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Photo showing 8-year difference between White County basketball players goes viral

The eight-year comparison photo of two White County basketball players was picked up by ESPN.

MONON, Ind. — White County is the kind of place where it's understood that, come Friday night, everyone will be at the North White Jr./Sr. High School gymnasium cheering on the Vikings. 

It's where kids look up to players until they are old enough to become them, and basketball is a way of life. 

Former guard Drake Fleck suited up for North White back in 2014.

"Playing high school basketball, it's more than just trying to score buckets. It's about being a role model to those in the community," Fleck said. 

As a high school kid, Fleck knew the community had his back. But it was the support of his young neighbor, Parker, that meant the most. And Parker always brought his friend, Hunter Pogue, along to watch Fleck and his twin brother, Dalton.

"Going through high school basketball, Parker would come to the games and he'd bring his little friend Hunter, because they were fourth graders that showed up at the games," Fleck said. "They'd root for us, and sit behind our team bench there." 

Parker and Hunter were there for the team's biggest moments that season. One night, Hunter even brought a handmade sign that said 'Wow! Drake" with a picture of a basketball. 

The high schoolers even played two-on-two with the elementary school kids to give them some experience. 

"We played two-on-two hours in the backyard and stuff, because they were seniors and we were like, third graders. I go for a layup, and one of those (guys)  just block my shot," Hunter said. 

Eight years later, those pickup games paid off. It was Hunter carving out his own piece of North White history - in the exact same position as Fleck. 

That little kid who came to games turned into one of North White's best basketball players. Hunter now holds the school record for most assists in a single season. 

He scored 1,364 points this season and is just 38 points away from the all-time school record. 

"It's cool to see that progress, because now he's a fantastic basketball player. It's a big deal. He's really a lot better than I ever was," Fleck said.

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Fleck has been there, as Hunter was all those years earlier, for every high point of the season. That included when Hunter led the team to a sectional championship.

The last team to do that? Fleck's - during his senior year in 2014. 

And on Hunter's senior night, Fleck had a special surprise for his favorite player. It was an exact replica of the sign Hunter made for Fleck all those years ago, crafted by his wife. 

Except now, it read, 'Wow! Hunter". 

"I couldn't believe it, because I wasn't expecting it at all. He didn't say anything about it beforehand or anything like that," Hunter said. 

Fleck shared the photo to Twitter, and it was picked up by ESPN. 

"My intention with the post was posting the before and after, the eight years difference. One, to show my relationship with Hunter. And to show how that community feel is in our area," Fleck said. 

A full circle moment - that speaks to the power of community and friendship. 

North White is 21-3 going into their regional game on Saturday at 10 a.m. They play Gary 21st, which is the No. 1 ranked team in Class 1A.

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