INDIANAPOLIS — Renee Turpa is a basketball lifer in every sense of the term with a coaching background dating back to 1979 before retiring and now serving as the assistant director to Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
Before arriving in Michigan City, Marquette Catholic coach Katie Collignon served on the Valparaiso University staff where she struck up a fast friendship with Turpa.
Turpa, the former Portage coach, picked up Collignon from the airport when she interviewed with the Crusaders. When Collignon needed an assistant at Marquette, she turned to her old friend and VU road-trip roommate for help.
INDIANAPOLIS — And exhale.
"I'm so thankful Katie talked me out of retirement," Turpa said. "I initially took this job to help a friend and it worked out great. Between the girls and her, and the girls accepting that maybe this old lady knows a little bit about basketball, you can't ask for a better story. What an incredible run."
In all her years of coaching, Turpa never reached the big stage of the state finals, often bringing her teams to watch from the stands. She'll now have a ring to show off.
"I have the basis of Indiana basketball in me from being a little kid," she said. "For me, this is so cool. I'm involved so much with basketball in Indiana, and to be able to experience this is a dream come true."
Saving the best for last: As one of two seniors on the roster, Mackenzie Marovich is the only one to know a losing season after being a part of a 9-15 campaign as a freshman.
All Marquette did in her last three years was win 72 games. While the four-year starter saw just 14 minutes given the emergence of Ally McConnell and Claire Salyer off the bench, Marovich was on top of the world.
"Claire came in and banged out so major points for us," Marovich said. "She came in and was aggressive, rebounded and hit tough shots and brought our defense to the next level. We were kind of quiet in the first quarter and once we started making some points we got louder and she did a great job bringing that out of us. With the twins also being in foul trouble so early, Ally (McConnell) coming in making her presence known with tips and boards was really big for us, too.
"As a senior, I told my dad that it's my 107th game and I think I saved the best for last. It's an unbelievable feelings to win a state championship with the greatest people I've ever met in my life and the greatest people I ever played for. It's hard to put into words what I feel right now."
Dog-gone good win: Morgan Crook made a deal with her father when she was a freshman that if she won a state championship in basketball, she could have a puppy.
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Crook is ready to make good on the promise.
"So now I get a puppy," Crook said. "My dad wants a mastador, which is a mastiff/lab mix."
Collignon said that she would like the dog to remain at the school for a morale boost.
"It's going to live in my office for a while," Collignon said.
The junior said she hadn't thought of a name for the pup yet, but media members in the press room after the game unanimously recommended: Blazer.
INDIANAPOLIS — The first 3-pointer that Claire Salyer hit drew a raucous cheer from the Marquette Catholic bench, with players and coaches sta…
Dominant defense: Marquette Catholic's defense held Vincennes Rivet to 31 points, including just two in the second quarter.
The 31-point total is the fewest ever allowed in a Class A game, besting the previous mark of 32 set by Fort Wayne Canterbury's defense against University in 2008.
In all classes, the mark is 29 allowed by Jeffersonville against Penn in 2011.
In the single-class tournament, E.C. Roosevelt owns the record, holding Anderson Madison Heights to 23 in the 1979 title game.