News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 24, 2010

Amey takes Aim: It’s hard to take in all the great athletic feats going on in the Valley

By Andy Amey

It’s one of those times of the year again when I really need to be in several places at once; I almost pulled that trick off on Saturday.

Being needed in a lot of areas is a good thing, because the only time it happens is when so many of the Wabash Valley high school athletes are being successful at one sport or another.

But that’s also a bad thing for me, because there’s so much stuff I miss.

For as much fun as I had over the weekend watching the state wrestling championships and Turkey Run finally getting that elusive girls basketball regional championship, for example.

I also would have loved to have seen whether or not my niece Abby’s foot was really on the line for that last-second shot in Clay City’s one-point regional loss, or maybe Terre Haute North’s overtime win over Indianapolis Cathedral, West Vigo’s win over North Central, Terre Haute South’s near-upset at Warren Central or the Braves’ first-ever sectional swim championship.

The referees’ decision on Abby’s shot means I won’t be seeing the Eels at all this year, getting all my information from Chris Ames’ Monday night phone calls and the occasional e-mail from Abby’s dad. Fortunately, most of them — including Abby — are sophomores that I might still watch play in the future.

I’m not going to be as lucky with the boys basketball player who intrigued me this season, because Martinsville lost its Illinois Class A regional opener on Monday night.

I think I may have seen Jared Higginbotham briefly during his freshman season at the Marshall Regional, but there were a lot of Higginbothams on that team and I can’t be sure if my memory is correct. But I do know that Jared’s not very big to be amassing all the statistics — particularly in rebounding — that he did as a senior. I would have loved to watch him do that.

We get our Martinsville information here through e-mails from coach Kyle Shelton, and he has a pretty long list of addresses. As Jared reached the school’s single-season rebound record, that address list included Barry Wolfe, who had the previous record. And when Jared finally broke the record, Barry replied to that list with his congratulations.

Which, of course, gave me a way to send an e-mail back to Barry.

“But can he play defensive end?” is what that e-mail said.

I don’t know if Jared played football for the Streaks, but I know Barry did. He and his brother were part of one of the most entertaining high school football teams I’ve been privileged to cover. Teams who played against the Bluestreaks, I remember writing, had to decide whether to run one way and encounter the Wolfe brothers or run the other way and tangle with the Cribelars.

I probably saw them three or four times, my favorite being a playoff game against Kankakee Bishop McNamara. (Yes, there was once a time in Illinois when little Martinsville was in the same football class with Bishop Mac, now a perennial powerhouse in Class 4A or 5A.)

Martinsville won, something like 28-26, even though time of possession was at least three or four to one in Bishop McNamara’s favor. The visitors would march down the field for eight or nine minutes at a time, get inside the 20-yard line, score or give up the ball — and Martinsville would score on the next play or two. I remember at least two Martinsville runs of at least 85 yards, and that wasn’t because the offense was fresh from waiting on the sidelines. If you didn’t go both ways at Martinsville (Barry was a heck of a tight end too, I recall) you probably didn’t go either way.

I don’t know if Barry got to see much of Jared’s pursuit of his rebound record, by the way. He was a little busy too this winter, coaching the Casey eighth-graders to a state championship last week.

• Gatorade award — Indiana’s boys soccer player of the year is A.J. Corrado of Zionsville’s state championship team. He’s the second straight Eagle to win the Gatorade award.

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; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.