Family is key to recent success for Blackford basketball

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HARTFORD CITY, Ind. (WTHR) - Almost two years have passed since we told you about the Blackford Bruins, when the high school basketball varsity team was close to setting a record for consecutive defeats.

We recently got an invitation to come back to Blackford County, where what could be the success story of the year is underway.

There are certainly more famous basketball stories in Indiana, but you would be hard-pressed to find a better one recently than the Blackford Bruins.

"It's heartwarming what we are doing. It's affected not just us but everyone in the county," senior Tyler Cagle said proudly.

"To get through a 1-71 streak or whatever it was for three years, that is tough for most kids and they stuck with it," said Athletic Director Tony Uggen.

The baseball team won sectionals last year. The football team went 5-6, which equaled its win total for the last five years. Now, they are 3-1 in basketball and family is at the center of their success.

6'5" JD Hoover transferred in and so did his cousin, freshman point guard Luke Brown. Then, 83 year old Jerry Hoover applied to coach his grandson and his grandson's fifth cousin.

The one-time Ben Davis Coach certainly had the experience, so he was hired.

"Yes, they are all in the same family but we like to think of the whole team as a family, really, the way things are, they are playing well together, Uggen said. “It's great.”

"I was intimidated but that is a good thing," said senior Jake Ross. "Makes you respect him more and that is one of the most important things as a coach and a player relationship is respect."

It also helps that Brown has turned into a freshman phenom, scoring at a record pace and already setting two new school marks. It's all combined to change the attitude for the Bruins.

"Every time after every game we feel like we can do better,” Ross said. “It's like last game we were all geared up because we knew we should have won.”

And the community is noticing.

“Yes, a lot of community support wherever you go,” said Maria Trent at Stardust Beauty Salon, Hartford City. "Once the kids start believing in themselves they do much better. To see the community come together for them, I absolutely love it."

It's quite a change around these parts.

The goal used to be to win a game. Now the goal is to win every game.

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