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Indiana College And High School Basketball 1999

Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Indiana (Ms. Carson) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Rep. Julia M. Carson

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to be here this afternoon speaking about a rich tradition and important part of Hoosier heritage, an element of life that the great State of Indiana continues to support and love, basketball, a game with which Indiana has become synonymous.

Indiana's basketball is nearly unparalleled. The names from the State, John Wooden, Oscar Robertson, Chuck Taylor, Larry Bird, bring to mind all that basketball should and can be. The rivalries such as the one between IU and Purdue, and the stories of epic proportions such as the movie ``Hoosiers'' is what separates Indiana basketball from all the rest. These icons and ideals continue to be revered, inspire greatness, and offer a mystical and enriching quality to a game that continues to grow and captivate fans around the country, but remains in the heart of Indiana.

It is my honor to acknowledge that this tradition of excellence and inspiration continues today. The sensational Lady Boilermakers of Purdue, and the coach of the boilermakers, enjoyed a story book season on their way to winning the NCAA National Championship, while North Central High School in Indianapolis played nearly flawlessly at the end of their season to capture their first high school 4A State championship.

I would like to acknowledge a remarkable young woman, Carolyn Peck, who coached the Lady Boilermakers to an NCAA championship.

Ms. Peck is the recipient of the 1999 John and Nellie Wooden Award, one of the most prestigious honors in college basketball. At the age of 32, she was the youngest coach in the Big Ten and has quickly risen to the top of women's basketball coaching circles.

With her unmatched enthusiasm and grace, Ms. Peck is a leader, coach and motivator who is destined to become one of the greatest names in women's collegiate sports. In 1997-98, during her first season as head coach, the Purdue Lady Boilermakers finished with a 23-10 overall record, won the Big Ten Conference Tournament, advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, and ranked number 11 in the final USAToday/ESPN poll. During this past season, Ms. Peck led the lady boilermakers to an NCAA championship victory and an amazing 32-1 overall record.

Carolyn Peck, holding true to Hoosiers' reputation for great basketball, is undeniably a wonderful role model for young women everywhere.

I would also like to congratulate a high school that is in my district, the North Central High School of Indianapolis. The North Central High School Panthers, led by coach Doug Mitchell, won Indiana's 1999 Division 4A State Basketball Championship and then defeated 2A champion Westview to win the Tournament of Champions. The Panthers' victory capped an outstanding season whereby the Panthers finished with an overall record of 25 wins and only 5 losses. The Panthers became Marion County's fifth champion in the past 11 years. The Panthers' run to the championship included a hard-fought 79-73 overtime win over then number one ranked Bloomington South. Trailing by 3 points with little time left on the clock, Jason Gardner, Indiana's Mr. Basketball, hit a clutch 3-point shot as time expired to send the game into overtime. The courage and commitment to excellence displayed by the Panthers are befitting for the champions of the most esteemed high school basketball tournament in the world.

I would like to recognize Eric Chapman, Jason Gardner, Nick Gardner, Wegahta Ghebremichael, John Hayes, Max Matthews, Doug Moore, Lucas Query, Shawn Radford, Eric Rhodes, Zach Scott and Donald Yates. Mr. Speaker, each of these players understand the importance of teamwork and are worthy of being called champions.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention that I will probably be back on the floor in mid-June to congratulate another team from Indianapolis, the Indiana Pacers, who will have just won the NBA championship.