Indiana Sports Talk
Top 5 Games of the Weekend
Weekend of March 29
The high school basketball season will come to an end Saturday culminating in the 104th annual IHSAA boys basketball state finals. Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis will be full with fans from different corners of the state to view the marquee stage in high school hoops. Four state champions will be crowned in what is shaping up to be some competitive games. Since all of these games feature good teams, good players, good coaches, and are all for championships I will not list these as they are all great games. I will start with the first game of the day and work my way through the match ups.
Class A #1 Barr-Reeve (26-1) vs. #3 Marquette Catholic (19-6)
Barr-Reeve has been the top ranked team in class A all season long and they are looking to cap it off with a championship. The Vikings are making their fourth trip to the class A finals in the past 12 years and second in five years. Head coach Brian Hughes has built one of the most consistent programs around in his 22 years at the helm in Montgomery. BR is lead by upperclassmen most notably senior Micah Bullock and junior Addison Wagler. Bullock is their leading scorer at 15.6 points a game with Wagler pouring in 15 points a contest. However, the strength of this team is its defense as they allow a state low 39.89 points a game. Marquette Catholic has spent much of this season ranked in the top ten, but didn’t really hit their stride until late January. After a loss to Hammond Noll on January 22 that dropped their record to 8-6, the Blazers have won 11 straight games. Their title game run has been impressive not only by margin of victory, but by teams defeated. MC went through the early rounds winning games by an average of 18 points and beating four ranked teams. It is a balanced scoring attack for the Blazers with three players averaging double digits. Junior Ryan Fazekas (13.4 ppg), senior Richie Mitchell (11.7 ppg), and senior Nathan Flores (11.6 ppg) lead the charge for MC. Both teams are seeking their schools first boys basketball state championship and this one may come down to Marquette Catholic’s ability to handle Barr-Reeve’s defensive pressure.
Class 2A #1 Park Tudor (23-4) vs. Westview (23-4)
Park Tudor is in the midst of a great run of success. They will be playing in their fourth state championship game in five years and are looking to win their third in four years. This coming from a program where before this run only had two sectional and one regional championship under its belt. This run started with the coach and player combination of Ed Schilling and Yogi Ferrell. Now you have Kyle Cox and Trevon Bluiett. Cox is in his first season as Panthers head coach while Bluiett is one of the top three candidates for Mr. Basketball. Bluiett averages 35.6 points and 11.4 rebounds a game. It is not just Bluiett however as this team leads the state in scoring at 81.96 points. Bryce Moore (11.2 ppg) and Austin Shelton (10.5 ppg) also average in double figures. PT has won all of their tournament games by 12 points or more scoring at least 65 points in all of them. Westview is the only unranked team that will be playing in the state finals this weekend. Surprising for a team that lost just four games this season. Mentioning the recent tournament success of Park Tudor, you also have to account for the program’s success at Westview. Since 1973 they have won 17 sectionals, 5 regionals, 3 semi-states, and two state championships going back-to-back for 2A crowns in 1999-2000. The heritage this Warrior program has is impressive and so was their road to Indy. They beat two ranked teams along the way taking out Hammond Noll in the regional and then Lewis Cass in the semi-state. Rob Yoder’s team relies heavily on two talented players in senior Jordyn Bontrager (17.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and junior Chandler Aspy (15.8 ppg, 6 rpg). They only average 60.5 points a game as a team so it will be interesting to see what tempo this game is played at.
3A #1 Greensburg (27-1) vs. #3 Bowman Academy (22-4)
This is probably the marquee match up of the day. Both teams won state championships last year and are two of the most talented teams in the state. Greensburg is looking to go back-to-back 3A championships after a come from behind overtime win in last year’s championship game beating Ft. Wayne Concordia 73-70. The Pirates are an impressive 53-2 over the last two seasons. Coach Stacy Meyer’s team boasts five starters that will be playing Division I college athletics as well. They have three players who average double figures in senior Sean Sellers (20.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Ryan Welage (15 ppg, 6.3 rpg), and Bryant McIntosh (14.1 ppg, 9.1 apg). McIntosh is the true leader and floor general for this squad as they put the ball in his hands and let him run the show. They just got past #2 Guerin Catholic in the semi-state in a high level game where they trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half. Bowman Academy is on an unprecedented run of success in the state tournament. Their first tournament appearance just came in 2009, but since then they have won two state championships and will be playing in their fifth. To go along with that, Bowman is trying to become the first school to win championships in three different classifications (2010 A, 2013 2A). Head coach Marvin Rea has built an incredible program from scratch and became just the second person ever to win the Trester award as a player and then coach a state championship team. More impressively for Bowman is the balanced scoring attack they have. They have four players averaging double figures with junior Davon Dillard leading the way with 17 ppg. Senior Justin King is a force as well averaging a near double-double with 14.6 ppg and 9.3 rpg. These are two of the top eight highest scoring teams in the state with Bowman averaging 77.69 and Greensburg 76.18. This game will feature two talent laden teams that like to push the tempo so this has all the makings of a great match up.
4A #2 Indianapolis Tech (26-2) vs. #8 Lake Central (22-3)
Indianapolis Tech is not only one of the best teams in the state, but in the country. They are not just a good team they are also a good story. Tech is making their first appearance in the state finals since 1966. That year they finished runner-up. They are also carrying with them renewed pride and excitement from the Indianapolis Public Schools. Tech is the first IPS team to reach the state finals since Broad Ripple won the title in 1980. This team is not just a feel good story though. They are incredibly good and talented. Jason Delaney has molded this team for this moment. The Titans have improved each of his three seasons now to be at this level. It doesn’t hurt either when you have a Mr. Basketball candidate in Trey Lyles. Lyles averages a double-double with 24 points and 12.9 rebounds a contest. He is not alone as a big time scoring threat as Jeremie Tyler puts in 16.1 points a night. This team is well coached and very good defensively with a stifling zone. Lake Central is coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season in the semi-state beating Homestead 79-57. The Indians have played at a high level all year and along with Bowman were one of the best teams from northwest Indiana. Head coach Dave Milausnic is in his 10th season at LC and this has been their most successful season yet. They did win their sectional in 2012, but this is just the second time they have advanced past the regional level since 1984. That year the Indians won the championship. Similar to Tech, LC has two main scoring options with Tyler Wideman averaging 15.7 points and Tye Wilburn 12.3 points. The unique part of this match up is that they have already faced each other once this season. Tech beat LC 80-61 back on January 3. Both teams have changed since then, but rare you see teams from different parts of the state facing off for the championship. This game will come down to how efficient and effective Lake Central can be against Tech’s defense and limiting Tech’s fast break points.
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