INDIANAPOLIS | For the second year in a row, Park Tudor's fate in the Class 2A state championship game came down to the final possession.
Last season, Yogi Ferrell couldn't connect on a pair of game-tying 3-pointers and the Panthers fell to Wheeler, 41-38. Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse, a Ronnye Beamon shot rimmed out and no one could come up with the ball in the frantic final seconds and Park Tudor escaped Bishop Noll, 43-42.
"Our theme coming into the game was 'unfinished business,'" Park Tudor coach Ed Schilling said. "It was a gutty performance, being able to claw back in it."
Freshman Trevon Bluiett and the IU-bound junior Ferrell combined for 35 points to sustain the Panthers, who made just 2-of-16 3s. Bluiett snagged eight rebounds and Ferrell handed out six assists, most of them to Bluiett.
"My shots weren't really falling, so I was trying to drive and get it to the guys on the block," Ferrell said. "I told both of the freshmen, stick with the team the whole game and we'll come out with the win. We've worked hard all year. We've been prepared so well. I felt we deserved to win the game."
Bluiett scored 16 of Park Tudor's 22 second-half points, going 8 of 13 from the field.
"Yogi and I have been playing with each other since about fourth grade," Bluiett said. "We had chemistry coming into this year. We've been working the two-man game all year, so it was nothing new. Actually, I don't know when he's going to pass. I just set the pick and roll to the basket. I was kind of nervous, but you can never show it to your opponent. It's what I've been doing my entire basketball career."
Bluiett has already been offered by IU, and Hoosiers coach Tom Crean was on hand to watch him and Ferrell.
"What set (Bluiett) up to play so well is the example the juniors set in practice all year," Schilling said. "I've never had a team that was more consistent on improvement and focus than this team. They have such a maturity level. It pulled him to a higher level and got him ready for this stage."
Park Tudor's 2-3 zone was largely effective as Noll didn't make any of its seven 3-point attempts. After falling behind by as many as nine, the Panthers extended their defense to a halfcourt trap and were able to force Noll into some uncharacteristic turnovers.
"We had to change the tempo of the game," Schilling said. "It was a little risky, but I felt we needed to do it. We were able to corral (Adonis Filer) a little bit. We tried to keep the ball out of the middle and our guards did a good job of funneling the ball toward Brendan (Tannenbaum) and Troy (Spears)."
With Ferrell and Bluiett coming back, Park Tudor could well make it three straight trips to Conseco.
"We were fortunate to finish our unfinished business," Schilling said. "Now we've got some new business."