Column: Highlanders can win conference outright tonight at home vs Columbus East

By JD McKay

This is my third time previewing a sports game against Columbus East, but this is the first where I think losing would be a disappointment, not expected. Honestly, this game should not be very close. The only reason I am previewing it is because if we win, we win the Hoosier Hills Conference outright.

This game should resemble the two of the past three games (Bloomington North and Brownstown) in how we play. Lots of points, solid defense, and many rebounds. So if we continue the play from the past few games, we should win. The main factors have been rebounding, senior Luke Gohmann and Cobie Barnes, and the one other player that steps up.

Rebounding has been our best stat through the entire season, mainly because of our height. Four of our starting five players are six feet five inches tall or taller, which makes rebounding easier.

Gohmann and Barnes have been the best players on our team throughout this year. Their stats are nearly identical, leading the team in points. They have both shot well from outside the three-point line during the season as well as gotten a lot of rebounds and finished around the basket. As long as they play well the game should never be in question.

Last, the past few blowouts we have had one other player set-up in the first quarter offensively. Typically, senior Brendon Hobson has been that man, but some nights it is senior Matt Weimer or senior Evan Nichols. If one player can grab the moment to start the game and get Gohmann and Barnes going, the game will definitely be a blowout.

Bottom Line- Tonight we should win conference outright for the first time since 1986, and probably by a lot. The Highlanders are 8-1 in games with a common opponent compared to East’s 4-5. This game should not be a nail biter and will be a great way for our senior class to play their last home game. Hopefully, the win will carry over to March second, then third, when we would play Jeffersonville, then New Albany in sectionals. Final Score- Highlanders 68 Olympians 37.

 

 

Column: How to fix Allstar games

By JD McKay

The NBA All-Star game is Sunday, which is a joke just like the NFL Pro Bowl and the other two major U.S. sport All-Star games (baseball, football, hockey), but other than Russell Westbrook none of the players really care. Which in turn makes me, the fan, not care either. But after watching the NFL Pro-Bowl about three weeks ago, I know that something needs to change.

The NHL All-Star game is a toughy. The NHL is the most violent sport already, so an exhibition game is not worth the risk to players. However, to make things more interesting, in 2016, the NHL made their game a four-team tournament, using their four divisions as teams and playing three-on-three rather than the typical six-on-six. They also have been using a skills challenge since 1990. The idea of the skills challenge is for players to show off their athletic abilities in events like speed skating, shot power, and shot accuracy. I like what the NHL has done to their All-Star game, and it is just too dangerous to get players out on the ice hitting for no reason in an exhibition.

The NFL Pro-Bowl is the worst. The players do not care at all, and the NFL is not really doing anything. Football obviously has a higher risk of injury than all of these except hockey, but the NFL can do different things to make the game more enjoyable for fans. One change has been made. Last year, the NFL added a skills challenge packed with dodgeball, an obstacle course, and best catches. But more can be done. If the players do not want to play a full pads game, they can go for a game of seven-on-seven football. The idea of seven-on-seven is all passing with only seven players per team, no lineman except for a center to snap the ball. The NFL could do a six team seven-on-seven tournament. The fans would vote in the players; then a middle linebacker and quarterback would be paired together. They would then draft their team.

The NBA game is all about the player attitudes. They do not care. Basketball can still be dangerous, but compared to football or hockey, it is much safer. If the players would be willing to play harder, it would be interesting. However, the players will not care until they have a real reason, a green reason. The NBA could promise bonuses to the players of the winning team, giving the players a reason to play to win.

Lastly, the MLB is one of the most watchable games. It is a typical baseball game, but pitchers pitch for two innings, tops. They could stay as it is, or to make this a little for interesting, pick four celebrities to pick teams with players voted on by fans. The team would play a three-inning game, tournament style. The other change the MLB should make is a true skills challenge, they have a home run derby, but they do not have a legit skills challenge like the other sports. They could do an outfielder’s accuracy and far throw contest, a pitch speed contest, and stick with the homerun derby.

Those sports all need to make a change. Baseball’s change is relatively small, and hockey’s may just be too dangerous, but football and basketball need to change. Hopefully, they will, but I am not really expecting it.

FCDM fun heightens as it draws closer to the end

Photos by Shelby Pennington

Q&A: FCDM teacher sponsor Rachel Sketo

Q&A:

The Bagpiper: Why does FCDM matter to you?

Rachel Sketo: I’m definitely here for the kids. I think this is one of the greatest things we can do. Riley hospital is an amazing place and it does amazing things for the kids in Indiana. I’m not a Hoosier but after working in Indiana, this is my seventh year working in Indiana, and I’ve seen Riley and what it has done for some of my own students. I just really appreciate it. I think it is amazing. I just want to do whatever I can to help.

BP: How are you involved?

RS: So I am one of the teacher sponsors. I am in charge of the decorations committee. So I help the kids come up with ideas and I kind of figure it out logistically-how it’s going to all come together. They split into parts and they all all assigned sections, so I help make sure they can see the whole picture. I try to provide them with things they need or I help them work through an idea. You know we get here Friday night and put it all together and it’s a little nuts, but it’s the best part.

BP: How is this year different from previous FCDMs?

RS: This is only my second official year being involved in Dance Marathon, and this year I feel like I really know what I am doing as opposed to last year. Obviously, I knew what Dance Marathon was, but I hadn’t seen it go through, you know, from its beginning stages to the end. So, since last year was my first year, Christina Bauerla and I were the decorations committee together, so she lead the way and I learned a lot from her. And then this year Christina isn’t with us so it’s been a lot easier doing it by myself having had Christina last year. But opposed to our mission, you know, everything’s the same. We all just have a great passion for Riley and for the kids. And I think my passion has just grown stronger this year and I just am really-I think this is really important. I am happy to do this.

 

FCDM begins with continuing excitement

Photos by Lexi Sapp

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