Ah... Valentine's Day... the time when a young man's heart turns to... girls sectional basketball??? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I must admit-- I have been in a committed relationship for 3 years, and was married 13 years before that, but I have had a decades long love affair with girls' basketball.
It all started in 1991, as a young, eager, excitable sports broadcaster in my hometown of Connersville, Indiana. I grew up, and was living at the time, in a 200-person subdivision known as Shelton's Plat-- around 3 miles outside of Connersville. It was a basketball hotbed-- with no fewer than 8 varsity basketball players from the neighborhood playing at Connersville-based high schools. In 1991, two of those players-- one of them two houses down from me-- were on a girls' team that won a Regional title, and made the Sweet 16. I was close to that team, and it started my love affair with girls' basketball. It deepened in the years to come, with excellence at Connersville High School, leading to a Number 1 state ranking in 1995-96 behind eventual 1999 Indfiana Miss Basketball April McDivitt.
I then moved on to North Knox High School, and have been the Lady Warrior broadcaster from 1996-97 to now-- with one year's exception. I saw more sustained excellence from that program through the late 1990's into the mid-2000's. 50-plus straight Blue Chip Conference wins in the early and mid-2000's... that record may never be equaled. The one year I missed? 2010-11, when I covered the Rivet Lady Patriots-- and they won their only state title in Fort Wayne. In fact, I called 2 titles that day, along with Evansville Memorial's state victory.
So yes, I have had a love affair with girls' basketball, from my earliest days of broadcasting. This Valentine's Day, I am going to spend the evening with a Lady Warrior-- but fortunately, my REAL significant other is coming into town for part of the weekend after the sectional is over. I am just glad she is patient with me...
That's my take...I'm Tom Lee.