A few days ago, I wrote a pre-Wabash Valley Classic column stating I had no idea what to expect at this year’s holiday tournament.
And even though I went into Saturday’s opening round games expecting the unexpected (shoutout to all the Big Brother fans out there), I still ended the night shaking my head in disbelief when looking over the day’s results.
Terre Haute North, the two-time defending champions, opened the Classic against Edgewood on its home floor.
The two played one of the craziest final two minutes in the tourney’s 21-year history with the Mustangs losing the lead in the final seconds on a Matt Gauer stolen inbounds pass that went for a layup.
On the other end, though, Edgewood responded by knocking down a clutch 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left.
North called for a timeout and drew up a Hail Mary of a play.
North threw the ball to the half court stripe and then again to Gauer who came around the 3-point arc, caught the ball and fired it off towards the rim as fast as he could.
The shot dropped in. The Patriot bench jumped around in excitement. The Edgewood defenders hung their heads in shock.
But the shot didn’t get off in time. The refs – who got the call correct after viewing the replay – waved it off in real time, ending North’s bid at a three-peat.
Watching the game at home on the Terre Haute North YouTube feed, the only thing I could think was, ‘Could you imagine what the end-of-game atmosphere would have been like had the gym been jam-packed like it normally is?’
What else caught my eye?
• Kouts, the No. 2-ranked Class A team that came into its first ever Classic game averaging over 87 points per game, only put up 40 points in a loss to Bloomington South.
• Northview and Sullivan (two very strong teams that have a chance to become Classic champions on Dec. 30), coming off two-week hiatuses due to quarantine, looked like they were in midseason form. The Knights defeated Terre Haute South in a down-to-the-wire game, while the Golden Arrows raced past Cloverdale.
• Linton, the No. 2-ranked Class 2A team that was one of favorites – if not the favorite – to win it all, was upended by a Greencastle team that could give other teams fits throughout the tournament.
• For the first time in Wabash Valley Classic history, Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South both lost in the opening round and will be playing the remainder of the tournament in the consolation bracket.
Winner’s bracket teams:
Consolation bracket teams:
Terre Haute South
Terre Haute North