INDIANAPOLIS | It's been 30 years and a lifetime for Lake Central's boys basketball and coach Dave Milausnic. On Monday inside of Bankers Life Fieldhouse the mystical dream began to take shape.
Milausnic was at the IHSAA's boys basketball state championship press conference as his Indians (22-3) take on No. 2 Indianapolis Tech (26-2) for the Class 4A state crown.
"This has been a blast," Milausnic said of the meeting with state media. "But it will be more fun to see the floor."
On Jan. 3 L.C. traveled to Indianapolis to play Tech, losing 80-61. It was tied with a minute to go in the third quarter, but the Titans took off after that, outscoring the Indians 34-19 to pull away.
"We learned what we can do against them and we also learned what we can't do," Milausnic said.
Tech All-American Trey Lyles will play at Kentucky after this Saturday's game. He was in foul trouble the first L.C. game. Both Lyles and Indians' big man, Tyler Wideman, practiced against each other last summer as Indiana Junior All-Stars. They are friends.
In the first game Wideman and Tye Wilburn each scored 16. Lyles scored 20.
L.C. hasn't been to Indy for a state final since 1984. Tech was the state runners-up in 1929, 1934, 1952 and 1966, with seven state appearances. But before this season, the Titans had not won a sectional since 1978.
So when they played Bloomington North in the semistate on Saturday, big alums were there cheering on the team. Comedian Mike Epps and former Indiana University star Landon Turner were there.
They all went through the same emotions that current coach Jason Delaney did, when a 28-point lead with three minutes left turned into a near nightmare as North got within three and had the ball before Tech held on.
"They're going to hear about it (Monday) and then we'll move on," Delaney said.
Lyles is not the only standout on the team. Rashaun Richardson and Jeremie Tyler are both Ball State recruits. Lyles is averaging 24 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. Richardson has 5.4 points per game and Tyler is scoring 16.1 points per game.
Even though his team ran away from Lake Central, Delaney was scouting Carmel and Indianapolis Pike with his staff and they were wondering who might come out of the north.
"I really thought Lake Central had the pieces to get here and we said that in January," Delaney said.
Tech point guard C.J. Walker (8.4 ppg., 3.1 apg.) did not play against L.C. the first time.
"You can't simulate a 6-10 All-American," Milausnic said of Lyles. "We don't want a fast-shot up and down game. We want to work the ball to get a good shot. We have to play good defense and rebound the ball.
"We'll watch some tape and work on getting better."
Pep Rally on Wednesday: Milausnic wanted to get the word out about a community pep rally for the Indians at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Lake Central's gymnasium. Members of the 1984 L.C. basketball team are invited to attend.