We could be in for a very fun state final next week in Class 4A. The last two undefeated teams in the stare reside in Class 4A and are in opposite semi-states. Should they both win, it would mark the first time in the 108 year history of the Indiana state tournament that the championship game features a pair of undefeated teams. The winner would then be the 14th undefeated champion ever in state history:
1911: Crawfordsville (16-0) - This was the first state tournament
1956: Indianapolis Crispus Attucks (31-0)
1957: South Bend Central (30-0)
1969: Indianapolis Washington (31-0)
1970: East Chicago Roosevelt (28-0)
1971: East Chicago Washington (29-0)
1985: Marion (29-0)
2003: Lewis Cass (26-0) – Class 2A
2003: Pike (29-0) – Class 4A
2004: Waldron (27-0) – Class A
2006: Lawrence North (29-0) – Class 4A
2009: Bloomington South (26-0) – Class 4A
2009: Princeton (29-0) – Class 3A
Had the old single-class tournament existed this whole time Princeton and Bloomington South would have met in the 2009 semi-state, while Cass and Pike would not have met until the state finals.
Will we have a new immortal team? We’ll see.
No. 2 South Bend Riley (26-0) vs. No. 10 Carmel (20-7) at Lafayette Jeff
Among the final four teams in Class 4A there are 8 losses, and 7 belong to Carmel. That doesn’t mean they are a bad team at all. Almost all of their losses were to some of the top teams in the state, including New Albany and Warren Central, who are playing in the other semi-state. They have also beaten excellent teams in Ben Davis, New Castle, and both Homestead and Fort Wayne North last week. In their sectional they avenged a pair of regular season losses to Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers. Fishers at 12-12 is probably the closest thing they have to a bad loss. They are led by Butler signee John Michael Malloy.
Riley, of course, has no losses. Indiana signee Damezi Anderson is averaging well over 20 points per game and they have played some decent competition. They have a good win over Pickerington North out of Ohio. They are averaging almost 74 points per game, which will test a stout Carmel defense that gives up only 47.4 per game. This is a great clash of styles. I compare Carmel to a boa constrictor because if they get up 4 in the fourth quarter they strangle you with great defense and flawless possessions that end in either easy baskets or at the free throw line.
No. 1 Warren Central (30-0) vs. No. 3 New Albany (25-1) at Seymour
This is one of the hottest tickets in the state, as it is already sold out thanks to a good 1A game at this site before it. No one has ever gone 32-0 and only 1995 Ben Davis (who went 32-1) has won 32 games in a single season. Since Warren Central’s girls team was the surprise champion in the girls 4A Tournament they could join Oregon-Davis (2007 Class A) as the only schools to pull off a boys-girls double. They are led by David Bell, a potential 2019 recruit for Purdue… in football. He is one of the nation’s top defensive backs, but is a hell of a basketball player too.
New Albany, of course, has Romeo Langford, the No. 6 national recruit and top uncommitted player in America. He is down to Kansas, Vanderbilt, and Indiana. With 2,967 points he can become only the 4th player ever to reach 3,000 points for his career. He would join Deshaun Thomas (3,018), Marion Lewis (3,019), and Damon Bailey (3,134) on that exclusive list. He’s not going to catch Bailey, but he can get to No. 2, which is impressive. As a team, New Albany is averaging 79.81 points per game, second in the state. They are also virtually undefeated, as they beat Floyd Central, the only team that beat them, in the sectional. They also were state champs two years ago.
Picks: South Bend Riley and New Albany
No. 1 New Castle (27-2) vs. No. 4 Culver Academy (21-6) at Lafayette Jeff
It is a shame the NCAA Tournament is this weekend, otherwise this would be a great recruiting opportunity in our own back yard. New Castle features Mason Gillis, a rising 6’7” forward in the 2019 class that Purdue has already offered. Culver features Trey Galloway, a 4-star 6’3” guard in the 2020 class that is ranked 75th nationally. It is entirely possible these two could be teammates in West Lafayette in a few years.
