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.

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