ANDERSON, Ind. — Frankfort's Case Arena is named for an Anderson native who led the school to four boys basketball state championships in the 1920s and '30s. Everett Case also is credited with originating the tradition of cutting down the nets after a title victory.
Liberty Christian coach Jason Chappell is hoping to lead his Anderson-based school to two wins in the Class 1A regional today and celebrate on the Case Arena floor in the fashion made popular by its namesake.
"Getting to play at Case Arena every year, that's a treat," Chappell said, noting portions of the movie "Blue Chips" were filmed inside the 5,500-seat structure. "That is a treat in itself."
After the Lions won their first sectional championship in 2012, Chappell looked to venerable Lapel coach Jimmie Howell for guidance. The coach who led the Bulldogs to a state title in 2005 had one simple piece of advice. Enjoy it.
So Chappell made sure to bring his young son along for the ride, and another tradition was born. When Liberty Christian makes its third straight regional appearance today, it will be a family outing. The players and their parents will stay at a hotel in nearby Lafayette, and Chappell wants to make sure they appreciate the experience.
"Some people get sidetracked because they think its about the trophy and the championship," he said. "But the real reward is the journey. And the longer we can keep these guys together as a team, to me that's the true reward. I don't want it to end, and I don't think the kids want it to end. It's just a great experience, and I don't want the kids to lose sight of that, being in the journey."