Indiana basketball team wants to play after bus crash

The Griffith High School bus on its roof on I-65 Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016. (Photo Courtesy: Jonathan Miano/ The Times)

GRIFFITH, Ind. (AP) Members of a northwestern Indiana high school basketball team say they want to play in the state tournament game that was postponed after their bus overturned in a crash on Interstate 65.

The Griffith team was traveling to its class 3A semifinal game against Marion on Saturday when police say the bus was sideswiped by a car and rolled over into a ditch near DeMotte. An assistant coach was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, while the other 26 players and staff members on the bus were treated and released.

The semifinal game is rescheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday in Lafayette.

“We want to play,” junior guard Al Ervin said at a community prayer service for the team Sunday. “We all started talking about it (Saturday) night.”

Coach Gary Hayes said he doesn’t expect to know until at least Tuesday night which team members can play because they all need clearance from doctors. At least one player suffered a possible concussion, while others had cuts and other injuries.

“We’re not taking a chance with anybody,” Hayes told The (Munster) Times. “If they’re not ready to go, they’re not going to play.”

Senior point guard Martin Schiele suffered a strained knee and was on crutches during Sunday’s prayer service at Griffith’s Central Park. He said he hopes to play Wednesday and compared Saturday’s crash to being in a washing machine.

Hayes, who had a 4-inch gash on the left side of his forehead, told the (Merrillville) Post-Tribune that freshman team coach David Garrett was upbeat on Sunday while he was hospitalized with a punctured lung and broken ribs.

The bus was carrying 20 students, three other coaches, the team trainer, a ball boy and the driver.

The winner of the rescheduled game Wednesday will advance to face Evansville Bosse in Saturday’s 3A state championship game at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Griffith reached the championship game last year, losing to Guerin Catholic.

“Once we get on the floor, we’ll be competitive like always,” Hayes said. “I don’t know how we’re going to be emotionally, but our kids will be there and give it everything we can.”

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