HAMMOND | The basketball hung on the rim for what seemed like an hour ... or a lifetime in the case of Bishop Noll coach Drew Trost.
If it falls to the left, his Warriors are Class 2A state champs as Conseco Fieldhouse erupts. If it falls to the right, Indianapolis Park Tudor survives with a nail-biting 43-42 win.
This was one time when "right" was wrong.
"I just got to the point where I could sleep again," Trost said on Tuesday, looking back at the riveting, painful loss March 26.
Ronnye Beamon's shot in the final seconds went off the backboard, bounced around and then almost stopped on the side of the rim ... before falling out.
Still, Trost, The Times 2010-11 Coach of the Year, had a remarkable, historic season. His Warriors finished the regular season undefeated for the first time since the 1955-56 season.
Class 2A No. 2 Noll advanced to the school's first state championship game in boys basketball ever.
"Obviously, the only thing going through my mind was, 'Get in there!'" Trost said. "It's haunted me. I've replayed in my mind all the things we could've done differently.
"But the bottom line is Ronnye got a great shot. For some reason it did not roll in."
Matt Painter could be the reason for the above story. Had the Purdue coach not let Trost come and take notes at some of the Boilermakers' workouts, it's possible that the Warriors wouldn't have gotten to Indianapolis.
And the shot never would've happened.
"I went to a couple of Purdue practices and coach Painter had them really get after each other during practice. They really went after it hard," Trost said. "So I brought that to our practices, and it really rubbed off on all our guys.
"The biggest difference between this year and last year is this guys realized they can do this together as a unit. Last year we had people doing too much on their own."
The other big difference was the arrival of Adonis Filer from Mount Carmel over the summer. His city-style of play, and the motor in his chest, fit perfectly into the Purdue mindset that Noll embraced.
There was no slacking during practice. Filer wouldn't allow it.
"Coach did a great job this year," Filer said. "He brought us together; he led us, and he had a great plan before every game. I don't think we could've got there without him."
It wasn't like Noll was bad in 2009-10. The Warriors were 17-5, and three of their losses were to eventual state champion Wheeler. But there was a changing of the guard this time around.
Trost's ability to make the experience more like a family made team chemistry a non-issue. There was no "i" on this team.
The Warriors ate one dinner a week together where Trost taught spiritual lessons from the Bible that had nothing to do with basketball. Yet the end result did carry over to the hardwood.
When Beamon's father passed away at the end of the regular season, Trost was one of the first ones at the family's home.
"I think coach was a lot more patient this year," Beamon said. "He learned from past experiences. He talked to us. He listened to what we were more comfortable with. Then, he mixed the two.
"Our practices were a lot different. We got a lot more done. They were more focused. The drills we did were very useful."
Trost has gotten several "thank yous" from Noll alums from past generations. The ride this team took the school, community and city on was special -- No matter which side of the rim the ball dropped.
"Last year, even though we went 17-5, it didn't always feel like the team was enjoying their experience," Trost said. "This year, I worked hard at keeping a positive attitude and doing little things to boost morale while still driving the team towards improvement and success.
"This was a great ride and even though it didn't quite end like we wanted, I know we all will look back at this year and remember what a great time we had together as a team."