Hoops season’s abrupt ending

A sports season can be a weird thing.

It’s a long, hard grind that feels like it takes forever — and yet when the end comes, it almost always seems like it came too soon.

When the boys basket-ball state tournament tipped off last Tuesday, I didn’t have any visions of grandeur. With none of the local teams ranked in the state polls, I knew that the chances of anyone replicating the Columbus North girls’ run to Bankers Life Fieldhouse were pretty slim.

But I also didn’t expect to be sitting at home with nothing to do while 64 sectional championship games were being played across Indiana on Saturday night.

Full disclosure — when I was driving home from East Central late Friday, having filed a story from a remote outpost far closer to downtown Cincinnati than to my bed, I found myself feeling relieved that I wasn’t going to have to make that drive again. I don’t think I was the only person affiliated with Columbus or Bloomington (oh, those poor souls!) having those thoughts.

But when I bumped into Brent and Parker Chitty at Columbus East on Saturday morning, it hit me again that I’d seen them in action for the last time this year.

It’s a wrap. Curtains closed. No more.

No more watching Parker Chitty find impossible passing lanes to set up a Zach Sanders fireworks show from 3-point land.

No more ferocious defense and glass work from the likes of East’s Kevin Williams and North’s Ethan Mitchell.

No more marveling at the limitless potential of Bull Dog junior Alex King. No more second-half scoring outbursts from his North teammate, Jaylen Flemmons.

No more opportunities to witness the seamless cohesiveness of a vet-eran Hauser club that I didn’t get to see nearly enough of.

Whether you’re a player, coach or a lowly member of the press, the season is a long slog, and at some point your body and mind need it to be over.

Part of me had reached that point, ready to come up for some air and then start getting back outside to tackle whatever the spring might bring.

But another part of me is left wishing we could have dragged this out juuuuust a little bit longer. It was all way too enjoyable to end as abruptly as it did.

Ryan O’Leary is the sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at roleary@therepublic.com.