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Greyhounds’ run of late puts them among elite in hoops history

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Placing the “D” word next to a boys basketball program can be risky, given the fact there is no universally established definition of a sports dynasty.

Is it two consecutive state championships? Three, maybe? Two in three years? Or maybe three over the span of four seasons?

Whatever it is, Carmel’s ability to depart Bankers Life Fieldhouse with Class 4A titles the past two years places the Greyhounds in rarefied historical air.

Yet somehow the “D” word and Carmel tend not to occupy space in the same sentence. At least not much.

Maybe it’s too soon, and we should let the days and decades ahead paint its own picture of these Greyhounds. Or it’s because all Carmel does is win with an old-fashioned concoction known as every player knowing and accepting his role.

Coach Scott Heady’s emphasis on harassing defense at one end of the court and crisp ball movement at the other has paid handsome dividends. The ’Hounds are 65-19 (.774) since Heady, a Carmel assistant for his father, Bob, during the 1993 state finals at the RCA Dome, returned to take over the program in 2010.

Carmel competes in arguably the toughest sectional in Class 4A, or perhaps any class, alongside North Central, Noblesville, Hamilton Southeastern, Fishers, Zionsville and Westfield. Under Heady, Carmel is 8-1 in sectionals with an average victory margin of 18.3 points.

Of the Greyhounds’ recent accomplishments, this ranks near the top.

Yet in many ways the program remains somewhat faceless. That’s not a dig but rather a compliment for the balance and toughness Heady’s ‘Hounds exhibit far more often than not.

During 87 seasons of single-class hoops, the same program cut down the nets two years in a row only 11 times. Only Franklin (1920-21-22) and Marion (1985-86-87) celebrated three straight years, while Lawrence North (2004-05-06) is the lone program to back-to-back-to-back in 16 seasons of multiclass hoops.

As fabulous as the seven pre-1960s squads might have been, the sad reality is the number of people who actually witnessed any one — or more — of them lessens each year.

Mention the mid-’70s Marion Giants, and I immediately envision mop-topped guard Dave Colescott dropping long-range jump shots off glass for two points rather than three.

Muncie Central and guards Jack Moore and Ray McCallum closed the decade with their own purple dominance, while the silky jump shot of Jay Edwards runs rampant through memories of the mid-1980s Marion trifecta.

Ben Davis carried on the purple theme by winning it all in 1995 with three Indiana All-Star players and repeating the following season with a cast of no-names.

Whether the “D” word even applies beyond 1997 is up for debate. Even so, no one who watched Greg Oden, Mike Conley and those great Lawrence North squads or the Cody Zeller-led Washington Hatchets from a few years back will argue their rightful place in history.

Or that of Carmel, which, unlike most programs, has demonstrated a uncanny knack for peaking at the right time.

Kind of a scary thought, considering Heady’s current team is 7-0.

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. Send comments to mbeas@dailyjournal.net.

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