INDIANAPOLIS | Give the 2012 Bowman Eagles some credit for something. They put the blame for their blowout loss to Indianapolis Park Tudor in the Class 2A state championship game squarely on their own shoulders.
After leading nearly every team in their run to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, the Eagles couldn't find the Panthers' top shooting player early. And the daggers thrown by Paul Bayt early took a game that most expected to be close into another realm.
Park Tudor won its second straight state title with a 79-57 win.
"(Bayt) hit a 3 and one of the guys said, 'My fault,'" Bowman coach Marvin Rea said. "So we're down 3-0. Then he hits another one. A guy says, 'My fault.' Boom, we're down 6-0. He hits another one and I hear, 'My fault' again. It's nine.
"Then they hit another one and it's 12. And we're saying 'My fault' instead of doing something about it."
The top-ranked Panthers (25-2) hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter and jumped out to a 19-12 lead. A 17-0 run from the first quarter into the second made a bad situation completely desperate.
That lead would expand to 29 in the third quarter. And Bowman, which had been a lead horse for much of the postseason, was chasing.
And when you're chasing players like Indiana-bound Yogi Ferrell (17 points, 12 assists) and Trevon Bluiett (25 points, 8 rebounds) and Bayt, who finished with 18 points and six 3-pointers, the Eagles could not get within reach.
"This was definitely our best game of the tournament," Ferrell said.
Rea talked about the stat sheet telling the entire story. The Eagles (17-9) were 1-of-17 from beyond the 3-point arc. Bowman, like much of this season, was terrible from the foul line, going 10-of-20.
But that wasn't the stat that bothered Rea the most. With 6-foot-5 DeJuan Marrero, 6-foot-10 Steve Hawkins and 6-foot-6 Elijah Ray on the front line, the fact that the Panthers outrebounded the Eagles 29-28 said it all.
"We didn't come to play," Rea said.
He said his guards were "amazed" by the level of play by Ferrell. They were dominated by the 5-foot-11 standout. Bowman's press, which had forced turnovers and dropped fatigue on the faces of all comers this March, was fully nullified by Ferrell's game.
"It all started with our start," said Park Tudor coach Ed Schilling. "With Yogi breaking the press and finding (Paul) open on the wing. Knocking down those shots to start really got us going."
Bowman had four players in double-digit scoring. Ray had 14, Michael Ford 13, Justin King and Marrero each added 12.
Park Tudor shot a higher percentage from beyond the arc (10-22, 45.5 percent) than the Eagles shot from the field (23-of-52, 44.2).
"We was down before, we usually come back," Marrero said. "They was on. They was knocking down shots. They wasn't very athletic. They were very disciplined."
Marrero ended his remarkable career at Bowman and will now get ready to head to DePaul. While frustrated with the way his high school career ended -- barring an invitation to the Indiana All-Star team -- the kid nicknamed "Rico" hopes region fans remember one thing about his game.
"I hope people know that I'm very hardworking and I take pride in everything I do," Marrero continued. "I may not be the most skilled player in Indiana, but I believe I am the hardest working. Period."