Ho-hum. The Columbus North girls basketball team was the Conference Indiana champion.
Certainly, there have been years, and there probably will be in the future, where that would be a big, big deal.
This team, though, has its eye on something more.
Why not? Pat McKee’s Bull Dogs have gone 86-14 over the past four seasons.
But before North begins sectional play tonight at 7:30 against Shelbyville at Bloomington South High School, local basketball fans should take a moment to appreciate, no matter what happens from here on out, what a wonderful ride it has been.
The Bull Dogs, 19-2 this season, lost one game last season, to eventual state champion Bedford North Lawrence.
The year before that they lost 50-48 in overtime to North Central in the state championship game.
It has been truly amazing stuff.
North senior Tayler Goodall talked the other day about being a 10-year-old kid and going to watch North’s Brittany Bowen (class of 2007) play basketball. Bowen is
No. 2 on North’s all-time scoring list, 77 points ahead of Goodall’s current total of 1,200.
Now Goodall is that good, or even better.
Think how many young girls in our area have watched all the great players on this season’s North team and teams from the past four years. It doesn’t matter whether they aspire to be like Goodall, or Kelsey Cunningham or Ali Patberg.
It just matters that they aspire to be special.
Know what that entails? Work, and lots of it. We are watching a special group of girls who have given up a whole lot of things that teens deem important, in order to chase their goals on a basketball court.
If you own a local business and, let’s say six years from now, one of those North girls basketball players applied for a job, what would you do?
You would snap her up in a heartbeat.
Amazing work ethic, solid role model, knows how to be part of a team.
If the Bull Dogs accomplish a state championship, that’s icing on the cake. If they fall a game short or their goal, or three, or five, so what?
OK, it’s no “so what?” to North. Goodall said there isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t think about that state championship game and coming so close.
It would be great to see North wipe that memory away.
As spectators, or fans, or friends, the end result doesn’t change the effort they have put into getting there. That’s why each little step needs to be appreciated and celebrated.
Almost every step this North team has taken has been a positive one, something that has made the community proud.
Hopefully, the Bull Dogs and their fans will celebrate each step the team takes in the tournament while understanding that this is really cool stuff.
Let’s hear it for those Conference Indiana champions.
Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 379-5632.