Archive for March 30, 2012

PRIME TIME STRIPES: KOKOMO’S PAT DUMOULIN CALLS 4A TITLE BOUT

Kokomo's Pat Dumoulin watches as Carmel guard Sam Curts fires a pass during the IHSAA Class 4A boys basketball state finals. (Photo by William Gibson)

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

INDIANAPOLIS – Professionals strive to be the best in their respective fields. Some attain that goal, while others don’t. Pat Dumoulin is one who did. For the first time in his 31 year career as a licensed IHSAA basketball official, the Kokomo native was selected to officiate a boys state championship game. And not just any game, the IHSAA asked him to work the biggest game of all – the Class 4A state finals.

“It is definitely a highlight of my career,” Dumoulin said. “It was really good to work the 4A game as it is the highlight game of the day.”

Dumoulin is actually no stranger to the basketball state finals – this is the second consecutive year he has called a hoops title game, but his specialty may be considered the girls game. He is a three-time state girls championship game official, having been selected for Class 4A in 2005 and Class 2A in 2002 and 2011. But it is the boys game that has the biggest draw, and he had the opportunity to work with two elite programs as Carmel and Pike squared off at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, with the Greyhounds winning its first state title since 1977 by downing the Red Devils 80-67.

“I just really tried to soak it all in,” said Dumoulin, who was required to be at the Fieldhouse the entire day, so he had the chance to watch the first three finals. “You just try and enjoy everything – enjoy the day. If you try and focus on your game at 10:30 (a.m.), you will be burnt out by the time your game starts.”

An ironic thrill for Dumoulin was the opportunity to call the title bout in front of his former high school basketball coach. Carl McNulty, a member of the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame and former hoops mentor at Kokomo High School, traveled to Indy from his retirement home in Florida. But Dumoulin was quick to point out McNulty was not in town to cheer on one of his former pupils. As it turns out, his grandson, Karl Schneider, is a senior starter for the state champion Greyhounds.

“It was a neat thing that Carl was there,” said Dumoulin. “I went up and talked to him before and after the game, and I hadn’t talked to him in a long time. That was really neat having my high school coach get to see me work the boys finals.”

One thing Dumoulin does not worry about is the constant barrage of insults that are directed his way when he puts the whistle to his mouth.

“Really, I just block them out.” he said. “And the bigger the crowd the less you hear. With a big crowd, it just comes out more or less like a big roar – you can’t really tell what they are saying so it doesn’t matter.”

As with any occupation, hard work and patience paid off for Dumoulin. He said he works between 35 and 40 combined boys and girls games per year, and he donned the black and white stripes for the first time in 1981. But he says getting the boys state finals was not necessarily on his radar.

“My goals were girls state finals and boys semi-state,” he said, noting that he has worked the boys semi-state the last two seasons. “But I really didn’t think I would get to the boys finals after working three girls finals.”

The seasoned official said he has not decided on his officiating future. With 31 years and more than 1,000 games under his belt, he knows his days on the court are numbered. But regardless of what is next in his black and white stripes future, one thing is for sure – with four state championship games to his name, he is one of the best to ever blow the whistle, and he has represented Kokomo well.

FOUR CROWNED IHSAA HOOPS CHAMPIONS

Courtesy of the IHSAA

Indianapolis’s Bankers Life Fieldhouse hosted the 102nd Annual IHSAA Boys Basketball State Finals presented by Farm Bureau Insurance last Saturday. The following are recaps of the four state finals games, courtesy of the IHSAA.

CARMEL CAPTURES 4A TITLE

Carmel’s 11-0 run in the first quarter set the stage. The Greyhounds’ 7-0 spurt to start the third quarter provided the breathing room. Ben Gardner’s record-setting scoring and free throw shooting wrapped up the victory.

Gardner scored 31 points, the most ever in a Class 4A title game, to push the fourth-ranked Greyhounds to an 80-67 victory over unranked Pike. Gardner’s total surpassed the 29 scored by Lawrence North’s Greg Oden against Muncie Central in 2009. Gardner hit 15 of his 19 free throws, breaking the 4A mark and tying the record for all classes.

For Carmel, it was the second state title in boys basketball and first since 1977. The championship also continued an impressive school year for Greyhounds sports teams, which have now won a record seven state titles in 2011-12. It was the 108th overall state title for Carmel teams.

Coach Scott Heady’s Carmel unit defeated four ranked teams, including No. 1 Hamilton Southeastern, to get to the tournament’s final game. They finished 23-4.

The Greyhounds connected on more free throws (30) than field goals (23) against Pike. With a 30-of-45 mark from the line, they broke 4A records for foul shots made and attempted. Sam Curts joined Gardner in double figures with 18 points.

Coach Bill Zych’s Red Devils were seeking the school’s fourth boys basketball title and first since 2003. They finished 18-8.

