Better Newspaper Contest

2013 Award Winners

Hoosier State Press Association - The Indiana Publisher - Better Newspaper Contest

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Page 34 of 67

Division 3 Best Sports Commentary/Category 13 First place Ray Cooney The Commercial Review (Portland) Comments: Writer consistently finds the story within the story and keeps reader interested throughout. Second place John Hodge The Courier-Times (New Castle) Comments: There's a reason this "crusty old writer" has been doing this for so long. Columns discreetly display knowledge and authority of subject. Third place Darrel Radford The Courier-Times (New Castle) Comments: Writer highlights outstanding achievement while reporting the game – what community journalism is all about. Best Editorial Cartoonist/Category 14 See Page 67 for all divisions. Victory could change season By Ray Cooney The Commercial Review (Portland) Stepping into the Jay County High School gym on Tuesday night was a jolt to the senses. A glance up at the scoreboard after making the short walk from the pool where the Patriot swim team had just defeated Hagerstown showed Jay County had just nine points. It wasn't the first quarter, or even the first half. There were just six minutes left in the game. The Patriots were surely headed toward their third straight defeat and 10th loss of the season. But at some point in those final six minutes, everything changed. Suddenly Jay County, which had struggled late in games most of the season, started making plays. Instead of being the team that was giving the ball away against full court pressure, the Patriots were swarming Huntington North and forcing turnovers. Instead of falling away from the basket on their shots, they were driving aggressively and drawing fouls. They missed six foul shots in the quarter, but made 5-of-6 in the final minute with the game on the line. Alex Loy hit the last two of those, pulling Jay County to within a point with 21.5 seconds left. Freshman guard Abby Wendel deflected the ensuing inbound pass off of a Huntington North player and out of bounds to get the ball back for the Patriots. And then Katlin Petro grabbed an offensive rebound off of a miss by Bre McIntire and powered up the game-winning shot with 3.3 seconds remaining. It was stunning. No one in the gym could have guessed the Patriots could erase a 10-point deficit in a matter of minutes. They hadn't shown that kind of offensive prowess in at least a month, and had been held to fewer than 30 points in each of their last two games. But after scoring just four points in the first half against the Vikings, JCHS racked up 13 in the final 2:11. Why did it happen? At some point in that final quarter, the Patriots started believing in themselves. Instead of being resigned to a loss, they decided to do everything they could to try to win. It was the kind of victory that can turn around a season. The road is not easy for Jay County, which plays its next two games against teams that have a combined 21 victories. But now the Patriots should have confidence that when they work together, big things can happen. Page 35

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