Column: Line Drives — Hoops has gained a new follower

[This is my column in Thursday’s issue of The Commercial Review.]

It’s been a long time coming, but it is safe to say I am a changed man.

Three weeks ago I confessed basketball was not of any relevance to me, and surprisingly, people I spoke to understood my stance.

I will admit, though, I expected to be publicly shunned for my disinterest in the sport. Thankfully, that was not the case.

At this time, I can declare it only took 21 days to bring that change of heart inside of this fuzzy faced, burly sports editor.

It kind of feels like my own Grinch moment, when the green fellow finally opens up to the joys of the holiday in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

I’ve finally been turned on to the sport of basketball, so consider me a hoops fan.

The eight games I have covered so far in the young season are the reason for my newfound enjoyment of the winter sport. But the season-opening overtime thriller Saturday between Jay County and Lakewood Park Christian sure played its part.

The Panthers led 13-3 and Jay County just couldn’t get shots to fall.

But as is often the case with basketball, the Patriots went on a run of their own, scoring the next 10 points.

Fast forward to the fourth quarter, and the two buzzer beaters.

I’ve been to games where a team has made a shot as time expired but never have I witnessed two in the same game.

Jacob Schlosser nailed a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of regulation. Lakewood Park’s Noah Gardner made an errant pass on a scramble near mid-court that bounced off a teammate and into the hands of Schlosser, who drained the shot to tie the game and send it to an overtime period.

Four minutes later, Zach Fullenkamp drained a put-back shot as the overtime clock ran out to give the Patriots the 53-51 win.

The excitement of the fans and the enthusiasm of the players as they made some clutch baskets reminded me just how thrilling basketball can be.

At the very least, it was an incredible introduction to Indiana high school boys basketball.

Well played, Jay County.

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