Pike put three players in double-digit scoring — Zavier Turner with 20, Taishaun Johnson with 19 and Ronald Hunter with 15. Hunter had a game-high nine rebounds.

Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Sam Curts of Carmel High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class 4A Boys Basketball. Curts maintains a 3.5 GPA, has been named a CHS Scholar Athlete as well as an Academic All-Conference and Academic All-State honorable mention selection.

The award is annually presented to a senior participant in the state finals who best demonstrates mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability and is named after the IHSAA’s first commissioner who served the Association from 1929 to 1944. Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Carmel High School in the name of Curts.

GUERIN CATHOLIC WINS SCHOOL’S FIRST 3A TITLE

The Guerin Catholic Golden Eagles used a 16-6 run in the second half to bust open a closely contested game and achieve a 64-48 victory over Norwell in the Class 3A boys basketball final.

Coach Pete Smith’s Eagles led only 23-22 at halftime but started its push late in the third quarter. The Eagles turned up the defensive pressure, forcing 12 turnovers and holding Norwell to 31 percent shooting (9-of-29) in the second half. Guerin Catholic connected on 18-of-21 free throws after halftime.

For the No. 10-ranked Eagles, it was the first state championship game appearance in any sport. It culminated in the Class 3A basketball crown in only the school’s sixth year of tournament eligibility.

Guerin Catholic won its last nine games and finished 24-5. Riley Rapp and Aaron Brennan led the Eagles with 14 points apiece, and Brennan had 12 rebounds. Whit Rapp scored 13 points. Adam Hufford added 12 points, all in the second half.

Coach Randy Hawkins’ Norwell team was 24-3. Like Guerin Catholic, the No. 4-ranked Knights were making its first appearance in the boys basketball state finals.

However, the Knights’ offense never got untracked. They were held more than 23 points under their season average of 71.1. Grant Baker, with 11 points, led Norwell in scoring. Kyle Fillman had nine rebounds.

Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Garrett Bucher of Norwell High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class 3A Boys Basketball. Bucher ranks 12th in his senior class of 185 students with a 3.91 GPA with some of the most challenging courses Norwell has to offer.

2A BACK-TO-BACK FOR PARK TUDOR

The top-ranked Park Tudor Panthers presented a formidable answer for Bowman Academy’s full-court defensive pressure. His name: Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell.

Ferrell turned in a memorable performance as the Panthers gained a record-breaking 79-57 victory over Bowman in the Class 2A boys state final. The Park Tudor guard, one of the nation’s top seniors, collected 17 points and a 2A-record 12 assists. Ferrell, with nine rebounds, finished one board shy of a triple-double.

Park Tudor’s 22-point triumph broke the 2A record for largest margin of victory, which was 19 set by Westview in a 71-52 outcome over Paoli in 1999. The Panthers, who hit 29-of-52 field goal attempts for a 55.8 mark, also established a new 2A record in that category. They tied the 2A record for made 3-pointers with 10.

For Coach Ed Schilling’s Park Tudor team, it was a second straight Class 2A championship in its third consecutive title game appearance. The Panthers were the eighth Indiana school to make it to three consecutive title games. They finished the season at 25-2 and went 66-15 over a three-year span.

A 17-0 run in the first half, with Ferrell scoring seven, provided a cushion that Park Tudor never lost. Trevon Bluiett led the Panthers’ scoring with 25. Paul Bayt scored 18 on a 2A-record six 3-pointers, all from the right corner.

Coach Marvin Rea’s Eagles, ranked No. 5, completed its season at 17-9. They won the Class A state championship in 2010.

During the 2011-12 season, the Eagles used its relentless pressure to build a 74.6 scoring average with four games of 100 or more. But against Park Tudor, they started slowly, hitting only 9-of-27 shots (33.3 percent) in the first half. They fell behind 40-23 by halftime.

Four Eagles scored in double digits, led by Elijah Ray with 14. Michael Ford had 13 points. DeJuan Marrero and Justin King each scored 12.

Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Austin Kyker of Park Tudor School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class 2A Boys Basketball. Academically, Kyker has been on the high honor roll every year and has maintained a 4.3 weighted GPA. He will be inducted into the Cum Laude Society (the high school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa) in April and has earned the designation of AP Scholar with Honors. He has been accepted to Duke University’s biomedical engineering program for the fall. Kyker has been a part of three state finalist teams at Park Tudor and served as tri-captain of this year’s squad.

FIRST TITLE FOR LOOGOOTEE IN CLASS 1A

The Loogootee Lions stayed patient and poised in the Class A boys basketball final and garnered the first state championship in any sport for its school.

Coach Mike Wagoner’s Lions, ranked No. 7, weathered a strong fourth-quarter comeback by sixth-ranked Rockville and captured a 55-52 victory in the state title game. It was Loogootee’s third appearance in the final game and first since 2005.

Coach Dave Mahurin’s Rox battled to the end despite shooting just 32.7 percent (16-of-49), including 20 percent (5-of-25) from the 3-point line. Rockville tied the game at 50-all and 52-all and missed a 3-pointer in the final second to knot it again.

