By Gentry Appleget
The Woodmen ended a 22-game losing streak dating back to 2006 to “the other team from Greenwood” in the first Sectional championship GHS had won since 2002.
“As a team, we felt confident with coach’s game plan because they put nearly 15 hours of scouting in for each opponent,” senior Spencer Aaron said.
The team practiced rigorously preparing to execute Coach Joe Bradburn’s game plan.
“We came in to the school at 10:30 Saturday morning to make sure we were prepared for Center Grove and were all on the same page,” sophomore Brock Kincaid said.
The hours of practice paid off as the players prepared to face Goliath on the battlefield.
“I had some butterflies, but besides that, I felt confident in our game plan and believed if we stuck to it we could win,” senior Ian Raker said.
Instead of butterflies, Aaron showed up with a vengeance to get Center Grove back after their first match earlier in the season.
“We were all hurt by the earlier meeting in the season and knew that this one had to be different,” he said.
The championship game had a lot of excitement, but for junior Rasheed Elumikan, “seeing the fans and our senior class happy” were the highlights for him.
As tradition had it, the winning team climbed a ladder to cut pieces of the net.
“It’s something that I truly will remember forever. I think even bigger than cutting down the net I’m going to remember looking out at all of the fans from the top of the ladder and thinking this is special for all of us,” Aaron said.
The team celebrated the big win in the locker-room drenching Coach Bradburn with multiple Gatorade water bottles.
“It wasn’t really planned; it just kind of happened. Throughout the season, we’ve celebrated big wins like that, but water kind of substituted for a Gatorade shower,” senior Nick Duffey said.
The team quickly changed and boarded the bus for GHS escorted into the town by police, firefighters and fans in a convoy that joined them at the interstate 65 exit on Main St. and ended in the high school parking lot.
“The best part about the police escort was when the fire truck picked us up at the Greenwood exit. Between the fire truck escort and the cops stopping all the intersections, it was really cool,” Duffey said.
The bus was greeted in front of the school by fans awaiting the arrival of the team for a post win reception in the main gym.
“My favorite part of the pep rally was hearing coach talk about winning. We knew it meant a lot to him to win a Sectional for the team but more importantly for the community,” Duffey said.
When the reception ended, Raker was walking on air.
“The highlight of my high school basketball career was definitely winning the Sectional. It’s what our whole team has worked for since we were little,” he said.
Pricing for both the game and transportation have been kept the same, making the cost for the bus ride and the games themselves a bargain.
“There is no additional fee. Its $2 for the bus and that’s if we go once or twice. The tickets are $10 and that covers both the morning and afternoon games,” principal Todd Garrison said.
The buses will be running for both games, so students can catch a ride regardless of what time they choose.
“If we win and they still want to ride the fan bus, we’ll take the bus back that evening for an 8 o’clock game and come straight home after that,” Garrison said.