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Greg Jones

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vs. Greensburg
What: Class 3A state finals
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
When: 6 p.m. today
Records: Concordia (24-3); Greensburg (25-1)
Rankings: Concordia, No. 7; Greensburg, No. 2
Radio: 92.7 FM, 102.7 FM, 1250 AM
Admission: $15
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
The Cadets reached the Class 3A state finals with a 68-63 overtime win over semistate nemesis Andrean, which had defeated Concordia in the semistate in 2000.

Boys boost Concordia basketball lore

Concordia has been to the basketball state finals before, winning girls titles in 2010 and 2012.

This time, it will be the boys’ turn to add to the ever-growing trophy case at the school with a Class 3A state championship matchup against Greensburg tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The Concordia girls beat Mount Vernon of Fortville 42-39 last year to add to the 2010 title won against Rushville 59-48. And it has been that same sudden success for the boys, who are in their first state finals appearance. The girls made their state debut in 2010. The boys have been in three semistates, while the girls just the two.

“We are definitely starting to get that reputation,” junior D.J. McCall said of Concordia becoming a basketball school. “It comes down to our administration and finding the coaches for our programs. I feel like the coaches for the girls and the boys really care about the program and about us as players.”

While academics come first at the school, it doesn’t hurt for the athletic program to be known for some success on the basketball court.

“It will help in the years to come for the players to come here,” senior Marq Rogers said. “It is a great attraction knowing that you had a team go to state, and we want to win it.

“It is exciting and all, but we have to stay focused. We have a big task ahead of us. It is the first time going to state, and we are excited but we are going down there to win. We don’t want to come up short.”

This week, it’s all been new for the Cadets’ boys.

It’s included a trip to Indianapolis for an 8:30 a.m. Wednesday practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, a state luncheon in Indianapolis on Thursday that required an overnight stay for the team, two pep sessions at the school Thursday and Friday and then the trip back to Indianapolis today for the game.

Plus practices.

“It is really nice to get the recognition,” senior Thomas Starks said. “The girls have had a lot of success the past few years, and a lot of the guys look at each other and say ‘man, we want to be on that stage.’ After the big win (semistate) Saturday, it hit us that we are playing for a state championship. It all goes back to hard work, and we deserve to be in this spot.

“It is something we have wanted for a long time. Every huddle, we broke before and during the season we yelled ‘state’ as a group because it was a goal we all wanted to reach. It is an exciting time, but we still have more to go.”

It was almost the same Concordia team that lost in the sectional finals to Bishop Dwenger a year ago. But the Cadets turned around their fortunes this season, including a 68-63 overtime win over nemesis Andrean, the same school the 2000 Concordia team lost to in the semistate.

“After sectionals, we were happy about it, but then after regionals, it was an unbelievable experience and after the semistate, it was a more unbelievable feeling,” McCall said. “It didn’t hit me until the ride back home.

“This is one of the greatest feelings just to go this far in the tournament. It is just a great experience, especially with these guys.”

Greg Jones is the High School Sports Editor for The Journal Gazette and has been covering sports in the Fort Wayne area since 1998. He can be reached by email; phone, 461-8224; or fax 461-8648.