The climax of the state tournament is here as the State Finals take place Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. There are no Purdue’s signees play, but 2021 target Caleb Furst and 2020 target Trey Galloway are playing. This year’s field features one defending champion from 2018 (Culver Academy), a couple of regular season rematches, and one first-time state finalist in Silver Creek.
Here is a quick preview of all four games:
#1 Ft. Wayne Blackhawk (27-2) vs. #2 Barr-Reeve (26-2)
The first game of the day is the only 1 vs. 2 matchup of the four Class polls and both teams have rolled through the tournament. Barr-Reeve’s closest game was a 48-41 win over Evansville Day in the regional. Blackhawk’s closest game was 65-57 over Gary 21st Century in the regional. All of their other games were by 20+ points. It is also a severe clash of styles. Blackhawk leads the state in scoring at 79.9 points per game and Barr-Reeve is 9th defensively giving up 42.1 points per game.
This is also a regular season rematch. Ft. Wayne Blackhawk beat Barr-Reeve 76-68 in overtime on December 29th in the Old National Bank Tournament championship game. Blackhawk’s record is also quite impressive for a 1A school. They have six wins over 4A teams and also beat 3A semi-state participant Marion. Barr-Reeve’s only losses were to Blackhawk and 2A state finalist Linton-Stockton. Blackhawk lost to Indianapolis Manual and 4A Homestead. This is the second state finals appearance for Blackhawk (runner-up in 2004) and the sixth for Barr-Reeve. Barr-Reeve’s only championship was in 2015. The winner of this game will also move up to 2A for the next two years on success factor.
Frank Davidson leads Blackhawk at 21.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Sophomore Caleb Furst, a 5-star recruit that already has a Purdue offer, is averaging 18.8 points and 10. Rebounds per game. Barr-Reeve is led by Gabe Gladish at 13.3 points per game and Keegan O’Neill at 10.3 ppg.
#8 Linton-Stockton (27-3) vs. Andrean (20-8)
We will have a guaranteed first time champion here as Linton-Stockton was runner-up in 2A in 2013 and Andrean was runner-up in 3A in 2000. Andrean also made the 1980 single-class state finals and lost in the semifinals to New Albany by a point. Linton-Stockton has been winning games by 20 points per game and only lost to Terre Haute North, Bedford North Lawrence, and South Knox. Those first two are 4A schools and the third was an opponent they later beat in the sectional championship game.
Sophomore guard Lincoln Hale leads Linton-Stockton at 18.4 points per game. Tucker Hayes averages 12 per game and Kip Fougerousse averages 11.4. Andrean is led by 6’7” sophomore forward Kyle Ross, who averages 17 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. John Carrothers averages 13.6 per game as a 6’3” guard. Matt Lelito, a 6’5” senior forward, already has a state championship with Andrean’s baseball team from last year.
#3 Culver Academy (24-3) vs. #6 Silver Creek (24-3)
Culver Academy is going for back-to-back championships, which would be a first since Park Tudor did it in 2A in 2014-15. Greensburg (2013-14) with Bryant McIntosh and Washington (2010-11) with Cody Zeller are the only 3A teams to do the double. Silver Creek is in uncharted territory, as they are the lone team of the 8 making its first Finals appearance. Culver’s only losses were to Hamilton Southeastern, Mishawaka Marian, and LaPorte LaLumiere. They avenged the Marian loss in the sectional, too. Silver Creek lost to Jeffersonville, Brownstown Central, and Bloomington South, the last two by a point each.
Silver Creek is second in the state in scoring at 75.2 points per game. Zane Gross leads them at 15.7 points per game while 6’8” sophomore Trey Kaufman averages 15.1 per game. Kooper Jacobi and Jack Hawkins also average in double figures. The Dragons are a team with a lot of size and Kaufman also averages 9 rebounds per game.
Trey Galloway, a 6’5” junior guard that Matt Painter has been recruiting, leads Culver at 16.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Ethan Brittain-Watts, a 6’ guard who will play at Boston University next season, averages 15.7 points and shoots 41% from three. Deontae Craig, a 6’5” junior, also averages 12.7 points per game. Craig is more of a football prospect, however, as he is a 3-star defensive end that Jeff Brohm has shown interest in. Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Michigan are also after him, among others.
#1 Carmel (25-1) vs. Ben Davis (20-7
The state’s two largest schools will face off for the 4A title, and the team that wonders what might have been is Brownsburg. Brownsburg is the only team to beat Carmel, beating them 52-50 at Carmel on January 19th. Brownsburg also beat Ben Davis 55-52 on December 15th. Carmel won state titles in 1977, 2012, and 2013 (the last two with Ryan Cline) and Ben Davis won in 1995, 1996, and 2017. Carmel beat Ben Davis in regular season conference play 49-39 on January 25th.
Carmel has been the state’s best team pretty much all year. Butler signee John Michael Malloy, a 6’10” big man, averages 14.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Karsten Windlan also averages 11.9 per game. Carmel is not high scoring at 57.7 per game, but they play stifling defense and are excellent at holding a fourth quarter lead. Of note is sophomore reserve Brian Waddell, son of Purdue guard Matt Waddell. He has played sparingly (4 of 5 from the floor) on varsity, but is a promising young player.
Ben Davis is led by Jalen Windham, a 6’5” 3-star guard that has signed with Georgia State and he averages 17.7 points per game. Center Dawand Jones averges 18 points and 9 rebounds per game, but he is a three-star offensive tackle that is headed to Ohio State. He is listed as a massive 6’8” 360 pounds.
Picks: FW Blackhawk, Linton-Stockton, Culver Academy, Carmel