LOGANSPORT – For all the talk about the death of Hoosier Hysteria, following Huntington North the last few weeks has been a welcome distraction.
At the sectional opener at Wayne High School against Homestead, Huntington fans made the trek down US-24 and I-469 to cheer on their Vikings. For a Tuesday evening, the support was nothing short of spectacular.
It only grew from there, through the semifinals and sectional championship at Wayne into Saturday’s regional matchup against Zionsville at Logansport. By halftime of the first semifinal between Northrop and Carmel, the side of the Berry Bowl designated for Huntington North seating was almost at capacity. By tipoff of the second game, the gym was full of people clad in red and black, ready to cheer on the Vikings.
The Zionsville cheering section felt almost non-existent when compared to the thousands of energetic Huntington faithful.
It had been 18 years since Huntington North last won a boys hoops sectional title. That drought left a chasm for a fan base that hasn’t had much to root for deep in the postseason in quite awhile. The football program’s lone sectional crown came all the way back in 1993. Meanwhile, a girls basketball team that won a pair of state titles in the 1990s hasn’t made an appearance in regionals since 2006.
Environments like Saturday at Logansport are what still make Hoosier Hysteria – entire towns showing out to support their team. In the end, Zionsville was too much, with Purdue-bound Isaiah Thompson the star while going for 24 points, including 18 in the first half. The Eagles won 52-41, with the Vikings never really threatening after the halftime break.
But the disappointment of Saturday’s result will fade for Huntington. The fans will look back at a season that set a new program record for wins with 22. It included the defeat of their rival Homestead in sectional, the Spartans themselves considered the sectional favorite.
This year also reinvigorated a fan base that had not had much to cheer for lately. It brought together a community, with “Go Vikes!” signs plastered across town all week leading into regional action.
It harkened back to yesteryear, when Hoosier Hysteria truly took over the state of Indiana.
In 2019, we got a taste of that history in Huntington County.