It’s hard for me to believe the fourth weekend of basketball season is already upon us. Didn’t football season just end?
But here it is, Week 4 already. And I’ve only been to five basketball games so far.
And I still haven’t seen Bloomfield, White River Valley and Shakamak in action - although I’ll get my first look at the Lakers Friday.
So it’s way too early for prognostications.
But with Shakamak sitting undefeated at 5-0 - their best start in who knows how long, Eastern Greene out of the gates at 5-1, Bloomfield being Bloomfield, and a Linton Miner team that figures to get better as the season progresses and you have what could be a four-team race in the Greene County Invitational coming up just after the calendar turns over another year.
One team I have seen is the Barr-Reeve Vikings. And once again, Barr-Reeve looks like the team to beat, at least where area teams and the 2A North Knox sectional field is concerned.
The Vikings have size most 2A teams would die for. And they feature balanced scoring.
The AP has the Vikes ranked No. 1 in Class 2A. I’m not sure Barr-Reeve is the best team in 2A. John Harrell agrees. His site has the Vikings rated eighth in class.
But remember what happened last year. Bloomfield knocked off (then) 19-3 Barr-Reeve at Montgomery in the regular-season finale. Then South Knox fired the shot heard ‘round Indiana, taking down the vaunted Vikings, 43-40 in the sectional semifinal.
Last Friday, Barr-Reeve beat back every challenge Linton threw at them. This Friday, Eastern Greene gets a crack at them, at home.
One year ago, the T-Birds lost by a single point at Barr-Reeve, on a last-second, throw it up and hope.
This much is certain - Eastern best be prepared to play a full 32 minutes. Barr-Reeve hammered North Knox 76-39 Tuesday.
Linton fans travel well - that much is documented. Look no further than the sea of red filling the lower level of Lucas Oil Stadium between the 10-yard lines at the football State Finals.
And as hundreds of readers are sure to point out, so does Bloomfield. I know, I saw you at Seymour and Bankers Life Fieldhouse in March.
You could add Perry Central to the mix. Anyone remember the green shirts occupying a full third of Huntingburg’s 6,100-seat gym at the 2013 and 2014 2A basketball regionals?
But when it comes to turning out in full force, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a fan base that tops Barr-Reeve’s.
I’ve seen quite a few good crowds at Linton’s gym - especially on the home side - these past few years.
But in all the games I’ve been to at Linton, I can’t remember seeing the gym filled to capacity the way it was last Friday when the Barr-Reeve Vikings invaded. I don’t recall seeing that even for a Bloomfield or a Sullivan game at Linton.
And when Barr-Reeve played at Bloomfield in the final regular-season game, before commencing its state title run, the Viking throng was so huge it seemed like a Barr-Reeve home game.
And Barr-Reeve’s fan support isn’t just reserved for the basketball team. You should have seen the Viking faithful turn out for the volleyball sectional at North Knox. Had it been a basketball sectional, the black-clad Barr-Reeve crowd would have taken up its entire allotted quadrant of seats - and then some.
I’m sure they were anticipating a sectional championship celebration. But that story was already written in late October.
With the Shakamak Lakers off to a 5-0 start fans is Jasonville have had plenty to cheer about so far.
The question was posed, when was the last time Shakamak started 5-0?
John Harrell’s records only go back to the 1993-94 season and it didn’t happen during that span.
Best guess is 1989 or 1990. Maybe someone out there in Lakerland knows the answer.
But that got me wondering - when was the last time Shakamak knocked off both Bloomfield and Sullivan in the same season, as they did in this season’s second weekend?
Turns out, it wasn’t all that long ago. Steve Brett’s 2008-09 squad accomplished the task in early December 2008.
Regardless, it’s always an accomplishment to beat those two historically-strong programs the same season. And when you play the Cards and the Arrows back-to-back as the Lakers do, it’s a tall order.
Shakamak will face its toughest test so far when the Lakers host the Linton Miners Friday.
But the Miners have a challenge ahead as well. Linton will be tasked with finding a way to contain Tanner Yeryar. The explosive Laker guard is averaging 29.2 points per outing.
Should be interesting.
Terry Schwinghammer is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487, ext. 27. He can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.