After leading his team to a victory in Wednesday’s Elementary Basketball League quarterfinals, Cooper Horn received a text from Josh Speidel.
Speidel, a former Southside Elementary and Columbus North star and now a redshirt on the University of Vermont team, wished Horn good luck. The Southside Elementary sixth-grader responded in a big way.
Horn scored a career-high 33 points Saturday morning in a 46-45 overtime semifinal win against Rock Creek. Then, he outdid that with a 38-point performance in a 58-50 title-game win against Mt. Healthy before about 2,000 fans Saturday night at North High School.
“It’s awesome playing in this gym,” Horn said.
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Horn wasn’t the only hero wearing a green and white Southside uniform on Saturday. In the girls championship game that followed the boys contest, Riley Schumm scored on a putback with 1 second remaining in overtime to lift the Mustangs to a 24-23 victory, also against Mt. Healthy.
The shot drew cheers from the Southside side of the court and prompted the Mustangs bench to rush to congratulate Schumm.
“I didn’t even know that the shot was going to go in,” Schumm said. “I was so nervous.”
The Elementary Basketball League dates back to the 1986-87 school year, and Southside has won about half the boys and girls championships. Chuck Grimes, who coached the Mustang boys team for 18 years, has attended almost every Super Saturday event.
Since retiring from coaching and teaching, Grimes has been keeping the official scorebook from Southside.
“I’ve never been completely separated from this,” he said prior to Saturday’s championship games.
Eight of Grimes’ EBL boys titles came between 1989-96. The two years during that span when he didn’t win (1993 and 1994), John Carmichael led Parkside to the boys championship.
Carmichael is Horn’s grandfather, and he was behind the Southside bench. So was former North player and junior varsity coach Dave Horn, whose grandsons Cooper and Zac Horn led the Mustangs to their victory.
“This is so fun for these kids to be able to play on this floor in this environment,” Carmichael said. “They may be a little shellshocked early on, but then they settle in.”
Carmichael is an assistant boys golf coach at North. Man Sung, the assistant boys golf coach at Columbus East, coached the Southside boys to the basketball title.
Sung, who is in his first year with the Mustangs after being an assistant at CSA Fodrea, realizes how big Super Saturday is for all of those involved.
“It’s a crazy thing,” Sung said. “I feel like even after (Saturday) morning’s game, it took almost a bigger toll on some of the parents and the adults more than it did on the kids. We take basketball seriously in Columbus, and I love it. I think the kids love it, and as long as they have fun, that’s what it’s all about.”
For boxscores on Saturday’s championship games, see page B2.