It turns out making history is a good thing. This past season Purdue recruit Braden Smith pulled off the previously impossible. He led the Westfield Shamrocks to a 22-7 record. which is pretty good. The Shamrocks were 0 for 104, however, in attempting to win a sectional coming into the season. They were the largest school in the state to never win a sectional title in boys basketball.
Smith led them to a 62-44 win over No. 2 Fishers, 77-50 win over Hamilton Southeastern, and 59-54 win over two-time defending state champion Carmel to deliver the first sectional crown in school history. The wins over Fishers and HSE avenged regular season losses, as did a 64-53 win in the regional over Fletcher Loyer and Homestead in the regional. Unfortunately, the run ended there as it was Kokomo’s turn to avenge a regular season loss with a 64-60 win in the regional championship, but the longest run in school history was enough for Smith to be named Mr. Basketball:
He would finish as Westfield’s all-time leader in scoring (1,629 points) and assists (453). But even those impressive statistics were dwarfed by the team success — the first sectional championship for Westfield in 105 years of basketball — Smith and his teammates experienced at the end of his senior season.
Smith was voted Mr. Basketball by 128 voters to the second place Loyer’s 109. Lawrence North’s CJ Gunn was third with 57 votes, Central Noble’s Connor Essegian fourth with 41 votes and Chesterton’s Travis Grayson fifth with 16 votes. Six other players received at least one vote, but none of those had 10 or more.
The victory gives Purdue Mr. Basketball AND the runner-up for the second straight season (Caleb Furst and Trey Kaufman-Renn) and third time since Caleb Swanigan and Ryan Cline went back-to-back in 2015. He is the 13th Mr. Basketball to come to Purdue:
1952 - Joe Sexson - Indianapolis Tech
1955 - Wilson Eison - Gary Roosevelt
1964 - Dennis Brady - Lafayette Jeff
1965 - Billy Keller - Indianapolis Washington
1966 - Rick Mount - Lebanon
1975 - Kyle Macy - Peru (later transferred to Kentucky)
1981 - Dave Palombizio - Michigan City Rogers (later transferred to Ball State)
1984 - Troy Lewis - Anderson (tied with Delray Brooks of Michigan City Rogers)
1988 - Woody Austin - Richmond
1991 - Glenn Robinson - Gary Roosevelt (No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick)
2015 - Caleb Swanigan - Homestead
2021 - Caleb Furst - Ft. Wayne Blackhawk Christian
2022 - Braden Smith - Westfield