MERRILLVILLE | This was Microsoft vs. Apple. Walmart taking on Target.
Times No. 1 Munster and No. 4 Andrean squaring off Friday night was the boys basketball game region fans had circled on their calendars months ago.
Tickets for the Northwest Crossroads Conference showdown sold out Wednesday morning with the two rivals coming in a combined 35-2, each boasting a 15-point margin of victory.
At 4:50 p.m., the 59ers' closet-like gym was three-quarters full, as was the school parking lot.
They may still be slowly filing out onto Broadway after Munster withstood a furious Andrean rally to wrap up is fifth consecutive NCC title, 52-50.
Andrean (15-3, 5-1) trailed by 10 with 2:33 left to play, trimmed it to four at 48-44, then pulled within two on Sam Toporski's 3-pointer at 14.9.
Munster's Luke Wuchenich missed two free throws with 12.3 remaining, Andrean had new life, but a 3 at the buzzer by Collin Wojcik fell short.
"The fourth quarter, the clock was our opponent," Munster coach Mike Hackett said. "They were trapping us and when you play like that, you've got to make free throws.
"We just didn't want it to be (Munster native Nick) Davidson who beat us at the end. It had to be anyone else but Davidson."
Drew Hackett led the Mustangs (21-0, 6-0) with 16 points, including 9 of 10 from the line. Nate Bubash added 13 and steady Craig Dedelow chipped in nine points and a team-high nine rebounds.
"Our unsung hero all season," Mike Hackett said.
"I just see myself as a team player," Dedelow said. "I'm not the best shooter in the world, not the tallest player.
"But I crash the boards pretty hard and my defense on big men is good because I can move my feet quickly and get around them."
The Mustangs were 14 of 18 from the line in the final quarter and 21 of 27 for the game.
Davidson's 19 points topped the 59ers, who outrebounded Munster 27-17. Skyler Moss scored 11.
The victory was Munster's ninth straight over Andrean and moved its overall NCC record to 36-0.
"Our kids, to a man, are all about the front of the uniform -- they just want a 'W' for Munster and I'm so fortunate to have kids like that," Hackett said.
"They're good at basketball and they play really hard, like we do," said Andrean coach Carson Cunningham.
"If we had hit that last shot, we'd still be back Saturday to see what we can learn for the tournament."
The last undefeated regular season for Hackett's Mustangs was in 2010-11 when they finished 25-1 overall, losing 47-44 to Kokomo in the semistate.