Prep beat

JIM PETERS: Fazekas shines the brightest on the biggest stage

2014-03-29T16:00:00Z 2014-03-29T22:34:18Z JIM PETERS: Fazekas shines the brightest on the biggest stageJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
March 29, 2014 4:00 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | Over the course of the season, Ryan Fazekas willingly shared the spotlight with his Marquette Catholic teammates, bringing a modest 13.4 points per game scoring average into the Class A state championship.

Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the 6-foot-8 Blazers junior showcased his whole game on Indiana prep basketball's biggest stage.

"Ryan had made sacrifices for the team so people don't see how good he is," teammate Braxton Miller said after the 70-66 overtime victory over Barr-Reeve. "He could have gone somewhere else and scored more, but he's here doing what he needs to do for our team. I'm really happy for him to show people how he can really play, how he can score."

Play he did and score he did. The Providence College recruit racked up 34 points, connecting on 13 of 22 shots, including a Class A finals record seven 3-pointers to go with 10 rebounds, three steals, three assists and a pivotal last-minute block.

"We talk all the time about the transition to the big court, the next level," Blazers coach Donoivan Garletts said.

From the looks of it, Fazekas could play in the Big East next season, but he's got another year left at the Scholl Center before he calls the Dunkin' Donuts Center home.

"I came out and I wasn't nervous for the first time this season," said Fazekas, who was 7 of 11 behind the arc. "I've been nervous for every game this season. It worked."

Fazekas had no issues with the moment nor the surroundings. He scored 14 of Marquette's 17 first-quarter points, burying four 3s. He had 19 of the Blazers' 28 points at the half with five treys.

"I was in a shooting zone," he said. "The team put me in perfect position to go out and hit the shots I needed to. They drove and kicked it out. They found me open."

Much to the chagrin of Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes, who saw Fazekas' 26 percent 3-point shooting rate (26 of 99) and chose to take his chances with him on the perimeter.

"We wanted to make sure we stayed in front of him," Hughes said. "He's a better player in person than he was on film."

Garletts chalked up Fazekas' low percentage to the volume of 3s he takes.

"I don't care if he misses 10 in a row; I want him to shoot 11," Garletts said. "We're kind of that way with all of our guys."

In the end, all that mattered to Fazekas was the net draped around his neck and the wooden trophy back in the locker room.

"It feels great," he said. "My freshman and sophomore year, I was part of a team that lost by one in the sectional. We came in this year focused and determined to go all the way and we did. I don't know how to explain it. It's just an amazing feeling."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at james.peters@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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