Boys basketball | IHSAA Semistate

Saturday's semistate will not be first time Bishop Noll and Tipton have played

2011-03-16T22:00:00Z 2013-05-06T22:47:12Z Saturday's semistate will not be first time Bishop Noll and Tipton have playedBy Steve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com

The 1990-91 Bishop Noll team was not a bunch of Globetrotters. Not even close.

For away games the Warriors would meet at the school in north Hammond, go through their walk-through and then head for the parking lot.

"We didn't have a bus," then senior guard Russ Marcinek said. "We car-pooled to all of our road games."

"We played almost all of our games in Lake County," classmate Chris Adzia said. "The furthest we went away was Portage. That was a long trip for us back then."

On Saturday when the 2010-11 undefeated version of Bishop Noll, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A, takes on No. 3 Tipton (24-2) in the Huntington North Semistate, it will not be the first time the two programs have met.

On Dec. 29, 1990, Noll traveled to Tipton to play a game. And what those Warriors learned about the Blue Devils and their community will help the current Noll family.

"It was a throwback to Hoosier Hysteria," said Jack Gabor, who coached Noll that season. "It was very reminiscent of 'Hoosiers.' They shut the lights when they announced their players. We didn't know where we were going.

"We wanted to broaden our horizons. We wanted to get out of the region and see new things. We wanted our kids to learn how the game is called in other parts of the state."

Tipton is a town of over 5,000 people and is best known for hosting the Tipton County Pork Festival on Labor Day weekend. And, of course, it's known for high school basketball.

The season before Noll traveled there, Matt Waddell led the state in scoring at Tipton before going on to star at Purdue. His nephew, Connor Rich, will play in Saturday's game.

"The thing that sticks out in my mind, coming from the region, is you hear about Central and Southern Indiana teams and how the whole town shuts down and everyone comes out for the games," Marcinek remembered. "They have a real neat gym. And when we drove into towns we saw signs all over that said, 'Good Luck Blue Devils.'

"It's what you always thought about those kind of towns. They are basketball crazy and they still are today."

As the Noll bus drove home that night the signs might've been switched to "Marcinek is Great." He scored 26 points to lead Noll to an 87-80 win.

Tipton's star, Mike Myers, scored a career-high 32 points against the Warriors.

"He was like Michael Myers against us," Adzia joked of the Halloween villain.

After the game, a local nightspot made spaghetti for the Warriors before their long drive home. Both former players remembered people working in the establishment coming up and telling them "Good game."

After that season, Gabor left Noll to go to, off all places, Huntington North. He said that both teams will love shooting in the gym he coached in for seven seasons.

And he expects the Tipton fans to be like they were 20 years ago.

"Tipton has a great following, basketball really means something to those people," Gabor said. "If you drive through their town this week every store will have banners. They have a great name in Indiana basketball history. When we picked them up for that game I knew they had great tradition.

"The kids on the team have fathers and grandfathers who played there. Like an heirloom that was handed down."

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