Loogootee connected on only one field goal in the final five minutes, but it was a big one as Will Nonte scored on a fast break to put the Lions up 54-52 with 17.6 seconds left. The Lions hit 12 of 14 free throws in the final 5:13, including one by Bryant Ackerman with 4.3 seconds left to provide the winning margin.

Loogootee, which finished 22-4, led by as much as 11 points in the first half. Conner Wittmer topped the Lions in scoring with 16 despite early foul trouble. Ackerman scored 15 points with 12 rebounds. Matt Mathies had 13 points.

Rockville completed its season at 22-6. The Rox hadn’t made a state finals appearance since 1918. The 94-year span between its trips to the state finals ranks as the longest in state history.

Lane Mahurin and Gary Ulrich led Rockville with 14 points apiece. Jordan McFall added 12.

Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Matt Wheeler of Rockville High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class A Boys Basketball. Wheeler ranks seventh in his senior class of 52 students. He serves as senior class vice president, National Honor Society treasurer and is a member of the Student Council and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He’s also received Distinguished Honor Roll recognition from his school.

TIPTON FALLS SHORT TO BOWMAN ACADEMY IN FINAL FOUR

Tipton junior Mike Crawford drives the lane for two of his 40 points against Bowman Academy in the Class 2A Lafayette Semi-State.

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

LAFAYETTE – Relentless. Dogging. Suffocating. Those are but a few of the terms being thrown around the Crawley Center when describing the Bowman Academy defense against Tipton in the Class 2A North Semi-State at Lafayette Jefferson High School Saturday evening. And if one listened close enough, they heard terms like gallant, gutty and courageous to describe the Blue Devils efforts. But in the end, it was the suffocating defense and physical prowess that sent Bowman to next weekends Class 2A state championship game after downing Tipton in a 69-64 thriller.

“We have a really good group of kids,” understated Tipton coach Brad Dickey, who led the Blue Devils to a second consecutive Final Four appearance. “They care about each other, they play for their school and the town, and they play for one another. I don’t know what else you could ask for of kids. I am just really proud.”

From the opening tip, Gary’s Thea Bowman Leadership Academy threw a full-court press at the Blue Devils. While Tipton struggled, they managed to bring the ball up the court and hold a 13-11 lead after one quarter thanks to 10 points from junior Mike Crawford. But a 27-14 Bowman second quarter run was simply too much for the Blue Devils to overcome in the end – but they sure tried as Indiana Junior All-Star candidate Mike Crawford led a charge that put a scare in the Eagles.

“We are not used to it yet,” said Dickey after the game when asked about the Bowman aggressive style of play. “We had some plans and strategies, but it is just not going to work all of the time. We had difficulty in keeping them off the rim, more so than us handling the ball. Turns out our kids are in pretty good shape. We played some long stretches of very athletic basketball.”

Dickey was referring to Tipton being outrebounded 46-37, resulting in 13 second chance points for the Eagles.

“I give credit to Tipton and the Crawford kid,” said Bowman head coach Marvin Rea. “They played an excellent game and just kept coming at us. There was no quit.”

After Bowman scored the first basket out of the halftime break to take a 40-27 lead – and looked like they would run away with the game – Crawford and the Devils started a comeback with a 21-17 run.

With momentum clearly returning to Tipton, Crawford drove the lane and was fouled hard by Antonio Pipkins at the 6:06 mark of the fourth quarter. As Crawford was on the ground, Pipkins stood over Crawford and taunted him, resulting in a technical foul. The Blue Devil junior guard hit all four free throws to cut the lead to five. With Tipton keeping the ball as a result of the technical, they worked the ball and found Crawford, who hit another jumper to trim the Eagles lead to 57-54 with 4:45 left in the game.

Despite a heroic 21-point second-half by Crawford and with the Tipton crowd in a frenzy – they outnumbered the Bowman fans three to one – Tipton ran out of gas against a more-physical Bowman team and could get no closer than three points down the stretch.

“We stayed on the floor until the very end,” said Dickey. “We were hoping to win. We took some good chances, especially in the second half.”

Crawford finished the game with 40 points and eight rebounds. Those who were in attendance knew that Tipton had the best, and gutsiest, player on the floor. He slashed, drove and pulled up on shot after shot. He hit 14 of his 24 attempts and nailed 12 of 15 free throws after averaging 22 points this season.

“He got great numbers, but nobody cares – even him,” said Dickey. “What matters is our team loves one another. We were playing to win, and when you play to win the best player is going to take the most shots and score the most points. That is what happened today. We got a tremendous effort out of everybody today.”

Tipton finished the season 24-4 and picked up sectional, regional and Hoosier Conference championship hardware.

“We will eventually see this day with pride,” said Dickey. “That we were here and competed so well. It is a shame because we came so close.”