Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse the four class state championships will be decided. The eight finalists bring in a decent amount of history:
- Park Tudor, Bowman Academy, Westview, and Greensburg have all been recent champions, with Greensburg and Bowman both winning last season.
- Barr-Reeve is making its fourth trip to the 1A title game, but has lost all three previous times.
- Indianapolis Tech is making a return to glory. As a former member of the North Central Conference Tech was state runner-up four times in 1929 (Frankfort), 1934 (Logansport), 1952 (Muncie Central), and 1966 (Michigan City Elston). Three of the four times they were state runner-up they lost the title game to an NCC team. This is their first trip to the state finals in 48 years and, as the closest high school to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, they could probably walk to the game.
- Bowman Academy is trying to become the first team to win the state championship in three different classes, as they won in 1A in 2010 and in 2A last season.
- Greenburg is seeking a repeat in class 3A, not done since Cody Zeller and Washington won in 2010 and 2011.
- Park Tudor is seeking its third title in four years, where they could join Franklin (1920-22), Marion (1985-87), Lawrence North (2004-06), and Washington (2008, 2010-11) as teams that won three titles in a four season span. All of those teams had legendary players in state history with the Wonder Five, Jay Edwards and Lyndon Jones, Greg Oden and Mike Conley, and finally, the Zeller brothers. Park Tudor would have Trevon Bluiett.
- Westview, Park Tudor, and Bowman Academy can join the fraternity of three-time class era champions with wins, joining Lawrence North, Lafayette Central Catholic, and Pike. Washington holds the class era record with four championships.
- I have a press pass for the fifth consecutive year and will be going at least to the night session to see Purdue target Davon Dillard and Bowman against Greensburg.
Marquette Catholic (19-6) vs. Barr-Reeve (26-1) 10:30am
Barr-Reeve enters as the top defensive team in the state, holding opponents to a meager 39.89 points per game. They will face off against a Marquette team featuring 2015 Providence commit Ryan Fazekas. Barr-Reeve is beating opponents by an average of 21 points per game, but that is indicative of the lack of competition they face in Southern Indiana.
Micah Bullock and Addison Wagler lead Barr-Reeve as each average better htan 15 points per game. They remind me of my old Basil Mawbey coached Kokomo teams where defense is the first priority with two guys that do the bulk of the scoring. They don't have much size to compete with the 6'8" Fazekas, who averages 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Richie Mitchell and Nathan Flores are also double figures scorers for Marquette. Pick: Barr-Reeve
Westview (23-4) vs. Park Tudor (23-4) 12:45pm
This is a clash of styles, as Westview is a defensive-minded and fundamentally sound team while Park Tudor wants to get out and run. They are the state's top scoring team at 81.96 points per game and almost half of that comes from Bluiett, who was recruited hard by Purdue before choosing Xavier. Bluiett averages 35.6 points per game while Bryce Moore and Austin Shelton are also double figures scorers.
Westview will have a very hard time stopping Bluiett, who is shooting 64.6% from the field and 81% at the line. They will counter with Jordyn Bontrager, a 5'10" guard averaging 17.2 points and 4.4 assists per game. Chandler Aspy averages 15.8 per game, while Judah Zickafoose and Jamar Weaver averages close to 10 points per game. I have to give a huge edge to Park Tudor, however, who has played a much more difficult schedule and could win the old non-class tournament if allowed. This is not their best team of the last four years, but it is still very good. Pick: Park Tudor
Greensburg (27-1) vs. Bowman Academy (22-4) 6pm
This is going to be the most competitive game of the day as both teams were champions last year and are loaded with talent. Sean Sellers, who is headed to Ball State, averages 20.1 points and 7.6 rebounds for Greensburg. Northwestern commit Bryant McIntosh averages 14.1 points and 9.1 assists as a player we missed on big time. Finally, you have 6'8" 2015 player Ryan Welage who averages 15 points and six rebounds.
Bowman is another high scoring team at 77.69 points per game led by Dillard, who averages 17 points and shoots 57% from the field. 6'7" Justin King is also big for them with 14.6 points and 9.3 rebounds. They are going to get up and down the floor, but both teams are not afraid to run at 77 points per game each. Both of these teams would be legitimate threats to win the old non-class tournament. Pick: Greensburg
Lake Central (22-3) vs. Indianapolis Tech (26-2) 8:15pm
We have a general idea of how this one will go, as it is the only game that is a regular season rematch. The two met at Tech on January 3rd and Tech won 80-61. Tech has been rolling in this tournament, winning by 30, 30, 12, 25, 8, and 4 (after leading that one by 30). Lake Central has only three losses, and two of them were to state finalists (Tech and Bowman). They avenged their 58-50 loss to East Chicago by beating them in the sectional 70-57.
The 6'10" Kentucky commit Trey Lyles has played like one of the best players in the 2014 class so far. He averages 24 points and 13 rebounds per game, but will match up against 6'7" Butler commit Tyler Wideman, who averages 15.7 points and 7.1 rebounds. Jeremie Tyler, who is headed to Ball State, averages 16.1 points for Tech. Pick: Indy Tech