INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Around 11 p.m. Sunday, members of the Bloomington South boys basketball team were watching ESPN when SportsCenter gave the Panthers a senior night shout-out.
“I was kind of in shock for a second just because being on SportsCenter isn’t something everyone gets to experience,” senior Anthony Leal told CBS4.
Bloomington South was the only Indiana high school boys basketball team to finish its season without a loss. The Panthers were 26-0 after beating East Central in the sectional title game March 7.
Six days later, the team began walk-throughs for regionals when they found out their season was on hold due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It would be canceled completely the next week after Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered schools closed until May.
“We were getting ready to go to Seymour for practice for the regional, and it had been postponed,” said Bloomington South head coach J.R. Holmes. “Through my 50 years of experience, I usually can draw on some kind of example on why things are happening, but I didn’t have anything to tell them.”
While the Panthers could not control how their season ended, they maintained a winning attitude.
“I think in our minds, we are the state champs just because of what we were able to accomplish,” Leal said. “I think that in our own minds, we kind of have that closure.”
But Holmes hopes to close this successful season with a championship tradition.
“We’re going to the cut the nets down somewhere. It may be in our gym because when you’re undefeated you’re supposed to do that. That’s one of the traditions, so we are going to give them their day in the sun if we can get back to school sometime.”