TERRE HAUTE —
Fans accustomed to driving to Hulman Center to watch the Terre Haute North
vs. Terre Haute South girls/boys basketball doubleheader need to do one
thing Friday evening.
Get unaccustomed to old habits.
As was previously announced, these annual rivalry games will no longer take
place at the downtown home of Indiana State University basketball. Instead,
they¹ll alternate locations between the high school gyms, starting this year
with the matchups taking place at South. The girls will tip off at 6:30,
with the boys to follow at approximately 8:15.
The new arrangement was driven home during a "Champions Luncheon" featuring
coaches and players from both schools Wednesday afternoon at Rick¹s
"I think pull-away goals and a bigger court [like what exists in Hulman
Center] make a little bit of difference, but the team that plays the best is
going to win," South boys coach Scott Ridge told the Tribune-Star after the
luncheon. "I don¹t think it¹s going to have much effect on the outcome,
favoring either team."
"It does a make a difference because the fans are right up on the court,"
North boys coach Todd Woelfle said. "It¹s going to be loud. It¹s difficult
for the personnel to hear what¹s going on and to communicate. Š But I think
it¹s going to be exciting. It doesn¹t matter where North and South play.
When they get together, it¹s going to be a battle."
"For us, it was a great opportunity for the kids to play in Hulman Center,"
North girls coach Mike Allen noted. "But in all honesty, we haven¹t had a
whole lot of success there. We didn¹t shoot the ball well. We have not
played well. So we¹re kinda excited to get back in the high school gym and
get in that high school environment and get on a court that we¹re familiar
"The atmosphere is going to be great, no matter where we play," South girls
coach Cara Stuckey assessed. "You just have more fans on top of you than at
Hulman Center. I know our players are looking forward to the atmosphere."
Players also weighed in on the subject. Although South¹s girls left before
they could be interviewed, North senior Sierra Sykes said she doesn¹t mind
"I¹m looking forward to it a lot," stressed Sykes, who will be playing in
her third regular-season North-South clash. "I think it¹ll be a great
atmosphere. The student sections and the fans will be right on top of you so
you¹ll be able to hear them. It¹ll be really loud and it¹ll be a good game."
For the boys, seniors Austin Benson and Mitchell Dennany of North think the
game will be fun, regardless of where it¹s played.
"That¹s what they did before the game was played at Hulman Center [in the
1970s]," Benson said, "so it¹ll be cool to go back [to playing in the high
"I¹m not sure if it¹ll make much of a difference," Dennany added. "We¹re
kinda looking at it as another game."
As for the contests themselves, South¹s boys already own a 58-48 victory
over the Patriots from the championship game of the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley
Classic on Dec. 30 on North¹s Jim Jones Court. Now past the halfway mark of
the season, South is 7-6 and North is 6-7.
"We expect [North] will be a little hungrier because they lost the first
time," Ridge said. "Hopefully, our guys won¹t relax any since we already won
one. That game could have gone either way. It was tight for three quarters
and they had a bad-shooting fourth quarter. That was the only difference. I
thought they played just as well as we did. So we know we¹re going to have
to play our best game to win."
"It¹s a big event, not only for the players who play the game but for the
student body, the administration and the people in our community," Woelfle
pointed out. "It should be exciting."
"You grow up playing basketball as a little kid and all you think about is
being a varsity basketball player and playing in the North-South game," said
Benson, who remembers being a sixth-grader attending one of the previous
clashes and leaving impressed with a dunk by then-North standout Justin
Meanwhile, Dennany acknowledged that he¹s getting excited "because of how
excited everyone else is getting about it."
For South, seniors Da¹Shon Heyen ‹ who has recovered from the illness that
limited him last week ‹ and Jerad Fuson offered their views of the boys
"This is my first [regular-season] North-South game," Heyen said. "I hope
more than anything that we can win. It¹s my senior year so it¹s a big deal."
"I¹m really excited," Fuson emphasized. "Can¹t wait. Hopefully, we can bring
back the trophy to South. I believe our team¹s coming together really well
and our chemistry is there. I think we can pull it off."
From the girls¹ perspective, North defeated South 58-45 in the Terre Haute
Savings Bank Tip-Off Tournament title matchup Nov. 15 at West Vigo. North is
12-5 now while South is 6-10.
Allen realizes that one triumph over South doesn¹t guarantee a second.
"It was great for us to get that first win against them in the Tip-Off
Classic," Allen admitted. "Having seen them play a couple times [since
then], they¹ve improved. We¹re struggling with some injuries. It¹s going to
be a heckuva ballgame. We¹re going to have to play well. Coach Stuckey will
have her team focused and ready to play so we¹ve just got to make sure we
take care of the basketball and don¹t turn it over and we might be able to
come out with a victory."
Unforutnately for the Patriots, they¹ll be without the services of senior
Layne Curley, who¹s rehabbing from a broken hand and hoping to be back in
time for the Class 4A sectional.
"My role will be to keep my teammates¹ heads in the game in the locker room
and get Œem focused before the game and at halftime," explained Curley.
Terre Haute Savings Bank sponsored Wednesday¹s luncheon.