By Will Willems
When she found out there was an all-star game in Hoosier’s Gym in Knightstown — which served as the fictional home of the Hickory Huskers in the movie “Hoosiers” — recent Lebanon graduate Katie Curtis knew that she one day wanted to play in it.
She accomplished that goal Friday, participating as a member of Hickory in the Hoosier Reunion Classic.
“Originally (I didn’t think I would ever play here), but once I heard that they had this event, that was one of my goals as far as playing basketball,” Curtis said. “I wanted to play in this gym. It is really rewarding that I got the chance to. My dad always used to plug it into the TV so (my sister) Ali and I were always watching it with him. It is one of my favorite movies actually.”
So was it worth the wait?
Absolutely, according to Curtis.
“I love the atmosphere,” she said. “Even though it is a very small gym it seems like there are hundreds of fans. It seemed like more than a high school gym.”
Although Curtis’ Hickory Huskers lost to the Terhune Tigers 90-83 in the game, Curtis was one of the standouts on her team.
She finished the game with 14 points and seven assists.
“There were a couple of rough patches, but you will have that from not playing much since school,” Curtis said. “Overall I think I played my game. I like to get assists and get people involved and I think I did that.”
There were other differences that Curtis had to deal with.
For one, the gym is much smaller than most high school gyms, with the stands practically creating the perimeter.
“It is a lot harder to dive for loose balls without ramming your face into the wall,” Curtis joked.
The other was adjusting to the up-and-down pace of the game and playing with a bunch of girls who are used to being the go-to players on their team.
“It is a much different game than a high school game,” Curtis said. “All of these girls are the stars of their team. It is fun to get out here and play against a much higher level of competition and with a pace that is a lot quicker.”
Curtis said it was fun to play in some all-star games after her senior year with and against some of the girls she has been competing with for years.
In Friday night’s game alone, Curtis was on a team with normal Sagamore Conference foe Lauren DeSutter of Tri-West and played against another in Kelsi Byrd of North Montgomery.
Curtis said she liked not having to worry about competing against some of those girls anymore.
“Now that high school is over I don’t see them as ‘enemies’ anymore,” she said. “Just as teammates and people I can play ball with without worrying about reputation or anything like that.”
This was the second all-star game Curtis played in this summer, and she has a busy week coming up with the Indiana All-Stars.
The Senior All-Stars will play the Junior All-Stars Monday in Sullivan and Wednesday in Tipton.
On June 14, the Indiana All-Stars will face the Kentucky All-Stars at Freedom Hall in Louisville, and on June 15 the two teams will meet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Curtis said she is looking forward to the week.
“It is so going to be much fun,” she said. “We practiced last weekend, then a lot of us played in this, then next weekend is going to be a blast. We get along so well, we have a lot of inside jokes, and it makes it a lot of fun.
“It is interesting, because as we come out during introductions (Friday), I see girls that I will be teammates with next week. Even though we are playing against each other, it is like we are on the same team.”
Curtis said that the Senior All-Stars feel pretty comfortable playing with each other and will only add a couple of things this week.
“I think our All-Star team already has a good chemistry, but I think we will work on some set plays and defenses.”