INDIANAPOLIS | Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell took the 3-point shot as the fans inside Conseco Fieldhouse screamed last March. It missed. Austin Kyker rebounded the ball and dished it out to Ferrell. Again, he shot. Again, he missed as the buzzer sounded.
Wheeler survived Ferrell's Indianapolis Park Tudor team 41-38 in last year's Class 2A state championship game.
Then, after some feelings of sadness, it was back to work.
"We did not really use last year's loss as motivation," Park Tudor coach Ed Schilling said on Monday morning at the IHSAA's boys basketball state championship press conference at Conseco Fieldhouse. "We just try to get better every day. That is our main goal."
On Saturday No. 4 Park Tudor (25-2) will take on No. 2 Bishop Noll (26-0) in the state final, which is scheduled to tip off at 11:45 region time. The Panthers and Washington in Class 3A are the only programs to return to Indy from last year's final.
Last Saturday, Ferrell scored 25 points and had seven assists as Park Tudor beat top-ranked Forest Park 57-45.
"We had a lot of respect for Wheeler," Schilling said. "They had the largest winning margin in the state. But to be that close, we got a taste of it. Getting back and getting over the hump is the biggest thing for us now."
Ferrell, who has verbally committed to play at Indiana University, is a 5-foot-11 junior guard with unbelievable quickness. He is averaging 18.7 points, 6.6 assists and three rebounds.
The rest of the Panthers' starting lineup looks like this: Paul Bayt is a 6-4 junior, who transferred from Cathedral this year, and is averaging 7.7 points a game. Kyker, a 6-0 junior, returns with a 1.8 points per game average. J.B. Rapp is a 6-3 junior with an 8.3 scoring average. Brendan Tannenbaum, a 6-5 junior, scores 4.4 a game.
And 6-5 freshman Trevon Bluiett is scoring 13.7 points and grabbing 7.6 rebounds a game.
Park Tudor only plays seven in its main rotation.
Schilling, though, is concerned about what Noll brings to the table.
"The speed they have is better than what we've seen in the postseason," Schilling said. "They have terrific talents. They're a unique team."
Schilling said the team his squad played this year that looked the most like the Warriors was Cathedral. Park Tudor beat the Irish 67-55 on Feb. 22.
"I know they are a very good team," Schilling said of the Warriors. "Here's the other thing: nobody's beaten them and that's a concern."