GARY | Of the 410 schools in this year's boys basketball tournament, 406 will end their season with a loss.
That's the footnote of Hoosier Hysteria. Almost everyone loses before turning in their gear.
Bowman Academy has been with the pack the last two seasons. But there is a major difference with the Eagles. First, Bowman, by admission, has a higher standard.
Secondly, coach Marvin Rea's teams have been embarrassed, by his own admission, to end the last two postseasons.
In 2011, in Bowman's last year in Class A, the Eagles were beaten by Morgan Township 53-49. On their home floor.
“That was embarrassing,” Rea said.
Last year, with three Division I players on the floor, Bowman was pounded by Indianapolis Park Tudor 79-57. Better. But still not something to write home about.
“That was embarrassing, too,” Rea said. “We do not want to be known as a team who can't get it done on the big stage. We do not want to be the program that people say chokes in the big game.
“It is imperative that we win (today).”
Bowman Academy (17-9) takes on Linton-Stockton (24-3) today in the Class 2A state championship game at Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
This is the Eagles' last year in 2A. They want something better than the Cherokee spanking.
“It was tough, a learning experience,” junior Justin King said of the loss two Marches ago. “We can't underestimate anyone. We have to do what we do.
“We don't want to play down with anybody.”
King confirmed that last year was improved. Getting to a state championship game is nothing but good. The bar was raised.
But the way Yogi Ferrell made the Eagles look like they were playing without a GPS, running around like an eighth-grade team scrimmaging an NBA team, today has to be a better showing.
“On any given night any team can beat any other team,” junior Arthur Haggard said. “Last year was awful, especially on a big stage like that. We have to cherish every possession. We have to keep our composure. I think last year we were too excited.
“We have to keep our heads and play our game.”
Linton-Stockton is not like Bowman, playing in its third staight championship game in four years. The Miners are playing in their first state title game. They won their first sectional title since 1982 and their first regional since 1946. But they are dangerous.
Senior Austin Karazsia, a 6-foot-8 standout, is averaging 20.4 points a game. Classmate Dess Fougerousse, a 6-foot-5 scoring maching, is averaging 20.7 points a contest.
These two and a hot roster stand in the way of Bowman's hoop redemption. If it doesn't happen these Eagles could become the Cleveland Browns of Indiana high school basketball.
“It's our 12 against their two,” King said. “If they can outscore our five, I want to see it.”
“We need to go in there and get it done,” Rea said. “We've come too far to go down their and lay an egg again. We can't be comfortable just going down there. We don't want to be under .500 in state championship games.
“We have to play our game and get a win.”