In the place of what would be State Finals week here in Indiana, Outside the Huddle reached out to a handful of area senior boys basketball players. Each of these players is from one of the 6 area teams that was still alive as a Sectional champion when the remainder of the tournament was cancelled. We asked them to tell us, in their own words, what they’d do different if they could go back to the start of their varsity careers, reminisce about their legacy and discuss the unusual close to their season and high school career. This is one such story:

IF I COULD GO BACK

If I could go back and tell myself anything as a first time varsity player, it would be to soak up every moment and realize how lucky I am to have been blessed with the ability to play basketball at the high school level. There are very few experiences that compare to getting to represent your hometown on the basketball court for four years and I don’t think I understood that earlier in my career.

My freshman and sophomore years, I think things such as playing time affected me too much and you could see that visibly affecting my play on the court at times. I believe focusing more on going out there and having fun representing the Leo community would’ve had tremendous benefits for me as a young player. I never realized how fast those four years could go by, so I would tell myself to soak up every moment and enjoy it.

MY LEGACY

I hope that I have left behind a legacy that is about more than just winning. I hope to leave behind a culture of hard work and team first mentality that will carry on for years. Taking pride in competing every day and competing to get the most out of myself and my teammates at every practice are a few things that I take pride in and hope to have left behind. I hope that future Leo basketball players can carry on this attitude. My passion for basketball is unmatched, so I hope to leave behind a similar passion for the game in the underclassmen behind me. Every game is a blessing and should be treated as such.

HOW IT ENDED

The moment the final buzzer of the sectional championship went off was the best moment of my basketball career. Being able to win a sectional for this community is a blessing that I was so excited to be able to help achieve. Getting Coach Cogdell his first one makes it even more sweet.

I obviously didn’t expect that to be the concluding moment of my basketball career, and I am heartbroken that we didn’t get the opportunity to continue this run. However, if you would’ve told me that my high school career would end on a win, I would take it 10 out of 10 times. Now I wouldn’t have pictured it happening this way obviously, but there is definitely something special about going out as a winner and that is a memory that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

WHAT DOES LEO BASKETBALL MEAN TO ME?

Leo basketball has been the most important thing in my life for a while now. I remember coming to every game as a little kid and praying that someday I would be good enough to play on that court as a varsity basketball player. Being able to represent this amazing community and school for four years is a memory that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I hope that we gave the community a team that they can be proud of, because I sure am proud to have represented them.

– Andrew Tkacz, Leo Class of 2020

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