INDIANAPOLIS – Arsenal Tech coach Jason Delaney sees today’s state finals as more than just an opportunity to revive basketball in the Indianapolis Public Schools.
It’s a chance for Tech to finally win a state title.
Since 1915, the Titans have been chasing this elusive crown. They made it three times between 1929 and 1952 but haven’t been back since 1966 – and they’re hoping to cap a historic season with the biggest celebration of all.
It’s really been a special season to be a part of high school basketball in the state, Delaney said. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a year like this one.
Tech (26-2) will become the first Indianapolis city school to play for a title in 34 years when it takes on Lake Central (22-3) for the Class 4A state championship in the final game of the day. Kentucky recruit Trey Lyles, one of the leading contenders for Mr. Basketball, has carried Tech by averaging 24 points and 12.9 rebounds.
And the Titans already know what to expect. In January, Tech beat Lake Central by 19 points. The Indians are led by 6-7 Tyler Wideman, a Butler recruit, who averages 15.7 points and 7.1 rebounds.
But that big win was only a start for Tech.
The next day, Lyles & Co. defeated powerhouse Park Tudor 95-88 in overtime – a game in which Lyles scored 45 points and Trevon Bluiett, a Xavier recruit and fellow Mr. Basketball contender, had 51 for Park Tudor.
If basketball fans stick around Bankers Life Fieldhouse long enough today, they’ll see the two high-scoring, high-profile stars one more time.
Park Tudor (23-4) is chasing its third Class 2A title in four years against Westview (23-4) in Game 2. Bluiett comes into the game averaging 35.6 points and with a personal challenge – one-upping Lyles.
I know they’ve gotten to be pretty good friends, and they try to outdo one another, Park Tudor coach Kyle Cox said. But what they’ve brought to the table this year for high school basketball in Indiana, it’s been pretty special.
Although Tech and Park Tudor have close ties and two of the state’s biggest stars, there are plenty of storylines to cap this remarkable season.
Perennial Class A power Barr-Reeve (26-1) faces Marquette Catholic in the first title game of the day.
Barr-Reeve has been ranked No. 1 all season and is playing in its fourth title game since 2002. But it’s never won the title.
This year, they’re up against 6-8 Ryan Fazekas (13.4 points, 7.6 rebounds) Fazekas is headed to Providence next season.
The Class 3A game features defending champion Greensburg (27-1) and Bowman Academy (22-4).
Justin King and Arthur Haggard III lead third-ranked Bowman, which is trying to become the first school to win state titles in three different classes. The Eagles won the 1A title in 2010 and the 2A title last season.