Indiana’s Best High School Sports Rivalries: Writers Pick Their Favorite


Our statewide team of high school sports journalists have already made their choice for favorite Indiana basketball gym and favorite place other than basketball. Now, it’s time for them to tell us what the best rivalry between high school kids in Indiana is.

Kyle Neddenriep, IndyStar

There are many great rivalries in the Metropolitan Interschool Conference. The Copper Kettle game between Center Grove and Carmel, the Eastside-Westside battle between Warren Central and Ben Davis and Center Grove-Warren Central and Warren Central-Carmel have gained momentum, especially in football, in recent years.

But I’ll take the district rivalry between Lawrence North and Lawrence Central as the best. In basketball, it’s typically booked in recent years on a Wednesday in December with few other games and draws (in non-pandemic years) a sold-out crowd. The children all know each other well, which adds to the excitement of the games.

The Mudsock rivalry game between Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers is similar. It means a little more when you fight between neighbor and neighbor.

From a statewide perspective, the basketball rivalry between Washington and Barr-Reeve is worth seeing. The teams play on Thanksgiving Eve every year at the Hatchet House. Special mention to the now defunct Arlington-Broad Ripple rivalry. I had the chance to cover the last basketball game between the teams in 2018. It was special. Wayne Radford, a former Arlington and Indiana University star, gave up his IU tickets to be there. “It was so important,” he said that evening.

Formula writers across the state choose:… their favorite Indiana basketball court

Formula writers across the state choose:… their favorite sites other than basketball in Indiana

Sam King, Lafayette Journal & Courrier

Historically, West Lafayette’s Catholic football against Lafayette Central will not match the best rivalries in the state. But when the two programs renewed their rivalry for the 2011 season, you would be hard pressed to find a more competitive battle between two top programs, including the first meeting in week 9 of the 2011 season, both two years old. of undefeated state championship seasons. Class A No.1 Central Catholic beat 3A No.1 West Lafayette 21-14 on essentially a six-game pick. West Lafayette would upgrade to Class 3A North Semi-State and Central Catholic won the Class A title.

From 2011 to 2016, the game was a de facto (or in a few cases real) Hoosier Conference championship game. WL has five state championship appearances and three titles, while CC has won eight state championships. With the recent successes of both programs, this has to be among the best small school football rivalries in the world.

Robby General, Muncie Star Press

Again, I show my East Central Indiana bias, but I have to say that my personal favorite rivalry is Delta and Yorktown. In my opinion, great rivalries happen when records don’t make a difference in the final score. And when the Eagles and Tigers meet in any sport, you might as well forget who is supposed to be the “favored” team.

Delaware County players grow up competing against each other from a young age and familiarity has led to many memorable games over the years. From jokes between players, students and alumni leading to a big game to crowded crowds every time these two teams play, it’s hard not to get invested in this small school rivalry. Time and time again players and coaches have tried to convince me that this rivalry is ‘just another game’, but I’ve heard the post-game celebrations after many of these regular season wins. from the Hoosier Heritage Conference – I don’t buy it.

Kyle Sokeland, Evansville Courier and Press

It’s the rivalry that social media deserves. None of that ‘they are your neighbors and you genuinely respect them’. There is a real aversion or, dare I say it, hatred. Evansville North and Evansville Central are seriously underrated statewide.

Jaidn Green (3) of North walks past Jahzara McAlister (32) of Central in the first round of Class 4A sections held at Harrison High School in Evansville, Indiana on Tuesday February 2, 2021. The Huskies defeated the Bears 51-32 to advance in the section tournament.

There have been times during the football season where we sit down at the desk and just look at Twitter to see what comes up next. Why? There does not appear to be a filter. Can it get too personal? Sure. But the quality of the content that is shared, * the chef’s kiss *. I saw one side hack into the other’s Twitter account and shut it down. I have it in good authority, the official student section accounts are not allowed to flout the conversation because of how much their classmates do.

Of course, the real games are fun. The all-time football rivalry is only separated by three games. They sort of always play in the sectional, no matter what the sport. There are other memorable rivalries in Evansville depending on level of play or story. But it’s by far my favorite.

Hendrix Magley, Evansville Courier and Press

Shortly before my first job at the Dubois County Herald in Jasper, I was told about the hatred between the hometown Wildcats and the Vincennes Lincoln Alices. How serious was the contempt for each other? I was told not to drive the Dubois County company car to Vincennes.

While that rivalry has definitely calmed down over the past few years, it’s still safe to say that these two schools don’t care about each other. From loud student sections during soccer and basketball games to playful jabs on social media, there is always an added intensity when these two teams meet.

Over the years, there have been many moments that have kindled the flame of this hatred. The infamous helmet game hit the baseball section in 2005. Lots of passionate basketball games in the 1990s. Vincennes football even made a music video. There is a bit of everything to this rivalry.

Jeff Bartlett, Bedford Times-Mail

The Bedford North Lawrence-Washington girls’ basketball rivalry of the 1980s was wild, and the Springs Valley-Paoli football in the Orange Bowl is obvious.

The best rivalry for a Lawrence County native was Bedford and Mitchell in everything, but especially in men’s basketball. Sadly, consolidation has stolen much of that heat. New rivalries came along and BNL-Bloomington South boys’ basketball was, for a long time, the best I have covered.

There was a lot of talent with players like BNL’s Scott Turner, Damon Bailey and Alan Bush, and South’s Jon Holmes, Chris Lawson and Marty Collier. And, like Bedford-Mitchell, players often argued over girlfriends as well as basketball bragging rights.

The games were incredibly intense and once produced a full-blown brawl involving players and fans on both sides following a one-point section victory from the Panthers.

Rumor has it there’s a flannel shirt section hanging with South’s trophy that then-coach Bill Springer snatched from a BNL fan.

I must love a rivalry that will give you the shirt off your back.


About Kimberly Alley

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