So the girls state finals in Fort Wayne, Part Deux, only drew a little more than 8,000 fans.
I can already hear the why-is-this-being-played-in-Fort-Wayne crowd tuning up. And here's my rebuttal:
* Except for Penn High School and Bishop Luers, six of the eight finalists came from more than two hours away. And still, Vincennes Rivet and Turkey Run from down around Crawfordsville both brought significant fan followings, as did Brownstown Central. In other words, it wasn't necessarily the distance that kept fans away. It was because this isn't Indianapolis -- which would have been true had the girls state finals been played in Terre Haute or Muncie or anywhere else outside the Circle City.
* That there was no, or virtually no, local support was obvious. But I've been covering state finals for 30 years, and, frankly, I never saw the locals gobbling up tickets even when they were in Indy. So I don't really know how this was any different.
* I hate to belabor the obvious, but class hoops is different. There's no continuity to state finals Saturday now, because there's no vested interest from class to class. And so you get entirely separate audiences for the four title games, as opposed to getting the carryover you used to get in the single-class Final Four. Then, if you got beat in the afternoon, you stuck around for the title game because you wanted to see if the team that whipped you could finish the deal.
Now, there's no such dynamic. And so the class 1A people leave after their game, the class 2A people after theirs, and so on.