Brownstown, Crothersville boys basketball players reflect on shortened season


Eleven senior boys basketball players played the last game of their career and didn’t even know it.

They didn’t expect things to unfold the way they did. They didn’t see the coronavirus and COVID-19 situation reaching this point.

As if having the basketball season cut short didn’t hurt enough, the spring sports season now is in limbo, so several of the Brownstown Central and Crothersville seniors may not get a chance to compete.

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Plus, they are completing their studies via eLearning, and prom has been rescheduled. For now, graduation is still on.

As they have learned, though, things could change.

All they can do now is hope for some positive news.

“I planned on running track, and I’m not sure if we will have it or not,” Brownstown senior Derek Thompson said. “I plan on playing football in college, so running track was going to be a great way to help me stay in shape while lifting, so I’ll have to find any alternative now.”

Crothersville senior Carson Farmer hopes to play baseball this spring.

“I have not heard any news on what the plans are for the season,” he said. “If we are not able to play the season, I will be very disappointed because I have been playing baseball longer than I have basketball.”

Brownstown defeated South Vermillion, Brown County and Edgewood to win the Class 3A Sectional 26 at Edgewood High School. That was the school’s 14th boys basketball sectional title and first time playing in that sectional.

The Braves were set to play Brebeuf Jesuit in the Greencastle Regional on March 14. Late that week, the virus concerns ramped up, and each of the four participating schools could only have 75 fans attend the game, including the players’ parents, siblings and grandparents. The regional was then moved to Danville High School.

Shortly after receiving that news, the Indiana High School Athletic Association postponed the games. Then the announcement came about canceling the boys basketball state tournament series.

“Before I knew the tournament was canceled, we had a team meeting and was told we couldn’t practice,” Brownstown senior Isaiah Wineinger said. “We couldn’t go in any Boys and Girls Clubs or any facility to get shops up. For me, I stayed in shape by running outside. Whether it be 2 or 3 miles a day, just running a little each day helps.”

Thompson said initially, he saw the postponement as more days to prepare for the regional.

“We had high hopes going into regional after a great sectional,” he said.

When he found out the tournament was canceled, Wineinger said his heart dropped.

“Knowing my senior season was cut short hurts,” he said. “Me personally, I would’ve rather played and lost at regional than have my season ended early and out of my control. My mind is full of what-ifs because you’ll never know how far we could’ve gone. It’s memories that my friends and I could’ve made that were taken from us. I understand why they canceled it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about it.”

Thompson, who had played basketball since third or fourth grade, said he was devastated.

“We had worked so hard for this moment, and it was taken away just like that. It was tough,” he said. “All those years don’t feel wasted, but I feel like we were stopped before we could really show what we could do.”

Crothersville defeated Edinburgh and West Washington to win the Class A Sectional 62 at Edinburgh High School. The Tigers made history by winning the school’s first boys sectional title in its 105 years in the IHSAA.

They were set to play top-ranked Barr-Reeve in the Loogootee Regional on March 14.

The day before, they were lined up at the end of the hallway at school to be greeted by their peers inside and fans outside when they learned about the postponement.

“I wasn’t surprised, though, because at this point, all sporting events across the country were getting canceled or postponed,” Farmer said. “I was disappointed, though, because I had a feeling that we would never finish the tournament.”

Farmer, who played basketball since second or third grade, said when the tournament was canceled, it sank in that he had played his last high school basketball game.

“All of this sucks, but in the end, we still made history this year, and that is something we’ll never forget,” he said.

The memories of a successful senior season will long remain with the players.

“A lot of the players I know really well from other sports, but some I don’t, and it’s a time where I have the opportunity to learn more about them and create a bond with them,” Thompson said. “The coaches are fantastic. They are always there to help you every step of the way.”

He said he misses being around his teammates and coaches.

“I’m going to miss it every day seeing some of my friends that I’ll never play with again and the things that the coaches have taught me, like every day, you need to come to practice ready to compete, because this will carry on later in life when you’re competing for a job,” Thompson said.

Farmer said the season was really special.

“We had so much talent on the team that practices were really competitive, and our coaches always pushed us to make sure it was this way every day,” he said. “It was a season none of us will ever forget. Winning Crothersville’s first boys sectional is a huge accomplishment, so even though our season was cut short, it was still a success.”

Academically, the seniors are adjusting to changes in their studies.

“Most of my classes were already based online with some in-class teaching, as well, so the adjustment has been pretty easy,” Thompson said. “I’ve taken psychology honors online, and that class was completely online, so the transition was easier because of this.”

Farmer also is used to online classes having taken some through Ivy Tech Community College.

Now, the seniors hope prom and graduation aren’t changed.

“I’ve been to prom once already, so it’s not the end of the world if I can’t go, but I really hope we have our graduation because you only get one high school graduation,” Thompson said.

“I really hope that we are still able to have prom and graduation,” Farmer said. “If we are not able to do any of these, then it would not feel like a senior year.”

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