Win or go home, that is what is great about post-season play in Indiana. The added pressure of knowing just one basket can end your season is intense and some have a tough time dealing with it, win or lose.
The excitement, the tradition. You can’t beat basketball in Indiana.
“Everybody is yelling the whole time,” said Whiteland student Donnie Richard. “Nobody sits down the whole time, we are all yelling.”
The points on the scoreboard are not the only thing adding up, tempers are also on the rise.
“It is very hard, especially for me, because I am pretty vocal,” said Center Grove parent Laurie Brown. “I like to give my opinion.”
Not everyone agrees with every call, with that in mind, the IHSAA is reminding everyone to take a time out.
“Sometimes when people get around a ball, they get stupid,” said IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox. “That happens, they just lose their mind.”
The IHSAA takes it a step further when it comes to the tournament. School officials, local police, even state police are brought in to keep the peace, in the stands and on the court.
“If anyone comes over that railing they are going to jail it is just that simple,” said Cox. “We put security in front of the stands.
“We implore our principals and athletic directors to have their staff there to let their people know that is not part of what we do in education based athletics.”
Cox said students storming the court has become the norm in college hoops. Cox said the risk is too great for high schools to open the flood gates.
“My fear is, at some point in time, somebody is going to die,” said Cox. “Somebody is going to get trampled, somebody is going to get catastrophically injured and we are all going to look at each other and say, ‘Why did this happen?'”
The action is exciting and the atmosphere is electric. It is just a matter of sitting back and doing your best to enjoy the ride.
“We have to keep it in check, but I’ll tell you, for me, myself, I lose it sometimes but we try not to,” said Brown.
As far as in the stand etiquette, Cox said it is up to school’s to identify potentially difficult fans or situations. School officials often know the rivalry, they know the fans involved, and usually they have better luck defusing a difficult situation.