INDIANAPOLIS | Reynaldo Bluiett had a large contingent from Gary drive down for Saturday's Class 2A state championship game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The problem was some of them were not sure what color to wear.
Either the maroon or Bowman Academy or the red of Park Tudor.
Bluiett is a 1989 graduate of Lew Wallace, where he played football for coach Dave Templin.
On Saturday Mr. Bluiett was cheering on his son, 6-foot-5 sophomore Trevon Bluiett, who starred for the Panthers in their 79-57 win over the Eagles.
"We love Gary," Reynaldo Bluiett said before the game. "But not today. Last year we played Bishop Noll here and that was weird. Playing Bowman is off the charts."
Trevon Bluiett scored a game-high 25 points with eight rebounds and two blocks. He has been offered scholarships by Indiana, Purdue, Virginia, Xavier and IUPUI, with Notre Dame sniffing on his heals, too.
The younger Bluiett has played summer ball with Bowman's DeJuan Marrero and Antonio Pipkins. The elder Bluiett said his son and Pipkins actually sent text messages to each other early on Saturday.
"Last year I felt more pressure," Bluiett said of his 21 points and game-winning shot against Noll in the Panthers' 43-42 win last March. "This year I felt a lot more relaxed."
Park Tudor coach Ed Schilling is more and more impressed by Bluiett.
"(Trevon) continues to get better and better and better," Schilling said. "He has a complete game for sure."
Bowman coach Marvin Rea said he wasn't relaxed thinking about stopping the standout 10th grader with Gary roots. While Park Tudor senior guard Yogi Ferrell was phenomenal with 17 points and 12 rebounds, Rea knew what kind of game Bluiett had.
"He killed us," Rea said. "I talked to the guys about him getting garbage baskets. But our guys showed no desire. We have to play with pride and we didn't."
Another Gary expatriate played Saturday night in the Class 4A game. Former Bowman player, 6-foot-5 junior Jamie Rutherford, was a big part of Indianapolis Pike's run to the state final.
He went into the final averaging 7.2 points and 5.6 rebounds and his coach, Bill Zych, said that he was one of the Red Devils' most-improved players.
"We could've used him," Rea said. "But his mother got transferred in her job back down here and they moved."