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It was interesting trip to BedfordPosted Wednesday, February 9, 2011, at 4:24 PM
Although it has been almost two weeks since I ventured into Lawrence County and attended the Eastern Greene at Bedford North Lawrence High School boys basketball game, it was an interesting evening, even if the outcome of the game left something to be desired.
In the middle of the second quarter, I thought we were in for a shootout as both teams were going back-and-forth, trading the lead after a 16-all tie at the end of the opening quarter.
But six consecutive turnovers by Eastern Greene in the second stanza were key to digging an 11-point halftime deficit and all but buried the Thunderbirds, who lost to BNL 64-45.
That was the first loss of the season for Class 2A Eastern Greene.
The best part of the game might have been before when EGHS coach Andy Igel and former EGHS player Jamie Hudson, who is now the BNL coach, were laughing.
It was a great atmosphere for high school basketball. I don't know if it was a sellout, but if not it was close. I found out later than the BNL Fieldhouse has a seating capacity of 6,347, the 16th largest facility in Indiana. I doubt if I have ever witnessed a regular-season game with more people in attendance.
Eastern Greene brought a large contingent of fans, but they did not have much to cheer about in the second half.
The BNL fans kept getting louder as the lead increased and they seemed to take great pleasure as the Thunderbirds could not find the range (38 percent) while their beloved Stars made half of their shots.
The building itself was not necessarily impressive, although the name "Damon Bailey Court" gets your attention.
It was interesting to see the banners hanging from the ceiling, commemorating three trips to the Final Four, culminating with the state championship in 1990, led by Bailey, the state's all-time leading scorer and Mr. Basketball some 21 years ago.
Not to be outdone, there also were banners commemorating the 1983 and 1991 BNL girls state championship teams. Ironically, I did play-by-play of the 1983 Lady Stars title march that season with Dave Young while I was a broadcasting student at Vincennes University on WVUB FM 91.1.
Austin "Pete" Pritchett, a native of Mooresville and a former boys basketball coach, led the Lady Stars to both titles, including in 1991 when Miss Basketball Marla Inman paced BNL.
Despite getting there before the junior varsity game was over, there was one Bedford program remaining. I think I was supposed to pay 50 cents for it, but there was nobody around the table so I kept the two quarters in my pocket.
Also I noticed there were no Eastern Greene rosters. I kind of got the feeling that the Thunderbirds might not have matterd to the BNL faithful, especially after playing Jeffersonville 24 hours earlier.
But there were a few bright red EGHS rosters at the scorer's table, but I did not see any among the fans.
While trying to figure out where to sit, I usually take photos from under the basket, I was planning on sitting on the front row on the BNL side until the junior varsity was over. But I was quickly informed, politely I might add, that I was sitting a seat that was reserved for a 95-year gentlemen.
Eventually, I sat on the floor next to this guy in a spot where the bleachers were did not come all the way out to the court. He kept reminding me that someone would likely run over my legs, but I pressed on.
There were two Baileys that played for BNL, but I am not sure if they were related to Damon, who ironically was in Sullivan that day coaching his son's AAU team.
The Stars were an impressive 14-2 after their victory over EGHS that night. The most ironic part about BNL is they haven't won a sectional game since 2002. Hopefully Hudson and his Stars can end that streak this season.
Upon leaving, I was meticulous in trying to leave through the same door I entered. But sure enough, I got turned around and went out the wrong door, ending up on the other side of the fieldhouse.
I normally have such a great sense of direction, often commenting that my wife could go somewhere 100 times and never tell you how to get there. Wouldn't you know that the guys I asked directions in the parking lot were from Eastern Greene?
I knew I was lost for sure when I could not find my car and nothing looked the same. I was glad it was not a cold January night as I got to the other side and low and below, there was my 1997 Buick LeSabre, all by itself.
I recognized where I was and I actually made it out of the parking lot and found my way back to Highway 50 and then to Highway 37.
I guess I should be thankful the boys sectionals are at WRV and Eastern Greene this year. I can even navigate through Greene County in the dark.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12.
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