By Andy Amey
TERRE HAUTE — I won’t be there Friday night to see three new boys high school basketball coaches make their Bi-County rivalry debuts, but there’s no reason you can’t be.
There is still a boys jamboree this year — even though the girls affair is a thing of the past for several reasons — and it starts at 7 p.m. Friday at Terre Haute North. There wily old veteran Mike Saylor of Terre Haute South hopes to start giving banjo lessons — in the words of the late Howard Sharpe, who knew those stringed instruments pretty well himself — to the three young whippersnappers.
Actually, first-year coach Ernie Maesch of Northview is new only to his alma mater, having already coached a Final Four team like Mike has. But it will be the first real varsity coaching for Joe Boehler of West Vigo and Todd Woelfle of North, so there might be a butterfly or two for those gentlemen, just as there will be for the players involved.
Chances are you know the drill by now: West Vigo vs. South in the first quarter, North vs. Northview in the second, the North-South quarter third and finally eight minutes of West Vigo-Northview. Preseason stories about the four teams and others in the Wabash Valley will start showing up in less than a week, and here’s what I know so far: North has a couple of really good tall kids, and South has a couple of really good not-quite-as-tall kids.
Actually, you may have known that already. You may attend Friday’s exhibition for further insight.
I will be hoping for a burst of freakishly warm weather that night as I walk the Linton sidelines in the Miners’ Class A football semistate battle with visiting Indianapolis Ritter.
I felt terribly wimpy last week when I elected to watch the Linton-Rockville game from the pressbox, because naturally the rain stopped that night as soon as I got upstairs. But the rivalry that’s developed between the two the last two years was still palpable, even from that distance.
How big the Linton-Rockville rivalry has become can be demonstrated by a story about yet another high school linebacker who came up big in postseason play.
Rockville senior Jake Lee played and made several tackles for the Rox last week, and I thought at the time that there was a little extra reaction whenever his name was mentioned over the public address system. I have since learned why.
Jake tore his anterior cruciate ligament earlier this fall — yes, this fall. He came back eight weeks after surgery — many months ahead of the usual recovery time — because he wanted to play against the Miners. That, folks, is a rivalry — and one very tough kid.
• • •
Couple of honors you may have missed:
• All-conference — Carol Weatherford was a first-team all-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference volleyball selection from Anderson recently. The North graduate is a middle hitter for the Ravens.
• Way to go — I also want to recognize Lowell High School athletic director Don Bales for being named the 2008 recipient of the Award of Merit by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
Don, who is in his 28th year as AD for the Red Devils, will get his award Dec. 15 at San Diego.
He’s not a fellow alum like I am, but he is an alumnus of the Lowell Post 101 team coached by yours truly back in the day. Left-handed too, with a good sinker. Can’t say I taught him much about hitting, however.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.