INDIANAPOLIS | Joey Hart had a long chat with Clint Swan on Sunday. The two old friends who played basketball together at Dugger High School spoke about this week's final chapter of Hoosier Hysteria.
Swan, the current Crown Point coach, talked to Hart about preparing for the busy week ahead. Things like handling the pressures, practicing and preparing to get to Indianapolis for Saturday's state championship games.
Swan also gave Hart, the coach at Linton-Stockton, a few tips on playing Bowman Academy. The teams will battle in the Class 2A state championship at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"Yeah, (Swan) gave me some Bowman tips," Hart said Monday at the IHSAA state basketball press conference inside Bankers Life, "and prayer was included."
There was a distinct difference on Monday as state media spoke with the eight coaches competing in the four classes. Hart is taking his Miners to their first state championship game in school history.
Bowman coach Marvin Rea is in his third state championship game in the last four Marches.
"In this postseason there wasn't one game that I didn't think we'd win," Hart said, "but I didn't think we'd get here. I was even nervous at the (IHSAA) meeting."
The Miners captured their first sectional title since 1982, first regional since 1946 and first semistate ever, beating Speedway 76-75 in overtime. Seniors Dess Fougerousse scored 33 and Austin Karazsia added 28 in the win against the Sparkplugs.
"Everything goes through them," Hart said of the 6-foo-5 Fougerousse (20.9 ppg.) and the 6-foot-8 Karazsia (20.4 ppg.).
By speaking with Swan and watching some of last year's 2A final that Bowman played in, Hart understands what his team must do against the hard-charging Eagles.
"We know they're going to attack us, and we're hoping to counter-punch," Hart said. "They'll be close on the ball and in the passing lanes. We have to be precise and a little quicker."
Hart said he might have his team practice against eight players to try and replicate Bowman's speed.
Bowman coach Marvin Rea said getting to Monday's meeting is still exciting, even though this is his third in four years and second in a row. In 2010 Bowman beat Barr-Reeve 74-52 to win the Class A state championship.
Last year the Eagles were pounded 79-57 by Indianapolis Park Tudor.
"I'm more excited this year than last year, but this never gets old," Rea said. "We have new guys and new challenges so I'm real happy these guys are getting to experience this. It never gets old."
Rea spoke to the media about his team's "organized chaos" and how he's spent the first quarter of every playoff game trying to find the right five with the best chemistry. So far it's worked.
He also bragged about his four players in double-figure scoring: Davon Dillard (16), Arthur Haggard (13.7), Justin King (13.6) and Antonio Pipkin (12).
"Everyone thought when we lost three Division I players last year that we'd be terrible," Rea said. "These guys are playing with a little chip on their shoulder."