Andy Amey: Is columnist's slump over? Wolves hope so

Mar. 15—I haven't exactly been a good-luck charm for teams I've been covering lately, but I'm hoping Indiana State's six-run baseball comeback against Illinois on Tuesday was the slump-buster.

Prior to that I'd witnessed the last boys basketball games for West Vigo (the team I jinxed all season), South Vermillion (in the cruelest way possible), Terre Haute South, Terre Haute North and the doubleheader of Clay City and Sullivan. I also saw the Indiana State women lose in that two-week span, although it wasn't the last game of the season for the Sycamores.

So if the kids from Parke Heritage don't have enough on their plate ... I'll see you at Southport.

Saturday will be the Wolves' third semistate appearance in the last four years, and they've already won one of them. It's their second straight trip to Southport too, where they lost to Linton a year ago before the Miners defeated Brownstown Central.

(To prove all my luck isn't bad, I'm not sure anybody else has three better Class 2A public-school high school basketball teams to cover than I do with the Wolves, the Miners and Sullivan's Golden Arrows. All of them will be receiving top-10 votes in the preseason poll in November, and one of the teams I've mentioned earlier will probably get a vote for No. 1.)

On Saturday, Parke Heritage gets a shot at Forest Park, hoping to win and get a chance to play the No. 1 team in the state, Brownstown, or a team (Park Tudor) that beat Parke Heritage early in the year.

The Rangers from Ferdinand, Parke Heritage coach Rich Schelsky said this week, are "very similar to us — not very big but all pretty kids who are not afraid to play physical."

That's probably part of every scouting report on the Wolves, by the way, but "not very big" should be amended to "not very tall." I don't know where the Parke Heritage weight room is — my guess is somewhere in Rockville Elementary School, which might make the most efficient use of space of any facility I'm aware of — but the athletes obviously do. So if they can overcome my presence, there should be two pretty good games to look forward to.

—Suspense — The wait is almost over before Indiana State learns whether it is the latest victim of the NCAA's plan to keep deserving mid-major college basketball teams from embarrassing middle-of-the-pack mediocrities from the Power 6 conferences.

The justification the tournament committee will use — against somebody else, if it turns out it's not the Sycamores being discriminated against — is that the mid-major team doesn't have enough success against the better teams in the country.

What they don't mention is that the better teams in the country are too smart and too scared to play the good mid-major teams in anything but a favorable situation — or not at all. Thus the system perpetuates itself.

My two suggestions, which have no chance of being adopted? No team without a winning record in its conference games gets to go to any tournament (winning conference games should be their main focus, and finishing .500 or below makes them failures) and mid-major teams who have tried and failed to schedule the P6 teams (keep that correspondence handy, athletic directors) should have the priority if a bid comes down to that team and a team that refused to play them.

Like I said, will never happen. Proof that the NCAA is trying to keep its smaller Division I teams under wraps is borne out by the NIT, which no longer automatically includes conference champions who lose in their conference tournaments. It's much safer (financially, for an organization that's viable only by the grace of the Power 5 football leagues) to reward mediocrity.

It's too bad that the recent rules and regulations have grown out of fear, which is not a desirable way to run a business, which the NCAA most definitely is.

If you'd like to extend that reasoning beyond just college basketball to other fear-related rules and ideas, you have my blessing.

—She's an All-Star — Terre Haute North's Sophia Buechner, the 120-pound girls state wrestling champion, will compete with the Indiana All-Stars on Sunday at Mooresville.

—She might be one someday herself — Woodrow Wilson sixth-grader Casen Kelley wasn't the only Wabash Valley standout at the recent Elks Hoop Shoot state championships, I have learned.

Isabella Cook, a 9-year-old fourth-grader at Fuqua Elementary School, was the state runner-up after hitting 18 of 25 free throws in the finals of her age group.

"Just a nice, modest little girl," is how Cook's gym teacher, Steve DeGroote, described her.

Boys semistate pairings

(All times EDT)

Class 4A

At Elkhart — Crown Point (20-5) vs. Fishers (26-1), 10 a.m., followed by Fort Wayne Wayne (22-3) vs. Mishawaka (20-7); championship 7:30 p.m.

At New Castle — Center Grove (21-4) vs. Ben Davis (21-6), 10 a.m., followed by Jeffersonville (19-7) vs. Lawrence North (25-3); championship 8 p.m.

Class 3A

At Logansport — Peru (16-10) vs. South Bend St. Joseph's (18-9), 10 a.m., followed by Delta (22-6) vs. Fairfield (20-6); championship 8 p.m.

At Seymour — Guerin Catholic (21-7) vs. Danville (22-3), 10 a.m., followed by Evansville Bosse (15-10) vs. Scottsburg (22-5); championship 8 p.m.

Class 2A

At Lafayette Jeff — North Judson (21-6) vs. Wapahani (24-2), 10 a.m., followed by Wabash (21-5) vs. Fort Wayne Blackhawk (21-6); championship 8 p.m.

At Southport — Park Tudor (20-5) vs. Brownstown Central (24-2), 10 a.m., followed by Forest Park (18-9) vs. Parke Heritage (23-5); championship 8 p.m.

Class A

At Michigan City — Liberty Christian (17-9) vs. Marquette Catholic (12-15), 11 a.m., followed by Elkhart Christian (17-9) vs. Fort Wayne Canterbury (16-9); championship 8:30 p.m.

At Washington — Greenwood Christian (18-7) vs. Bethesda Christian (21-7), 10 a.m., followed by Evansville Christian (24-2) vs. Barr-Reeve (24-2); championship 7:30 p.m.

Andy Amey can be reached at 4 p.m. at 812-231-4276 or 812-231-4277; by email at; or by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808. Follow TribStarAndy on the X.