Reverse the curse: Andrean became the first Lake County team since Roosevelt in 2003 to win a Class 3A regional in Plymouth.
The 59ers' 70-60 overtime victory Saturday was their first regional title since 2000 and only their fourth since the start of class basketball.
“I didn’t even know that (Plymouth) had that good of a homestand here,” senior Nick Davidson said. “...That’s pretty good. What can I say, this team keeps working and keeps working.”
The last time Andrean played Plymouth for the regional title in 2006, Luke Harangody lost his final game in a Niners uniform.
No time for the pain: Bowman Academy's Antonio Pipkin left in the third quarter of Saturday's Class 2A regional championship after apparently getting his finger jammed, only to return within the next couple minutes, the injured finger taped to another.
"He likes to show the dramatics," Eagles coach Marvin Rea said. "I told him, 'Tony, Tony, I don't have all day.'"
Pipkin was no worse for fear, scoring nine of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, when Bowman put Fort Wayne Luers away with its dominant inside play.
"He's a football player. He's a tough kid," Rea said. "I knew he'd be back. He's a senior. He's been here before."
Not your average bear: Luers junior James Blackmon scored 26 points against Bowman, but nearly half of them (12) came in the first quarter, before the Eagles dialed back their pace offensively.
"We couldn't rush shots," Rea said. "We couldn't trade buckets with the Blackmon kid. The kid's an All-American, a (2014) Mr. Basketball candidate. He's going to ring it up. All that's doing is waking up the bear. We had to slow it down, lure the bear back to sleep."
That meant more patience on offense.
"Before we went out, coach said, 'No jump shots. Take it right to the rack,'" Justin King said.
Family love: Merrillville senior Jelani Pruitt spoke with his cousin, Kenya Stines, on Saturday afternoon, after the Pirates beat Munster in the Class 4A Michigan City Regional semifinal.
Stines is an assistant coach at Bowman Academy.
“He told me about his game and I told him about ours,” Pruitt said. “He told me to go out and play hard.”
That Pruitt did. He scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Pirates' win against South Bend Adams.
Pruitt was hoping his Pirates would be placed in the same semistate site as Bowman, but on Sunday afternoon that did not happen. Merrillville is going to Lafayette Jeff and Bowman is going to Huntington North.
Deja boo: Munster coach Mike Hackett relived the same scenaro in the Mustangs' 55-52 loss to Merrillville in the semifinal. B.J. Jenkins nailed a 25-foot 3-pointer from the top of the key in the final seconds for the win.
Two years ago in the 4A semistate, Kokomo's D.J. Balentine drained a 3-pointer from the same spot to give his team a 47-44 win. Jenkins' trey gave his coach, T.J. Lux, the win.
Hacket is tired of his team losing close games to these “Something Js.”
“We haven't had much luck in situations like that the last few years,” Hackett said, "but I knew we were going to get a good shot. I thought we would make it.”
Balentine's shot fell with 2.7 left on the clock. Jenkins' was at 3.0.
Against Kokomo, Joe Crisman took a half-court shot that drew iron before falling out. On Saturday it was Michael Schlotman's three-quarter court shot that hit backboard and iron before missing as the buzzer sounded.
“One of these times the breaks are going to go our way,” Hackett said.
Deja vu: On March 11, 1995, Lux was a senior on Merrillville when his Pirates beat Andrean to win the regional. On Saturday he was the coach cutting down the net. He seemed happier watching his players do the same.
“Basketball has been very good to me,” Lux said, holding a piece of the net. “It has done a lot of great things for me. I took this job to help our kids realize the same things. I am so happy they got to experience what I did as a player.”
Bloody knees: Merrillville senior Jake Raspopovich's knees looked awful after the Adams game. He had scrapes, cuts and blood all over them.
That's what happens when you spend much of the game on the floor, going after lose balls.
Raspopovich was Merrillville's quarterback when he led the Pirates to the 5A semistate, losing to Fort Wayne Snider 42-39. Now he gets another shot when the Bucs play Carmel in Saturday's semistate.
His older brother Josh lost to Carmel in the 2005 football semistate. The middle brother, Zach, lost to Carmel in the 2009 football semistate.
“I couldn't ask for anything more in my senior year, another shot,” Jake said after beating Adams. “We had a great year in football and came up short at semistate. I do not plan on losing this one. We all want to get to state.”