Getting back out to cover area sports

By Steve Sell
March 02, 2016

Basketball is basketball, be it the Class 4A level that I mostly cover or the Class 2A level that I attended Tuesday night in Inman.

Because of my commitments to McPherson High, I don’t get out in the area nearly as much as I would like. With the Bullpups idle until Thursday and Friday, I decided to take in the game that matched two teams in our coverage area.

I always enjoy going to Inman as Athletic Director Russ Goering has been around since I started employment in McPherson in 1979. It’s nice to talk with somebody who can remember as far back as I can. I’m always treated like a king, not that the other schools don’t do the same as they always seem happy when I’m at one of their events. And I covered both Inman coach Brett Froese and Canton-Galva coach Shane Duncan during their playing days and consider both friends. In fact, I have both on Facebook.

I also was excited to watch a couple of teams that I always write about, but don’t see. I’ve been hearing all year about the spunky, youthful Teutons, who send out two freshmen starters along with three juniors. They started the season 0-5, but rebounded to win 10 of their last 15. And the Eagles have surpassed last year’s record, as Duncan has turned this program around in his four years after it won just one game in his first season. He has gleaned a lot of knowledge from his high school coach Kurt Kinnamon, not to mention sitting right next to him is a virtual basketball coaching encyclopedia Roger Trimmell, who is Duncan’s right-hand man, not to mention that the Father of Dogball also knows all the best eating places after a game.

While the crowd wasn’t of Roundhouse proportions, it was nonetheless in full throat. I can remember back in the 1980s when the C-G girls basketball teams were annually winning state and they virtually shut both Canton and Galva down to attend those games. The last person out of town was asked to turn out the lights as Eagles fans were vociferous in their support.

Inman also is no stranger to basketball success. Kinnamon, who coached at Canton-Galva before taking the McPherson job, said one of his toughest experiences in coaching was sweeping the Teutons during the regular season in 1994, but losing to them in the sub-state finals, as the Teutons went on to win the 2A title that year, a team led by Greg Friesen.

The game itself started at a snail’s pace. Inman made just 4 of 20 shots in the first half, yet trailed only 17-11. C-G came out hot in the third quarter and extended the lead to as many as 14, only to see the Teutons storm back with a barrage of 3-pointers to pull within two going into the final quarter.

I’ll be honest, I expected the Teutons to ride the emotional wave to victory. They had survived the storm, but the Eagles’ heart was enormous. Each time it appeared they were teetering, they steadied themselves and hung on for the win.

It was nice to talk with fans, both Eagle supporters and Teuton rooters, after the game. They thanked me for coming and hoped to see me again soon. It’s nice that so many hold me in high regard — as I do them.