Oldest Indiana High School Basketball Tournament Concludes

The Allen County Athletic Conference Tournament wrapped up on Jan. 13 at South Adams High School.
The tournament is the longest running high school basketball tournament in Indiana.
Athletic Director James Arnold of South Adams said this conference is interesting for a couple of reasons.
“First of all, just the history and tradition of this conference and the conference tournament itself,” Arnold said. “For the girls, it’s the 44th-straight tournament, and the boys have had 95 years of a conference tournament.”
The tournament started for the boys back in 1924. It added the girls in 1975.
The tournament ran at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum till 2014. With the conference adding Jay County and most of the schools not in Allen County, the tournament finals were moved to South Adams.
“I think if you look at the history and the longevity as conferences come and conferences go and memberships change,” Athletic Director Arnold said. “For us to be able to run the tournament that many consecutive years, it’s pretty neat.”
The girl’s championship tipped-off first, with South Adams seeking their first ever. Their opponent was Jay County, who won it the past three years.
The game was tightly contested throughout. The largest lead of the game was 13 in favor of South Adams. Madi Wurster led all scorers with 19 points.
The final was 55 to 45 in favor of South Adams.
Senior Guard Alexis Dellinger said she loved that they were able to pull through and finally win the championship.
“It feels amazing,” Dellinger said. “I wouldn’t want to do it with any other girls.”
Alexis was named the Hilliard Gates MVP for the girls.
South Adams has never won the tournament in its 44-year history.
“I knew that stat,” Athletic Director Arnold said, chuckling about it. “I forgot that stat until you just reminded me.”
He said being an athletic director at a school getting its first title is a good feeling.
The boy’s championship hosted Heritage and Jay County.
Heritage looked to avenge last year’s championship loss Woodlan, while Jay County looked to win their second championship in three years.
At the half, Heritage led Jay County 14 to 13. Jay County won the third quarter 16 to 12.
But it wasn’t enough.
Heritage outscored Jay County 19 to 7 in the fourth quarter. Heritage won 45 to 36.
The Hilliard Gates MVP for the boys was Abram Beard.
“I was surprised. I’m honored and all thanks to God,” senior forward for Heritage Beard said. “I couldn’t do anything without him watching over me.”
Beard said the loss a year ago hit them hard. He said it gave them the encouragement to work over the summer to make sure they got here again, to win it.
Barry Singrey, head coach for Heritage, said he is really happy to see his team’s hard work pay off.
“To win a tournament requires toughness,” Singrey said. “I think our kids have that.”
He said his team lacked it in the first half, but thought they came out in the second half, and found a way to finish it.
This was their first championship since 2007.

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