‘Knockout’ tournament takes All-Star Game statewide

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The NBA All-Star 2024 Host Committee and the Indiana High School Athletic Association have partnered to bring the All-Star festivities to all 92 counties.

The Indiana Statewide Knockout Tournament got underway earlier this month and continues all the way until NBA All-Star Weekend in mid-February.

Students from every Indiana county have the chance to compete for prizes and an invitation to take part in the Ultimate Knockout Challenge at Bicentennial Plaza in downtown Indianapolis.

IHSAA Assistant Commissioner Brian Lewis told Inside INdiana Business that conversations with the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever led to the idea for the tournament.

“The conversation was, ‘How can high school basketball be incorporated in this great event?’ And this was a great idea that was easy to pull off,” Lewis said. “We have a knockout contest going on in each of the 92 counties across the state and award winners with some prizes; that includes attending some festivities at the All-Star game. So, it was a great way of including the whole state.”

During pregame or halftime at boys and girls basketball games throughout the state, students can sign up to participate in a game of Knockout, with the winner earning a limited-edition NBA All-Star basketball, two tickets to the NBA Crossover fan experience during All-Star weekend, and the invite for the final knockout challenge.

Knockout is a game where participants line up at the free throw line with the first two taking shots. If the second person in line makes a basket before the first, then the first player is knocked out. This continues until one participant is left.

Tuesday night’s game at Mater Dei High School in Evansville was the first of several to feature an appearance by Indiana Fever stars Grace Berger and Lexie Hull. Berger said as a basketball fan, she’s not only excited for the All-Star Game, but generating more excitement among young people.

“The big goal is to kind of make it a statewide thing, so to be able to travel to different communities, talking to these kids and just being around the excitement for the All-Star Game, I’m really excited about it myself,” Berger told IIB. “Just to get around people that have similar feelings about the All-Star Game that are really excited about it, I think it’s going to be special and amazing.”

The former Indiana University standout said the visits will also give her and Hull the chance to spotlight the WNBA to all students, particularly young girls.

“Anytime you can get out there to female athletes and let them see what sports as a female can do for you, and the doors that can be opened,” she said. “Not that long ago, I was in their shoes playing high school basketball, so I can just go out there and hopefully, just get to talk to them, inspire them a little bit. I think that’d be great.”

Berger and Hull will make appearances at the following games:

  • Thursday, Jan. 25: Warsaw Community vs. Angola at Warsaw Community High School
  • Friday, Jan. 26: Perry Meridian vs. Greenwood at Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis.
  • Friday, Feb. 9: Heritage Christian vs. Roncalli at Heritage Christian School in Indianapolis
  • Saturday, Feb. 10: Ben Davis vs. Lawrence Central at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis
  • Tuesday, Feb. 13: Eminence vs. Indiana Math and Science North at Eminence Jr./Sr. High School in Martinsville

Lewis said with Indiana’s basketball heritage, it was important to make sure that high school basketball was a part of the festivities.

“High school basketball is one like its own, and it’s not like anything else across the country and extremely special around here. The Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Fever played a huge role in that. So anytime that we can assist and help bring notoriety to an event like this, we want to help any way we can, and we appreciate them incorporating us. This is great for Indianapolis. It’s great for the state of Indiana.”

You can view the full schedule of games that will have Knockout competitions by clicking here.

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