New Castle only lost to Carmel and Beech Grove. It has won all of its tournament games by at least 13 points except last week’s regional final, when it beat Marion by 7. A pair of Culver’s losses have come against the prestigious Lake Forest Academy and LaPorte LaLumiere, so they have quite the resume as well.
No. 3 Evansville Bosse (24-4) vs. No. 7 Danville (22-4) at Washington
Bosse is the state’s top scoring team at an astounding 84 points per game. They have a measure of unfinished business too after losing to Marion 73-68 in the 2016 Class 3A title game and to Crispus Attucks 84-77 in last year’s semi-state. They were looking at a rematch with Crispus Attucks, but Danville sprung the upset last week over the Tigers 57-45 with a dominant second half.
Former Purdue coach Jack Owens already tapped into Bosse, as Mekhi Lairy is going to be the 5’7” MAC guard that drops 25 on people for the next four years at Miami (OH). He is now 22nd in state history with 2,182 points and will climb into the top 20 with 25 more points.
Picks: New Castle and Evansville Bosse
No. 2 Westview (28-1) vs. No. 6 Oak Hill (24-5) at Huntington North
Oak Hill has an insane amount of size for a 2A public school with four players over 6’5”. They are battle tested too. They lost to New Castle, 4A power Lawrence North, and 2017 Class 2A title winner Frankton. They have an overtime loss to the same Floyd Central team that beat New Albany. They got out of one of the toughest regionals with a win over No. 8 Tipton last week after Tipton beat No. 1 Covington.
Westview has long been one of the better small school programs in Indiana. They won state titles in 1999 and 2000 and were runner-up in 2014. Their lone loss was to Fairfield by 4 in overtime. The two teams are pretty close statistically too.
Indianapolis Scecina (19-9) vs. Forest Park (24-4) at Washington
Scecina has a strong football tradition, but this was the first time ever they have won a regional. They also have played a very tough schedule, so the record is deceiving. They lost by 2 to Crispus Attucks and knocked off a very good Cloverdale team last week. Their schedule is a who’s who of strong Indy-area teams like Indy Howe, Hamilton Southeastern, Park Tudor, and more.
Forest Park has won 11 in a row after a midseason 3-game losing streak. Their three sectional wins were by 12 total points, but they had a relatively easy regional last week by beating South Knox by 14 and Austin by 21. The toughest team they have played is Class A regional champ Barr-Reeve, a 2-point loss. They also won consecutive titles in 2005 and 2006.
Picks: Westview and Forest Park
No. 1 Fort Wayne Blackhawk (26-2) vs. No. 3 Southwood (24-3)
This one should be a lot of fun. Blackhawk has only lost to Fort Wayne North and Fort Wayne Dwenger. They average 75.2 points per game (6th in state) and Southwood is averaging 78.2 per game (4th in the state). These teams are going to get up and down the floor and score some points. Aside from beating Lafayette Central Catholic by 4 on its own floor in the sectional, Southwood has won games in the tournament by 66, 54, 38, and 35.
Blackhawk, meanwhile, owns a pair of 100 point games in the tournament. No one has even come close to them. They have won by 47, 65, 44, 34, and 38 in their five tournament games.
No. 4 Morristown (26-2) vs. No. 5 Barr-Reeve (24-4) at Seymour
This will be a great warm-up game before New Albany-Warren Central at Seymour. Morristown’s Hayden Langkabel had a monster second half with 46 points to eliminate Eric Hunter and defending state champion Indianapolis Tindley last week. He is currently 26th all-time in state scoring with 2,143 and needs only 3 points to move into the top 25. He could reach the top 20 with a trip to the state finals.
Barr-Reeve is always one of the best 1A teams in Indiana. The winner of their annual blood feud with Loogootee always goes far in the state tournament. A win would give them their 6th trip to the state finals since 2002. They get it done with old school fundamental basketball and defense.
Picks: FW Blackhawk and Barr-Reeve