INDIANAPOLIS | For the second straight season, the region's Class 2A state finalist had a hole in the middle on offense.
In last year's 43-42 loss to Park Tudor, Bishop Noll center Milos Kostic scored two points on 1-of-4 shooting. On Saturday, Bowman Academy's 6-foot-10 center Steve Hawkins was worse against the same Panthers, finishing 0-for-3 from the field and 1-of-2 from the foul line.
"One point, we needed more than that from Steve," Eagles coach Marvin Rea said. "But chemistry plays a big part in games like this. They've been here three years in a row. This was a lot of our guys' first time here. Maybe that got to Steve."
DeJuan Marrero scored 12 points, eight below his average.
Big props: Rea did have some love for senior Michael Ford, who finished with 13 points and six rebounds. He was the lone Bowman guard who found a way to get inside on the Park Tudor 2-3 zone and get to the basket.
"Mike's a warrior," Rea said. "He played his (backside) off."
Oh, Wise one: Crown Point resident Mark Wise was honored at halftime of the game as the recipient of the 2012 Interscholastic Athletic Official Association Award for excellence in boys basketball.
In his 29 years as an official, Wise has done 20 sectionals, 13 regionals, six semi-states and three state finals. The 1978 Crown Point High grad has served three years as a mentor and observer of younger officials in addition to two years as the basketball program chairman, and a local association clinician.
Earning votes: Park Tudor coach Ed Schilling used the postgame press conference to campaign for point guard Yogi Ferrell for Mr. Basketball. Not that Ferrell's 17-point, 12-assist, 9-rebound performance wasn't enough.
"He's put himself in an elite category, getting here three times and winning twice," Schilling said. "He does whatever his team needs to do to win the game. That's indicative of his career. To me, that's Mr. Basketball."
Park Tudor will have another candidate in 2014 in 6-foot-5 man-child Trevon Blueitt, who notched 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting to go with eight boards and two blocks.
"I felt more relaxed," Blueitt said of his second state championship game as just a sophomore.
Stuck in neutral: Park Tudor's 2-3 zone and transition defense kept Bowman from getting its offense into first gear for any length of time.
"We wanted to try to keep the ball in front of us and keep it out of the post," Schilling said. "When their shots go up, that's when the work really begins."
The Eagles came in averaging 74.6 points per game. They fell to 1-4 when scoring in the 50s.
"They had a good zone, not a great one," Rea said. "Our guys just didn't come to play."
Future's so bright, shades: A great Bowman senior class ended their high school careers Saturday. Marrero (DePaul), Hawkins (Robert Morris) and Elijah Ray (IUPUI) all will play at the next level.
Rea hopes his returning youngsters can learn from the painful loss and be ready to make a run in the coming years.
"Maybe the guys will not be amazed the next time they step on the court," Rea said.
Sophomore Justin King led the way for the underclassmen with 12 points.