There is a natural tendency for sports fans, particularly among basketball fans, to look at state rankings and assume that the teams receiving recognition in other parts of the state must be better than the area teams we see play every week.
The Northeastern Knights could make a compelling case that the record they have assembled over the last decade would stack up with most of the elite programs in the state.
Of the approximately 400 teams in Indiana, only seven have won at least 15 games for 10 or more seasons. Greensburg has won 15 or more games in each of the last 15 seasons. Carmel has won 15 or more games in each of the last 12 seasons. Danville and Linton Stockton have won 15 or more games in each of the last 11 seasons. Bloomington South, Fort Wayne Blackhawk and Northeastern have each won 15 or more games in each of the last 10 seasons.
During that 10-year span, the Knights have won the Wayne County tournament nine times. The Knights have made nine appearances in sectional championship games, winning the championship six times. The Knights have made it to the Elite Eight in the state tournament three times. The Knights have also been crowned the Tri-Eastern Conference champions eight times.
Winchester Community High School holds the record for consecutive regular season Tri-Eastern Conference wins in boys basketball, once winning 43 consecutive games over a span of seven seasons. Most knowledgeable fans think that that record will never be broken. Northeastern enters this season having won 25 consecutive TEC games. That string will be challenged early in the season when the Knights travel to Centerville Nov. 30, to face a veteran Bulldog team, but the Knights have been challenged many times during their current win streak. Over the last 10 seasons, including regular season and tournament meetings, the Knights have had amazing success against other TEC member schools. They are 24-1 against Hagerstown, 20-1 against Centerville, 16-2 against Union County, 12-0 against Cambridge City Lincoln, 12-0 against Knightstown, 10-0 against Tri High, 10-2 against Winchester, and 9-1 against Union City.
The Knights plan a celebration to honor the 2013-14 sectional championship team on Dec. 23, when they will host 4A Avon, which is coached by former Centerville standout Drew Schauss.
The Knights have graduated many outstanding players during the 10-year span. Last year they graduated all five starters. That would be a concern for most coaches, but not for Knight head coach Brent Ross. Ross, who has been the engineer of the phenomenal success the Knights have enjoyed, talks about his current team in glowing terms. “I really like this team,” Ross said.
Why not 11 years of 15 or more wins?
A version of this article appeared in the November 15 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.