KNIGHTSTOWN, INDIANA — Twin Valley South’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams played in one of the most ‘Iconic’ and famous gyms in the country last week as they visited The Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, Indiana for a battle with Western Athletic Conference rival Dixie.
The gym was home to the Hickory Huskers in the movie Hoosiers, which was released in 1986.
This was the first time playing in the gym for the girls team and second straight year the boys team experienced playing there.
“It was fun. Anytime you get to come to a historic gym like this, it’s an experience you want to take in,” South girls coach Brayden Waggoner said after his team’s 56-25 loss on Friday, Feb. 2.
“It’s always special coming here. It’s historic and you always watch the movie beforehand and guys, they get excited about that small environment, tight knit. Crowd feels like they’re on top of you,” boys coach Braxston Campbell said after his team fell 67-49. “It’s the second year we’ve been here. It’s always a great environment. It’s always fun. Doesn’t matter what the records are. Throw the records out. It’s just a historic venue. We respect it. We just tried to come in and compete, play hard and try to do this place our due diligence by coming out and competing and playing hard and I think we did that.”
For the girls, South shot just nine percent, making just five of 56 shots on the night as they fell behind early and never caught up.
Dixie, led by Sierra Brinson’s game-high 29 points grabbed the lead and never let go. On the night, Brinson became Dixie’s all-time leading scorer.
South was led by junior Jordan Ritchie’s 11 points, although she struggled from the field making just one of 23 shot attempts. She did go 9-of-12 from the foul line.
Brylii Day added six points and six rebounds. Maci Arndts led the team with eight rebounds.
“Initially we came out with a little bit of energy,” Waggoner said. “Brinson got hot kind of took the wind out of our sails and we couldn’t really recover. It’s hard to match up with Brinson. I assume she’ll be player of the year in the WOAC this year. We tried to throw some different looks at her. She got hot and we couldn’t hit shots today.”
Waggoner said he felt he could have had his team better prepared.
“I told the girls in there I said, ‘I’m disappointed in myself’. It’s my job to make them ready to come out with some energy and some fight,” he said. “I don’t think I came out with enough and they feed off that. So, I’m disappointed in myself. I’m disappointed in the outcome of course. I thought we could have played better.”
On the boys’ side, South kept the game within striking distance, trailing by just nine entering the fourth quarter (48-39).
Dixie though, went on an 8-0 to take a 56-39 lead less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.
The Greyhounds made eight of their first nine shots in the final quarter as they extended their lead to as many as 20 points.
Griffin Roell led South with 12 points and nine rebounds. Chandler Ulrich added 10 points and Seth Vorhis tossed in nine points and had four rebounds.
“I thought we battled, we played hard,” Campbell said. “I can’t say enough about Dixie just seeing where that program’s evolved over (the last) four or five years. I got a lot of respect for their coaches and what they do and how hard the kids play. We competed. We got a little tired, they’re late.”
South returned to action on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at Eaton and suffered a 59-39 setback.
The Panthers (4-14) were scheduled to play Tri-Village on Friday, Feb. 9 and play at Miami Valley on Saturday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on X @emowenjr.