Elkhart sending two schools to Saturday's hoop Regionals
ELKHART, Ind. - The high school basketball tournament in Indiana offers plenty of drama, and the city of Elkhart had its share of Hoosier Hysteria this past weekend.
The Memorial Chargers erased a 21-point deficit in the third quarter against Northridge to earn its first district championship, and now look to carry that momentum into a tough 4A Regional bracket in Michigan City.
"They never give up," said head coach Kyle Sears. "They think they've got a chance no matter what. They dug deep that night and really made a great run. We've got to really come with our 'A' Game and focus on that morning game especially, and give it our best effort."
That morning game is a meeting with a tough Valparaiso squad, with tip-off scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday. If they get through that challenge, a possible meeting with undefeated Riley would be next.
But with two games possible against some of the toughest competition in Northern Indiana, the Chargers have already shown that they can handle the pressure when their backs are against the wall.
"Anybody can really win, no matter the record," said Chargers senior Jose Soto. "We're basically always the underdog so we just play as hard as we can and do our best."
No matter the record, and no matter the size of the school.
Just a few miles across town from Memorial, Elkhart Christian Academy will join the party at 1A Regionals for the first time.
Last weekend, the Eagles topped Oregon-Davis late to capture the program's first-ever sectional championship.
Next up is 21st Century Charter from Gary. That game takes place at Culver Community at the same time as Memorial's game in Michigan City.
While the Eagles are certainly pleased to be playing this late in the season, they say the group knew it was possible all along, and now just want to keep it rolling.
"It's been a very fun, exciting season," said ECA coach Ryan Culp. "These guys have worked extremely hard in the offseason. They put a lot of time and effort in and it's paying off. It's nice to win that first sectional, and these guys are excited, working hard, and looking forward to tomorrow."
With two teams in the Regional tournaments, Culp said it feels like an exciting time for the city of Elkhart.
"There's a lot of friendships between the coaches and players throughout our county and community. It's really neat to see multiple teams going. We've got a lot of things going for this area and we're hoping the best for everybody."