INDIANAPOLIS | In a game where he scored 34 points and hit a Class A state finals record seven 3-pointers, it was a defensive play that may have been the biggest moment for Marquette Catholic's Ryan Fazekas on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
With the Blazers nursing a 2-point lead in the waning seconds of overtime against Barr-Reeve, the 6-foot-8 junior blocked Addison Wagler's shot in the lane, retrieved the ball and tossed a pass to a sprinting Braxton Miller for a decisive layup that secured the championship.
"I just knew I had to get a hand on the ball," Fazekas said after the 70-66 victory.
Fazekas' magical performance, which also included 10 rebounds, three steals and three assists, nearly went for naught. Marquette had to rally from 10 down in the fourth quarter after a 20-3 third-run by Barr-Reeve flipped control of the game.
"I think we took them for granted and got a little comfortable with the 10-point lead," Fazekas said. "We got a little frustrated. We just had to calm down and put some intense defense on them. That's what made us win the game."
Marquette (20-6) pressed and trapped much of the game to try to dictate tempo. It turned defense into offense with several steals and baskets during the fourth-quarter comeback. The Blazers tied the game at 57 on a JoVonte Peals' steal and layup after a Malcolm Reed 3.
"To be completely honest, I have absolutely no idea how we made up a 10-point deficit against a team like Barr-Reeve," coach Donovan Garletts said. "They're very good with the basketball. It shows a lot of resilience by our boys. We got a couple turnovers, some fast-break points. That's what we do. Once we cut into the lead, we were in position."
Reed put Marquette in front in OT, hitting a turnaround. Fazekas pushed the lead to four with a long 2 that prompted Garletts to put his head down on the padding of the scorer's table in disbelief.
"We were supposed to be controlling the basketball," Garletts said. "Sometimes, they tell me to just get out of the way."
Barr-Reeve (26-2) got 25 points from Wagler and another 23 from Micah Bullock, who connected on five treys of his own. The Vikings have reached the state finals four times since 2002, only to lose each game.
"This is an incredible opportunity not only for our players but the city of Michigan City," Garletts said. "It's a community that's really united. I'm so proud to take this home to the people who live there who haven't had this feeling since 1966. It's a great feeling, and certainly all the credit goes to the boys."