INDIANAPOLIS | After scoring just 12 points in the first half of Saturday’s Class 4A state championship game against Indianapolis Tech, Lake Central looked like it was dead in the water.
Resuscitation was needed badly, especially after LC’s big man, Tyler Wideman had to go to the locker room late in the first half with a severe cut across the bridge of his nose.
Then the Indians came alive when Wideman returned with a different jersey (his bloody No. 45 was changed to No. 33) and Tye Wilburn was the most active player on the court in the second half.
LC cut Tech’s 23-point lead down to three in the final seconds. But despite valiant efforts by Lake Central’s 1-2 punch, Indianapolis Tech held off the Indians for a 63-59 victory.
It’s the first state title for Tech (27-2) after losing its previous four appearances in the final game.
Wideman had the first four points of the game for Lake Central (22-4), but didn’t score again in the first half and added injury to insult by getting rapped across the face with 2:30 left in the first half. LC’s staff tried to stop the bleeding, but he had to go back to the locker room early.
When the Butler-bound center returned in the second half with a large headband covering bandages, he was a force in the paint to get the Indians back into a game that looked like it was over. He had 15 in the second half to finish with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
“That’s what we’ve been doing all year — fighting and scrapping,” Wideman said. “I wish we could take back that half.”
His partner, Wilburn, only had six points through three quarters. But in the fourth, he scored 14 to lead the Indians with 20 points. His active defense also led to nine Tech turnovers in the final eight minutes.
Wilburn’s 3-pointer with 10.9 seconds left in the game after a mad scramble for an offensive rebound cut the Titans lead to 62-59. Tech didn’t help itself by missing 5 of 7 free throws in the final minute.
But 6-foot-10 University of Kentucky-bound center Trey Lyles hit the eighth free throw to seal the victory.
“At that point (in the fourth quarter) we were playing for pride because we were down a lot,” Wideman said. “Pride can take you far.”
Lyles, who was named Mental Attitude Award winner, finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.