last season.

"It gave me an opportunity to watch, too," Matt said. "It's easier to give a few tips sitting and watching than in the heat of the battle."

In two years, Matt's proud to say he's never heard one complaint of preferential treatment.

"I told Ian a long time ago, I couldn't handle it if he was the best player or worst player on the team, you need to be somewhere in the middle," he said. "It worked out that way. He's a guy that's played his role. I think it saved me a little grief and took a little heat off him."

If anybody thinks Ian gets a family discount, he strongly suggests coming to a practice.

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"They would know that's not the case at all," he said. "We're strictly coach and player when we're practicing, playing. I'm a little smarter than some guys on the floor. He expects a little more out of me. I know there's a higher standard. Sometimes, it's been hard to accept, but it's nothing too serious. I know he's looking out for my best interests. He wants what's best for me and the team on the floor and I put my faith in him."

When Ian hit a game-winning 3 against Hobart early this season, Matt did his best to keep a level tone, just as he did last week, when the shot didn't fall in the same situation versus Morgan Township.

"I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some quick satisfaction when he makes a nice play, but I try not to go crazy," Matt said. "I'm happy, proud, but I have to stay in the moment. Being around it since he was so small, he's smart on the floor, so I get satisfaction in seeing him do the right things besides putting the ball in the basket. He's the glue in those circumstances. When he does something that isn't smart, that he's known for years, I try to step back and not overreact."

The two have done well at leaving the game at the gym, with a few exceptions. One came this season, when Ian and Boone had a rough night in a loss to rival Wheeler. The other was early last season, when Ian saw just a few minutes of action in a last-second loss to Westville. The tension was compounded by it being the night a photographer was taking action shots for player posters.

"I heard it from mom and son on that one," Matt said. "Later in the year, we won a close game, he played a lot in that one and it was like, if you had played me more in that other game ... "

The high point, to date, came in the Porter County Conference tournament, when Boone eked out a dramatic win over Washington Township in the championship.

"That was awesome," Ian said. "I've never been overcome by emotions like that before. It was pretty special, my senior year, with my dad as my coach."

"Getting the chance to have a hug, that was a special moment I'll definitely always remember," Matt said.

Whether it's tonight, Friday, Saturday or beyond, the coach isn't looking forward to the walk down the hall and viewing all those pictures, each carrying its own set of memories.

"That's when it's really going to hit," he said.

The best compliment Ian can pay his dad is how basketball still means as much to him now as it always has.

"I've always loved the game," he said. "I don't see myself not being involved in it somehow. I've been around it my whole life. Why stop now?"

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Sports reporter

Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.