INDIANAPOLIS | On Bishop Noll's first possession of Saturday's Class 2A state championship game against Indianapolis Park Tudor, the Warriors threw the ball into the middle and 6-foot-8 sophomore Milos Kostic.
He made a nice move and scored the bucket. And in the Panthers' 43-42 win, Kostic would not score another point. The Serbian-born player who has a Division I offer from Northwestern on the table missed his next three shots and finished the game with two points.
Noll coach Drew Trost said Kostic missed some key shots around the basket that he had made for much of the year.
"They were swatting and fouling all game and I never got a call," Kostic said. "They were grabbing our arms a lot and we didn't get any calls. It was tough."
When asked what he needs to do looking ahead to the future Kostic said one thing.
"I need to get tougher," he said.
THE MASK: With 2:24 left in the third quarter Noll freshman Larry Crisler made a strong move and scored a basket to give the Warriors' a 34-31 lead. At the next break in action, Crisler walked off the floor with blood coming out of his nose.
The 6-2 forward did not return to the game. Though he wore a mask on the bench trying to see if he could make a go of it.
"He broke his nose earlier in the week," Trost said. "We wanted to be careful. He wore (the mask) at practice and he kept dropping the ball so we were afraid it wasn't going to work."
SKY ANGEL: In the first quarter, when Noll took its lead out to 14-7, 6-3 junior Jose Rosario had two blocks. One on Indiana-bound Yogi Ferrell. After that Noll's Sixth Man started chanting "You got swatted."
Noll finished the game with five blocks.
"They were as athletic and bouncy as any team we've played," Park Tudor coach Ed Schilling said.
NO TRESTER AWARD: In the 101st IHSAA state tournament something strange happened at the conclusion of the Noll-Park Tudor game. For only the second time in state history no Trester Award was given out for mental attitude. Park Tudor, with only two seniors, did not nominate anyone for the honor. Noll, with three seniors, did but no one was chosen.
"No one from the committee felt anyone was worthy," IHSAA spokesman Jason Wille said.
CLOSE TO HISTORY: Had Beamon's shot fallen and Noll won the game the Warriors would've ended up in elite company in region hoops history. A win in the 2A state final would've completed Noll's record at 27-0.
Only five area basketball teams have won a state championship with an undefeated record. In 1970 E.C. Roosevelt won the boys title at 28-0. The next year E.C. Washington went 29-0 in winning state. On the girls basketball side, E.C. Roosevelt went undefeated and won state in 1977 (24-0) and 1979 (23-0). Crown Point was the last undefeated state champ, going 26-0 in 1984.
REGION OFFICIALS: John Goss of Merrillville worked the Class A game between Indianapolis Metropolitan and Triton, which was won by the charter school from Indy, 59-55. In the Noll game DeMotte's Doug Greenlee and Valparaiso's Jeff Nix worked the Class 2A game.
TUBE TIME: Former Andrean star Dan Dakich did the TV job for the Class 3A and 4A games. The Indiana University grad and former Hoosiers coach worked the games with Bob Baker.