Tomorrow is the State Finals of the IHSAA state tournament, and it is a sad day. It was 20 years ago that the last single-class tournament took place. Instead of a celebration of the sport crowning one champion we have four state title games. There will be four champions instead of one, something that still doesn’t feel right even after 20 years.
A pair of Purdue targets will be on display though. All four games can be seen on Fox Sports Indiana and if you don’t live here you can watch online at IHSAATV.org. The first Purdue target, Eric Hunter, will play in the Class A title game:
Lafayette Central Catholic (22-6) vs. Indianapolis Tindley (23-5) 10:30am
Right off the bat we get a look at Eric Hunter, who Painter has been targeting for some time. Hunter is a junior and top scorer for Tindley at 26.1 points per game. He also averages 7.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He is shooting an impressive 59% from the floor and 53.5% from three. He will go against Lafayette Central Catholic. The Knights were dominant in the early years of class sports, winning three of the first six Class A state titles. This is their first time back in the finals since 2003, however. They are led by Avery Denhart and Ben Tharp who score 16 and 14 points per game respectively. Carson Barrett is an impressive 6’3” freshman averaging 10.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
You should expect points here. Tindley averages better than 73 points per game and Central Catholic scores 60. Both teams are battle tested too. Central Catholic lost to McCutcheon and Class 3A state finalist Twin Lakes. Tindley lost to Class 3A finalist Crispus Attucks in overtime and Class 4A finalst Ft. Wayne North.
Frankton (22-6) vs. Crawford County (22-6) 12:45pm
Frankton has senior on the roster that have unfinished business. They were part of the Class 2A runner-up team two years ago. Maurice Knight is one of those seniors and he leads them at 21.5 points per game. The 6’4” forward helped them survive in overtime last week over Marquette Catholic. Crawford County is in its first state finals ever and will look to slow things down. They average 52.2 points per game where Frankton averages 69.8. Adam Beasley is the lone double figures scorer for Crawford County at 10.8 points per game.
Neither of these teams really played much of a schedule outside of 2A and 3A teams, so this should be a nice even matchup.
Twin Lakes (25-3) vs. Indianapolis Crispus Attucks (24-4) 6pm
Twin Lakes is in the state finals for the first time ever and they have been impressive all year. They avenged an in-season loss to Culver Academy by beating them in the regional final. Their only other losses were to Logansport (who was a top 5 team in 4A) and Northwestern in their conference championship game. They have a balanced attack with four players averaging in double figures. Bryce Bennington averages 12.1 points per game and both Justin Crabb and Blake Bennington are at 11.4 points per game. Crispus Attucks is back in the state finals for the first time since winning the 1959 title. They play a very fast pace at 79.3 points per game led by Nike Sibande at 22 points per game. Teyon Scnalan, Alex Cooley, and Zac Owens are also in double figures.
This game is really a clash of styles. Attucks is going to get up and down the floor and they have been over 100 points a couple of times this year. They even had 117 in a sectional game. To get this far they avenged a regular season loss against Indianapolis Manual. They also played 4A power North Central close.
Fort Wayne North (27-2) vs. Ben Davis (22-5) 8:15pm
Matt Painter’s second target will be in the Class 4A title game. Keion Brooks of Ft. Wayne North is emerging as one of the top players in the country in the 2019 class and Painter has already recruiting him well. The 6’8’ versatile forward averages 20.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2 assists. He is shooting 59.7% from the floor and 36.2% from three. You want ridiculous athletes that can change games? That is Brooks. Jaylen Butz, a 6’10” DePaul commit, averages 17.3 points and 12.6 rebounds for North.
Ben Davis was a bit of a surprise to get here with all the good Indy teams, but they twice lost to North Central in the regular season only to beat them in the regional. They also dropped regular season games to Center Grove, Lawrence Central, and Warren Central, but took advantage of other teams knocking those guys out. They are led by 6’6” junior Aaron Henry’s 14.3 points per game. Henry is starting to garner some college interest as well.