Brad Dickey has spent so much time thinking about Lake County in recent Marches he could probably vote in the next Democratic primary. Not once. Or twice. But three times.
The boys basketball at Tipton will be taking on a Lake County team for the third year in a row in the Class 2A Northern Semistate.
Two years ago Dickey's Blue Devils lost 53-50 against Bishop Noll at the Huntington North Semistate. Last year Tipton fell 69-64 to Bowman Academy at Lafayette Jeff.
On Saturday Tipton (25-2) will get a rematch against Bowman (16-9), this time back at Huntington.
"It's been different," Dickey said of this season. "We've had a lot of close games. We don't have the depth we had last year. We've got two seniors and we tend to hang on."
Tipton had six seniors in the Class of 2012, including four players with considerable playing time. Mike Crawford is what every Blue Devils play evolves around. The 6-foot-5 senior, who will play at Saint Louis next year, exceeded 2,000 career points this year.
He scored 40 against Bowman last year.
"Mike has always been a scorer," Dickey said. "He worked real hard in the weight room and has gotten a lot stronger."
Tipton has played nine games that were decided by five points or less. The first four in the tournament were 10-point wins or more, but the Blue Devils won their regional championship 60-58 on Saturday night.
Crawford averaged 26.5 in the two regional games and also has a 27.2 scoring average for the season.
Blake Hoover is a senior point guard and a very good athlete. The Tipton quarterback was recently named a member of the North All-Star team in football.
Dickey expects a similar game to last year's, even though both teams' rosters have changed dramatically.
"Bowman is aggressive and deep with a lot of talent," Dickey said. "Our Tipton guys work together and play hard. It is two contrasting styles of play. I think it's going to be another interesting matchup."