Class 3A girls basketball: State Fair Arena music man Charlie Heatly glad to see Lindsay back in state tournament
For the nearly 30 years that Charlie Heatly served as its high school's head coach, Lindsay was the epicenter of girls basketball.
The Leopards were regulars at the 6-on-6 state tournament, winning two titles under Heatly and finishing second three more times.
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And even as 6-on-6 gave way to 5-on-5 around the country, the teams that still played the sport flocked to Lindsay to be a part of Heatly's summer camps.
Thursday, for the first time since the team moved to 5-on-5, the Lindsay girls return to the state tournament. Lindsay opens the Class 3A tournament against Sulphur at 7 p.m. at State Fair Arena.
Heatly, who turns 79 next week, has been the DJ for state tournament since 1991.
“Everybody knows the music man here and the tradition of 6-on-6 Lindsay girls basketball,” Lindsay coach Jon Jacques said. “When they switched to 5-on-5 in 1995, they haven't had near as much success as we've had in the past and that's been a door we've been trying to kick down.”
And Heatly will have the best seat in the house.
The draw played right into Heatly's hands.
“It brings back really good memories back to when we used to get into the state tournament almost every year,” Heatly said. “And the girls get to play their first game in The Big House. That doesn't happen very often.”
Only one of the six state tournament brackets that start Thursday around the metro area will play the first round at State Fair Arena. If the Leopards were playing elsewhere, Heatly would still be at State Fair Arena running the sound controls.
“I stay with the music,” Heatly said. “I feel like I have a job to do and have to do that for the OSSAA. I'd have been very anxious finding out what the score was every two or three minutes though.”
The same tunes he spins at State Fair Arena—“Rocky Top” and “Sweet Georgia Brown” among them—play at Lindsay.
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