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Inside the Chrome Dome (archive November 2006)

Please refer to the Inside the Chrome Dome main page for columns published in other issues.




 Today’s Kids Missing A Lot Due to Class Basketball

Ah yes, high school basketball season is upon us once again.

The Knightstown Panther boys’ basketball team takes to the floor Wednesday night for the season opener against Tri High. The Panther girls have already played five games, losing their first two and then running to three straight wins.

I love the excitement of high school sports. College and professional sports are fun – I am a huge fan of Notre Dame, the Colts, Purdue and IU – but they just aren’t as much fun as the kids and fans playing and rooting for their school.

These days, professional athletes have made many sports unbearable to watch. It’s just too much of a business, especially when it comes to pro baseball and basketball.

The athletes are spoiled millionaires, and there are a good number of professional athletes who just want to put on a self-promoting show. Too many of them can’t handle the money and success and do really stupid things. Then you have the accompanying fame, which leads to dating rock-and-roll stars and movie legends, and they buckle under the pressure. Those of us who’ve been in rebound relationships with rock legends can relate.

I guess that’s what makes being a high school sports fan so much more fun.

Unfortunately in basketball, the class system just hasn’t worked out the way supporters thought it would.

We’ve had plenty of time to see if this system works. It looks like teams who have had success in the class system enjoy it, while the opposite is true for others.

I think the worst part about the current system is the loss of the long-time rivalries. At Knightstown High School, beating New Castle in the sectional was the biggest thing that could happen. That sectional included the Trojans, Panthers, Tri High, Eastern Hancock, Shenandoah and Blue River. All of the biggest rivals for the county schools could be found in the sectional.

Before class basketball, just advancing to the final game was an amazing accomplishment that brought the entire community together.

The Panthers have won three straight Class 2A sectionals, beating the likes of Muncie Burris, Alexandria and Frankton. The excitement level when the team advanced to the semi-state in class basketball equaled what I saw when the Art Rose-led Panthers knocked New Castle out of the 1977 sectional in the semi-final round. Ditto for the Ronnie Morgan-led 1987 sectional champions, and the Joe Allen-led 1970 Panther team that beat the Trojans.

Winning a regional today can be compared to winning a couple of sectional games in the old system. The only saving grace in today’s sectional is that old-time rivals Eastern Hancock and Shenandoah also play in it.

I think it would have been a lot of fun to see that 2004 or 2005 Panther team play New Castle in a sectional game. How much fun would it have been for Dusty Magee and Greg Freeman to play in the New Castle Fieldhouse?

Dusty couldn’t tell you because he didn’t get to do it. But his father, Brent, had some pretty impressive games in that facility against the Trojans. I haven’t talked to Brent about that, but I imagine he would trade a Class 2A sectional title for a shot at the Trojans on their floor in one sectional game.

Here’s hoping class basketball goes the way of the Beta Max.

If you are too young to know what a Beta Max is, then you’re likely also too young to know what a true, rivalry-filled sectional played in front of 9,000 screaming people is like, too.

That’s too bad.


Where Are They Now?

Teresa Phelps Boyd was one of the best girls high school basketball players ever to attend Knightstown High School. She graduated in 1980, but not before leading the Lady Panthers to both a sectional and regional title in the era before class basketball.

Still today, that sectional title is the only one in the history of KHS basketball for the girls. She was named to the AP, UPI and Coaches Association all-state teams, and was invited to the Indiana Top 40 tryouts for the state all-star team.

Teresa also played volleyball and ran track for the Lady Panthers.

She is now living in Gaithersburg, Maryland with her husband, John Boyd. John is a former New Castle Trojan, playing basketball and football. He went on to play college football for Indiana University on a scholarship.

Teresa is a teacher at 2,000-student Richard Montgomery High School, in Rockville, MD, where she also coaches the high school co-ed volleyball team. She and John have three boys, Jonathan, 17, Isaac, 11, and Bryson, 18 months.

Although she doesn’t play basketball much anymore, she does mix it up a little on the volleyball court occasionally.




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