FORT WAYNE – When Concordia and Greensburg meet in the Class 3A boys basketball state championship Saturday, it will be the first time on the big stage for both programs.
The No. 7 Cadets (24-3) have played in three semistates, falling short of state in 1989 and 2000 before breaking through Saturday and avenging its previous semistate loss in the process by beating No. 3 Andrean 68-63 in overtime at the Huntington North Semistate. Andrean beat Concordia 77-57 in the 2000 3A semistate.
The bus ride home Saturday, (the players) were jumping up and down, and it was a ruckus, Concordia coach Josh Eggold said by phone Monday.
But it was more of a satisfaction that they are happy with the way they are playing right now. They were pretty worn out but ready to take on the next challenge. It is something we will reflect back on later and remember the ride.
It isn’t totally undiscovered territory for Concordia, which has had girls basketball teams win 3A state titles in 2010 and 2012.
The girls program being there has made it not seem as surreal because some of the boys cheered on the girls the last couple of times, Eggold said.
The eight state finals coaches gathered Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to take care of some state finals business with IHSAA personnel, building administration and media.
Concordia fell behind against Andrean in the semistate on a couple of occasions, only to find a way to come back. The Cadets missed a couple of good chances at a game-winner at the end of regulation but found a way to win in the extra session.
There were a couple of destiny-like plays that if we had not had , Eggold said. Some of their turnovers they had, at the time, seemed uncharacteristic for them, and we capitalized on them. There were a number of factors that contributed to our success. It did not look good down eight with four minutes to go (in the fourth quarter). But those things happened, and we took advantage of them.
The No. 2 Pirates (25-1) have been to seven semistates and finally made school history on lucky No. 7 by clinching a trip to the state finals by beating top-ranked Mount Vernon of Fortville 62-37 at the Richmond Semistate. It means a lot to the program, and it means a lot to our community, being the first basketball team to make a state appearance, Greensburg coach Stacy Meyer said by phone Monday. We had a big supportive crowd for the semistate at Richmond, and we came back (to Greensburg) to a pep session. It will be fun. Both communities are really fired up.
Greensburg spent some time at No. 1 this year before losing at Batesville 72-65 on Jan. 11. The Pirates avenged that loss, 77-65, in the sectional semifinals and have gotten postseason wins against No. 5 Evansville Bosse (82-65) and No. 4 Brownstown Central (65-54) in the regional and the Marauders at the semistate.
We saw something different in Mt. Vernon in the zones that they play that we had not seen a lot of this year, Meyer said. It was key that we got off to a good start (a 21-7 lead) like we did because our kids kind of breathed easy after knocking down a couple of shots.
Note: Tickets for the Concordia game will be on sale today and Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., at $15 each.