The temperature might not be the best indicator, but I know spring is near because championship basketball is being played across Indiana.
It's easy to become a bit jaded in this job. You see so many games over the course of a year, many of them begin to run together. It's not that you can't appreciate each contest on its own merits, it's just that it very quickly becomes difficult for any single game to truly stand out.
February tends to change that.
Two weeks ago, I covered five games over the course of four days. Each one was special for some reason.
In the first, the Madison-Grant girls erased a 22-point halftime deficit to stun Alexandria in the first round of the Class 2A sectional at Elwood. The Argylls made just three field goals in the first half and had won just two games all season, but they found the strength to make one of the most memorable comebacks I've ever witnessed from a high school team.
A day later, I had the privilege of covering Anderson's boys game against Muncie Central. Mr. Basketball award winners Roy Taylor, Ray Tolbert and Kojak Fuller were honored at halftime, and it was amazing to speak with each man before the game and hear the emotion in his voice. Fuller wound up shedding tears on the court and being embraced by Tolbert during one the ceremony's most emotional moments.
The weekend saw a 23-point, 20-rebound performance by Shenandoah's Rachel Krathwohl during a sectional semifinal upset of Lapel, Anderson's Thomas Wells get two steals moments apart to spark a late comeback victory against Lafayette Jeff and Shenandoah beat Frankton in a 2A sectional final for its first postseason championship since 2008.
But none of those games, as outstanding as they were, can top Saturday afternoon's regional tilt at Decatur Central.
The Anderson girls lost to top-ranked Lawrence North 84-45 in the second game of the regular season and had to face USA Today's 10th-ranked team in the nation for a rematch in the regional semifinals. The Lady Tribe responded with a full-team effort that fell just short of a shocking upset in a 56-54 decision.
Afterward, Anderson coach Chad Cook fought back tears as he tried to describe what the game meant to him. He's had a special group of girls for the past few seasons, and it's going to be hard to see this senior class go.
But anyone who saw the fight the Indians put up against Lawrence North will never forget it.
That's the beauty of early spring in Indiana.
Any time you get near a basketball court, you never know what you're going to see.
Contact George Bremer: 640-4831, email@example.com.