Borden, Ind. —The atmosphere screamed of a typical small town basketball, but the buttons were a smack of reality.
Sold outside the main gym at Borden High School on Monday night, these small pieces of flair were full with irony and tribute.
"We are arch rivals, we're in the same school cooperation, we're in the same conference," said Borden athletic director Toby Cheatham, whose Hornets logo was featured on these buttons. "The biggest rivalry game we have in basketball is with Henryville."
But sporting hostilities were put on hold in a spritual sense for those fans of the Braves, who jammed their school's main gym for the Sectional 62 title game against South Central on Monday night.
Three days earlier, an EF-4 tornado touched down on the north end of Borden, causing the destruction of a few homes at the edge of town. Ten miles to the east and a few minutes later, their rivals in sporting took the brunt of the hit, losing most of the high school and a significant part of the town.
"Although we're rivals, we're still in the same school cooperation, we do care for each other," said Cheatham. "There a several people in our community that are related to people in their community.
"Its a big family."
Those emotions were the dominant themes for the Borden basketball team, who in the midst of the events managed to keep an historic season in tact.
Sporting a 21-1 record before their match-up with South Central the Braves gave a few hours of comfort to the residents of the tornado-ravaged area with a dominating 71-51 victory that sends them to Saturday's regional at Loogootee.
"It just means everything to this community," said Borden senior guard Brandon Beam, and it wasn't like the players were sheltered from theirs because of basketball.
On Sunday a number of members of the basketball team went to the damaged parts of Borden to aid in the clean-up efforts in the town. A few of those who lost homes in Borden were in attendance at the Sectional Championship, including Jo Ann Adams.
A frequent attendee at Braves games, her home was destroyed on Friday after a tornado tore through it with her father and mother in the basement.
"It's great to be here," said Adams. "Our community has given us overwhelming support from the moment that it happened."
They got a little more on Monday night from 32 minutes of tribute basketball, to a community as much as a school. Cheatham