There’s nothing like the drama of a last-second shot in high school basketball.

There’s nothing like the feeling you get when the ball zips through the net.

There’s nothing like that ecstatic feeling and expressing overwhelming joy and excitement . . . or the feeling you have when a loss can feel like a dagger to the heart.

There’s nothing like your reaction whether you are a player on the court or a fan in the stands, on the winning or losing side of the floor. 

You’re either going to walk away happy or sad. Wiping tears from your eyes or pumping your fist in the air while celebrating.

That’s what this time of year is all about: It’s a one-and-done tournament. You’re either all in or all out . . . No second chances.

Well, it’s almost tournament time for the girls. Hoosier Hysteria if you will, and regardless of the outcomes, just watching those nets dance can be a thrill in itself.

The girls take to the hardwood for sectional games on Feb. 4-5 and 7-8.

Also, Hamilton County could crown a new career high girls scorer. Hamilton Southeastern’s Sydney Parrish has scored 1,862 points. She needs 8 points to surpass 1,869 points and become the all-time leader. The Hamilton County record was set 31 years ago by Noblesville’s Courtney Cox.

Yep, these could be exciting times for the Royals Nation.

Tournament time can put folks in a different mental zone.

When the boys come out shooting on March 3-4, 5 and 7, try and put yourself in the frame of mind of the Westfield High School boys basketball team, which will attempt to reach what has been an impossible dream for the school and its fans since 1918. 

What’s stunning is that the Rocks have never won a boys sectional. Never! 

Could this be the year that coach Shane Sumpter and the Rocks bring home a championship plaque?

Well, this could be one of the more balanced fields in Sectional 8. The boys get it on at The Mill in Noblesville when tourney play starts. The title may be for the taking by several teams.

I’m guessing that Fishers High School (yet to win a boys sectional since the school was re-established as a high school in 2006) like Westfield, must feel like a genuine contender. Both teams are off to strong starts this season: The Tigers are 13-4 and the Rocks are 9-4. They have been quite competitive and have to feel good about their tourney chances.

Carmel, the defending boys state champion, returned only one starter this season. 

Strong defense is the trait of the Greyhounds (9-4). Two of those losses came in overtime. So, if you are looking ahead, don’t count them out! They are certainly well-coached, too.

Hamilton Southeastern (9-5 going into tonight’s game at 9-8 Noblesville) has won three boys sectionals, the last one coming in 2014. This is another program that knows how to get after the competition, and that should again be a factor in Sectional 8.

 So, good luck to all girls and boys teams as tournament season approaches and spreads feverishly to the two groups in the coming days.

The heat is on! 

Sweaty palms and plenty of emotion to go around! 

Stomp the bleachers . . . Rah-Rah . . . Go Team!

Dream big and play hard and leave it all on the court!

*—Mark Morrow, a Hall of Fame Indiana sportswriter, has resided in Hamilton County since 1989. You can follow him in The Times, and on Twitter at mmediamarko12. He can be reached at or by calling 317 460-8018.