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Lens Blog: In the Temples of Indiana High School Basketball

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In the Temples of Hoosier Hardwood

Credit Michael E. Keating

Let’s say you happen to be in Indiana and you run across a basketball court — and let’s just stop right there. You go to Indiana, it’s hard to imagine you won’t run across a basketball court. They’re like Starbucks there, only it may be easier to get a seat at Starbucks.

“Indiana is known as a place where basketball is sort of like the sport,” said Michael E. Keating, a photographer. “It’s kind of like the religion. If basketball’s a religion, then the gymnasiums — they’re the places where people worship. They’re the churches, the temples.”

For the past several years, Mr. Keating and his colleague Chris Smith have crisscrossed the state, traveling more than 10,000 miles and photographing more than 100 school gymnasiums. There is no lack of choices. People in Indiana, as anyone who saw the 1986 movie “Hoosiers” knows, view basketball the way Southerners view football. Texas can keep its Friday night lights. Nine of the country’s 10 biggest high school gyms, the photographers say, are in Indiana.

They both say the appeal is not really the…

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