If defending 4A state champion Carmel hopes to repeat, coach Scott Heady must do it with the program's calling card — a vise-like defense.
His Greyhounds enter today's Lafayette Jeff Semistate matchup with Merrillville allowing 46.5 points per game, down from 47.7 last season.
Carmel won't run you out of the gym, scoring at a 59 ppg. clip each of the past two seasons.
Heady's big "name" player is 6-foot-6 junior forward Zach McRoberts, whose brother Josh plays for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats.
The Greyhounds go eight deep with McRoberts (10.5), guard James Crowley (15.1) and guard Michael Volovic (14.4) as their double-figure scorers.
Nothing flashy, but here they are, two wins away from claiming the school's third state championship.
"What I like most is our guys really play together," Heady said. "They understand we're not real athletic and we don't have a lot of size. We have to do it together and they've bought into that at both ends of the court.
"As the year's gone on, we've improved defensively and that was a concern earlier."
Carmel is 23-2, Merrillville 22-3.
The Greyhounds' losses to Fishers and Hamilton Southeastern were by a combined nine points.
"We're not as deep as we were last year. Our starters pretty much play a lot of minutes," Heady said.
Merrillville, with 11 seniors, will be shooting for its first semistate title since 1995.
"They're all seniors so they have experience," Heady said. "Not only are they athletic, they play hard. They've got all the pieces.
"They've got guys who can go to the basket and make plays inside. They've got the (B.J.) Jenkins kid who can shoot the ball on the perimeter as well as (Zoran) Talley."
Jelani Pruitt is another Merrillville threat, as evidenced by the 6-foot-4 forward's 20-point, 12-rebound, four-block performance in the Michigan City Regional rout of South Bend Adams.
Talley is 6-6 and a threat inside or out.
"They all play their roles in the things they need to do to make them better," Heady said. "I'm very impressed. It's going to be a challenge in just the matchups and the athleticism they bring."
"Other than McRoberts, we basically start four guards. And those guards are 6-3, 6-1, 6-foot and 5-9. We bring a 6-4 kid (Grant Goodman) off the bench as our sixth man."
Goodman averages only 2.4 ppg.
Carmel shoots 51 percent from the field and 40 percent beyond the arc.
Heady is no stranger to region hoops. He lived in Griffith from 1968 to 1972 while his father served as the Panthers' varsity coach.
Bob Heady will be inducted into the Indiana Hall of Fame March 20 and his son certainly is off to a great coaching start at 56-19 in this, his third season.