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Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015
Class 2A Sectional was full of dramaPosted Friday, February 20, 2009, at 5:34 PM
Former Union (Dugger) and current North Knox High School girls basketball coach Steve Meurer gives his daughter a kiss after the Lady Warriors won the Class 2A Linton-Stockton Sectional Feb. 14. (By BJ Hargis/Greene County Daily World).
But Meurer couldn't hold back the tears after it sank in that they had won the school's 14th sectional title in girls hoops.
He was not crying just from feelings of joy, the emotions of the weekend had caught up with him.
Meurer was unable to coach North Knox in its 38-37 victory over South Knox in the semifinals the night before because his father, Don Meurer, has taken ill.
The elder Meurer had a stroke and was taken by helicopter to Deaconess Hospital earlier in the day.
"He was in intensity care and had blood on his brain," said Steve. "He is in intensive care, but he was stable.
"I was able to talk to him and was able to communicate with him the fact that the team had won and would be playing in the championship game. But it was really tough to coach a game knowing he wasn't here. He is somebody I always look to for advice," said Meurer, whose face was red and wet from the tears he shed after winning his third sectional championship (his girls teams at North Daviess High School won sectionals in 1993 and 1998).
Later in the week, I happened to run into Meurer, who still teaches at Dugger Elementary School. He said that his father was far from out of the woods, but that he been moved out of intensive care.
The most ironic part of this is Meurer, who had not been a head coach since not having his contract renewed at Union (Dugger) High School after the 2005-06 season, really wasn't looking to get back into coaching full time. He had been helping his wife out as girls volleyball coach at North Knox.
"To be honest, the time away from being a head coach has been a good thing for our family," said Steve. "All of our kids are involved in so many activities that having the extra time to go to their games or events has been a positive."
Meurer said ideally he would have liked to have had another year away from coaching, but his brother-in-law (North Knox principal Tim Grove) can be pretty persuasive.
"The job was open and he asked me to do it," said Meurer. "Traditionally this has been a very good program and I was very fortunate to have this opportunity."
Meurer, who has a 153-102 overall record in his 13 seasons as a varsity girls coach, including going 42-40 in four seasons at Union (Dugger), and his Lady Warriors will take a 17-6 record into the regional at Forest Park Saturday against Covenant Christian.
"The girls really have come together since the Toyota Classic in December," he said. "I am very fortunate to have fell into this situation.
"Even though my dad won't be able to be at the game Saturday, he should be able to listen on the radio. I am very thankful about that."
If girls basketball fans were looking for excitement and drama heading into this year's state tournament, I don't think they could have gotten any more than at the Class 2A Sectional 45 at Linton-Stockton High School last week. They might have seen more offense, as 38 was the high-point total in any game, but as far as defense and intensity, I doubt that anyone was asking for their money back. In fact, 38 was the winning amount in the first three contests.
In what is believed to be the first girls basketball sectional tournament to ever take place at Linton, all four of the games in the five-team field were close and competitive.
In the first three games, the "so-called" underdog was ahead in every game at intermission.
Eastern Greene, which came into the tournament with just one win during the regular season, jumped out on Bloomfield, taking a 15-5 first-half lead on Feb. 10.
The Lady Thunderbirds were ahead 16-13 at the half, but a 13-5 quarter by Bloomfield proved to be the difference. Even with that spurt, Eastern Greene trailed a team they lost to by 21 points during the season 26-23 with six minutes remaining.
It took a heroic effort by Bloomfield senior Siera Fuller, who had nine points in the fourth quarter, for the Lady Cardinals to get by the Lady T-Birds.
During the semifinals Feb. 13, South Knox, who entered the tournament with just six wins in 21 games, led North Knox 26-20 at the half. The Lady Warriors had defeated SK 53-21 during the regular season.
The Lady Spartans had the final possession to win the game, but missed the final two shots and came up on the short end of a 38-37 score.
The second semifinal set up exactly the same way -- two county and conference rivals playing with one team playing the role of big favorite.
Bloomfield, who had won 13 games during the regular season, including a 52-27 beat down of Linton-Stockton, was the prohibitive favorite over the Lady Miners. Linton-Stockton had managed to win five of 20 games entering the sectional.
But other than the first couple of minutes, the Lady Miners were in control throughout before BHS senior Katie Walker flung in a putback to just beat the buzzer and give the Lady Cardinals a 38-37 victory over Linton-Stockton.
"This really hurts a lot right now, but a game like this can really do a lot when you are trying to build a program," said first-year Linton-Stockton coach Brad McKinney.
In the title game, neither team could muster much offense, but Bloomfield took a 19-18 lead to the fourth quarter.
North Knox outscored the Lady Cards 8-3 over the final eight minutes to come away with their first sectional title since 2006, aided by Caroline Kirkwood, who blocked two shots, came up with a steal and hit a foul shot to help the Lady Warriors preserve the victory.
Bloomfield coach Kyle von Almen was classy in defeat as his squad lost in the title game for a second year in row.
Congratulations to all the players, coaches, fans and the bands from Linton-Stockton and Bloomfield, who made this sectional exciting and memorable for all who were a part of it.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at email@example.com.
Girls Basketball Sectional
Tuesday, Feb. 10
Bloomfield 38, Eastern Greene 25
Friday, Feb. 13
North Knox 38, South Knox 37
Bloomfield 38, Linton-Stockton 37
Saturday Feb. 14
North Knox 26, Bloomfield 22
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