Holy Toledo! What a way for the 2015 IHSAA boys’ basketball season to come to an end.
Four class champions were crowned at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Saturday.
With just over two minutes remaining, the Homestead Spartans looked headed home as runners-up in the Class 4A boys’ final.
Evansville Reitz – the tournament’s best free throw shooting team at 73.6-percent – led 69-61 with 2:44 remaining and needed to control the ball and make free throws to win their first boys’ title.
But Coach Chris Johnson (a 1983 Brookville High School graduate) saw his Homestead team force turnovers and rally for a 91-90 overtime championship. Reitz (just three turnovers in three quarters) finished with eight in regulation.
A pair of steals by Ben Skowronek, led to Taj Curry tying the game at 73 and sending it to overtime without leading scorer Dana Batt, who fouled out with 3:44 left, after dominating Reitz 24-9 on the boards but with 10 turnovers.
Even at 54 after three quarters, Reitz went on a 10-0 fourth quarter run. They led 67-58 when Batt exited and maintained a 71-63 lead before turnovers led a 10-2 run to end regulation.
Reitz’ final lead was by Alex Stein (26 points) after a steal. Homestead went on a 9-0 run as Jordan Geist (18 points) took over. Toledo bound Jaelan Sandford did all he could for Reitz with his sixth NBA range 3-pointer (24 points) going in but time ran out.
Five Homestead players were in double figures with Curry’s 23 along with 20 by Caleb Swanigan – including 14 rebounds and three dunks, as Homestead held a 44-24 rebounding advantage.
Batt was named Trester Mental Attitude Award winner, capping the daylong event.
Chris Jackson is in his 16th season at Homestead after five at Fort Wayne Dwenger. The Ball State grad spent two years as a Merrillville assistant after three seasons at Cincinnati Elder.
His overall record at Homestead improved to 248-122 and 328-155 overall.
Guerin wins Class 3A
Guerin Catholic defeated Griffith 62-56 in the Indiana Class 3A State Championship game on Saturday.
The IHSAA had forfeited seven games and the Griffith season after an altercation with Hammond High in February. It was overturned by a Lake County judge and both team reinstated the week of the sectional.
Griffith led 14-12 after one but fell behind 27-26 at the half. They regained a 42-38 lead with eight minutes remaining. Guerin Catholic shot 63-percent in the final quarter to hold on for the win. Griffith stayed close with 5-for-9 from behind the arc (9-for-23 overall).
Trester Award winner Matt Labus’s three-pointer (his only points of the game) tied the contest at 53.
Juniors Tremell Murphy and Anthony Murphy 17 and 12 respectively led Griffith.
Guerin Catholic will move up to 4A next season.
Park Tudor repeats
Park Tudor defeated Frankton 73-46 in 2A action and will move to 3A by IHSAA success formula.
Bryce Moore led the way with 10-14 (two 3’s) shooting and 9-for-11 at the line for 31 points.
Moore (Western Michigan bound) is the latest in a list of Tudor guards including Yogi Ferrell (IU) and Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), on hand for a pregame talk.
Park Tudor shot 57-percent to 24-percent for first time finalist Frankton and had a 46-20 rebounding.
Austin Compton 22 points for Frankton.
Coach Kyle Cox (friend of Shiner coach Brian Graham) earned his second straight state title.
Park Tudor led 13-7, 34-25 and 51-34.
Frankton had nine seniors including twins Conner and Cameron Bates who were named Trester award. They joined Dick and Tom VanArsdale in 1961 and Don and Jon McGlocklin in 1973 as the third brother set to share the award.
Rising Sun’s Brian Gentrup (rooting for Frankton) didn’t leave disappointed as Coach Bryan Hughes led Barr Reeve to the Class A championship with a 65-50 win over Michigan City Marquette.
Hughes was the junior high coach of Gentrup’s cousin Kirk Gentrup, who was later killed by a lightning strike while playing baseball in 1995.
Barr Reeve wins 1A
Barr Reeve avenged a loss in the 2014 Class 1A final. They led at each stop: 16-9, 34-20 and 41-29 before closing out a 76-50 win over Michigan City Marquette.
They held Ryan Fazekas to 18 points after a 34 point effort in last year’s 76-70 overtime win over Barr Reeve.
It was Hughes’ fifth try at the state championship.
The Barr Reeve girls won the title last year and were runner-up two weeks ago.
Ethan Duncheon won the Trester. His brother Christian won the award in 2010.
Both teams will move up to 2A next year. Schools earn points for each post season tournament title with one point for sectional, two for regional, three for semi-state and four for state championship. Any school with six points total from last year and this year means it’s time to advance.
Greensburg boys won the 3A state title in 2013 and 2014 but 2013 was the second year of the two year alignment. If they had won the regional this year, then they would have moved up to 4A.
- Tim Hillman