This Saturday will be bittersweet for Tipton coach Brad Dickey.
Yes, he is very happy that his Blue Devils (24-2) will be playing in the Class 2A Huntington North Semistate.
But he will be saddened that his son, 1,000-point scorer Greg Dickey, won't be playing. He tore his ACL in the sectional championship game.
Still, the third-ranked Blue Devils survived their regional and are looking for their first trip to state in four semistate tries. They will play No. 2 Bishop Noll (25-0) at noon on Saturday.
"We have a bunch of conscientious kids, who work hard on fundamentals and care about their teammates," coach Dickey said. "Even with our top guy down, they were still supporting one another and trying to succeed."
Dickey has coached these kids since they were in fifth grade. Faith and belief is what got them past Bluffton (47-43) and Carroll (52-33) on Saturday.
In five playoff games Tipton is allowing 37 points per game. Noll is averaging 67.3 points this year.
"We're real happy to still be playing," Dickey said. "And our defense is why we are."
In Saturday's championship Connor Rich hit three 3s and scored 17 points. Tipton was 26 of 27 from the free throw line in the final.
Noll is trying to get to Indianapolis for the second time in school history for the state finals round. The Warriors made it to the single-class Final Four in 1988.
"They still have two very good players," Noll coach Drew Trost said. "(Rich) is a very good shooter and their 6-4 sophomore, Mike Crawford, people are saying is in the running for Mr. Basketball in a couple of years.
"They are real aggressive, up in your face with a man-to-man defense. Kind of like Bowman did. They deny passing lanes and try to get you to turn the ball over."
In last year's 2A semistate Wheeler got a break when Southwood's top player, Parker Stouffer, did not dress for an undisclosed reason.
Could this injury be another help to a 2A region school?
Dickey spoke more like Lou Holtz when talking about the Warriors than a coach expecting to climb up a ladder with scissors in his hands on Saturday afternoon.
"We're mostly just happy to be playing in this game," Dickey said. "If we can just stay on the floor with Noll that will be an accomplishment. They are powerful and quick. We're not sure exactly what we need to do to play in this game."