by Troy Lesan
Perhaps one of the most curious things about living at Lake Viking is the school districts. On the surface it would seem to be a no-brainer. Altamont is three miles from Winston and eight miles from Gallatin. Houses with a Gallatin address should be in the Gallatin School District and houses with an Altamont address should be in the Winston District. Right? Well, not exactly.
Shirley and I and our neighbors all have Gallatin addresses, but we are in the Winston R-6 School District. Meanwhile, many Lake Viking houses with Altamont addresses are in the Gallatin R-5 School District. Confused? Add this fact to the mix: most kids living in the town of Altamont are in the Gallatin R-5 School District.
Well, anyway, Gallatin is a much bigger town than tiny Winston. It would stand to reason that the Gallatin basketball teams would trounce Winston every year. Nope, wrong again. During the past few years the Winston boys team has been a powerhouse that has routinely beaten Gallatin and even regularly prevailed over teams from St. Joseph. In the Gallatin Invitational Tournament, for example, the Winston Redbirds have taken home the championship trophy from 2013 through 2018 — five straight years!
This year, as 2019 ends, the balance is shifting. Gallatin has a group of boys that has been reversing hexes. During the football season, GHS beat Penney High of Hamilton for the first time in 12 years. Penney had previously been soaring in rarefied air as a state class one powerhouse, but as the pendulum swung in the opposite direction, Gallatin was victorious. Fast forward to Dec. 7 for high school basketball. The mighty Winston Redbirds were hit hard by graduation losses and the Gallatin Bulldogs are suddenly deep with talent all the way down to the sophomore and freshman levels. They finally won the championship trophy at their own tournament.
Granted, the season is young; anything can happen. In a recent game at North Andrew (another perennial class 1 power) Gallatin lost a squeaker by two points. Meanwhile, Winston beat Southwest Livingston in two overtimes. Talk about drama! With only seconds left, Redbird Jakub Hisel scored a three pointer to send the game into the first OT. Then, with only seconds left , he again scored another three pointer for the victory in the second overtime.
Bulldog or Redbird — it looks like Lake Viking residents are going to be in for some exciting high school boys basketball games this season. A report on girls basketball will come later.