HAMMOND — On New Year’s Day, Bowman senior Jacques Williams may have already provided the play of the year.
Midway through the third quarter of the Eagles’ matchup with Milwaukee Hamilton, the 6-foot-4 guard dunked all over Wildcats senior forward Keywaun Pettis, who stands 6-6.
“He blocked my shot on the first one, so I was just like, ‘DIAMOND, DIAMOND!’ That’s our out-of-bounds play where (my teammate) comes up to set the screen, and then I go up for the alley oop,” Williams said. “I went up for it, bounced off of him and just dunked it.”
Almost everyone who was in attendance at the Mac Jelks Invitational on Wednesday, which was held at Bishop Noll, lost their minds when Bowman senior guard Jessie Walker threw a perfect lob pass to Williams from underneath their team’s basket. Madness ensued as the senior pulled off a vicious one-handed slam on Pettis, causing the defender to fall down.
Williams stood over Pettis for a brief moment, flexed and shouted before backpedaling on defense, and his teammates on the court and bench erupted in celebration over what they had just witnessed.
The senior finished the night with 24 points in the Eagles’ 71-60 victory, and his thunderous jam has already gone viral on social media with thousands of views after a video of the dunk was re-posted by ESPN, Ballislife and theScore.
“It’s a new year, so you gotta start it off right,” Williams said. “I’ll remember that one.”
Bowman coach Tyrone Robinson is usually the first person to tell his team to get back on defense after a made basket, but even he got caught up in the moment following Williams’ highlight-reel play.
“I’ve been coaching high school basketball for a long time,” Robinson said. “I haven’t seen a dunk like that before.”
Valpo's Mack seizing long-awaited opportunity
All Brandon Mack ever wanted was a chance.
Playing behind a pair of next-level talents last year in Brandon Newman (Purdue) and Nate Aerts (Bethel), the Valparaiso senior toiled in relative obscurity.
Now, he has emerged as a pure scorer for the Vikings and leads them in scoring at 11.4 points per game.
“Brandon has always been one of our better shooters,” Valparaiso coach Barak Coolman said. “Last year he was stuck behind (Newman and Aerts) and was the ninth guy. Coming into this year, I expected him to play a key role for us. When he shoots it, we expect it to go in.”
Mack's true breakout moment came last week when he buried a late 3-pointer to help lift Valparaiso to a 55-52 win over Connersville. His 3-pointer came with 51 seconds left and gave the Vikings their first lead of the game. The senior guard connected on all five of his shots, including four 3-pointers, for a career-high 20 points.
“I knew as soon as I got the ball that I was going to shoot it,” Mack said. “I had the confidence. I got a lot of experience during AAU this summer, and I took a ton of shots during games. I know I can hit those shots.”
Hobart wins holiday tourney
Tyler Schultz plays baseball, football and basketball at Hobart, and the senior showed once again that he is one of the school’s top athletes by willing the Brickies to a holiday tournament title on their home floor.
After dominating North Newton with a 62-22 win in the first round, Hobart squeezed past Lake Station 37-34 in the championship last weekend to cap off the calendar year with some hardware. Schultz played all 32 minutes against the Eagles and poured in a team-high 14 points and team-high three assists.
“When you’re playing for a championship, I guess you naturally get that second wind,” Schultz said. “You just go all out, and you don’t really feel how you’re feeling. After we won, I wasn’t cheering very hard just because at the end of the game, I finally realized how tired I was.”
Schultz missed most of his junior season with mononucleosis, and Brickies coach Michael Brown said he is thankful to have the do-it-all guard return to his starting lineup.
“We’re asking him to score, we’re asking him to bring the ball up, we’re asking him to guard the other team’s point guard,” Brown said. “I’m lucky that he plays basketball and that I get to coach him. He’s just a steady ball player.”
Hammond’s Woods steps up
Hammond won both of its games in the North Central holiday tournament, and Harold Woods was a big reason why.
The junior guard had a team-high 24 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Wildcats’ 63-61 victory over the host Panthers, and he followed it up with 15 points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal in his team’s 55-52 win against Park Tudor last weekend. In the two contests, Woods shot 51.7% from the field and drained a team-high four 3-pointers.
Hammond coach Larry Moore Jr. expects Woods to be an integral part of his squad’s success as it prepares for the second half of the season.
“He’s a matchup problem because he’s a 6-4 two-guard, so you can’t put a big guy on him, and the guards are usually smaller,” Moore said. “He’s been using his size to his advantage to get to the basket and knock down the 3.”
Never as Good as the First Time
Hammond Tech coach Louis Birkett led the Tigers to a 33-21 win over Mitchell at Butler Fieldhouse in 1940, giving the Region its first state championship. Stanley Shimala led his team with 13 points while Robert Kramer added eight in the championship. More than 50,000 fans assembled around downtown bonfires at State and Hohman to celebrate the no-named team that started the postseason with a 12-6 record.
Perfect is as perfect does
The 1971 E.C. Washington Senators are considered by many the greatest team in Hoosier Hysteria history. Starters Pete Trgovich, Tim Stoddard, Darnell Adell, Ruben Bailey and Junior Bridgeman finished 29-0 after beating Elkhart 70-60 at Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse. E.C.W. scored 102 in its semifinal win over Floyd Central. All five starters went on to play D-I basketball, with Trgovich, Stoddard and Bridgeman starting in NCAA Final Four games.
Perfect is as perfect does II
Across town the year before, Jim Bradley led E.C. Roosevelt to an undefeated state championship, too, by beating Carmel 76-62 in Indianapolis. Jim Bradley scored 24 points, John Davis added 21 and Cavanaugh Gary and James Rossi scored 10 apiece. In the semifinal the Rough Riders beat Muncie Central 90-75 as coach Bill Holzbach's team was led by Bradley's 27 and Mike Artis' 20. Bradley went on to star at Northern Illinois and then played pro ball before his untimely death.
Big dog barks big
It was a done deal. Indianapolis Brebeuf's Alan Henderson was going to win Mr. Basketball before going to Indiana University in 1991. But Roosevelt's Glenn Robinson changed the script, scoring 22 points in leading the Panthers to a 51-32 beating at the Hoosier Dome. Robinson won Mr. Basketball before becoming an All-American at Purdue. The win gave Ron Heflin the state championship he had been so close to getting before.
You don't know Bo
Gary Roosevelt wasn't expected to win its sectional, let alone the 1968 state championship. But coach Bo Mallard's Panthers did just that. Aaron Smith scored 28 as 'Velt beat Indianapolis Shortridge 68-60 to win the crown. Jim Nelson added 12 in the win. Roosevelt beat Vincennes 65-48 in the semifinal as Smith scored 19 and Nelson had 14 in the win.
Another shocker from the 2-1-9
The headlines were written before the game was played. Muncie Central's Ron Bonham leads Bearcats to the 1960 state title. But a group of guys from The Harbor said, "Stop the Presses." E.C. Washington coach John Baratto and his team pounded the favorites 75-59 in the final. Phil Dawkins led the Senators with 21 points, Jim Bakos added 17 and Bob Cantrell had 11 in the win.
No way, no way, no way
The 1994 semistate game between Valparaiso and E.C. Central is considered one of the great games ever played. The Vikings won 83-82 in four overtimes. Bryce Drew and Tim Bishop led Valpo in the crazy-close game, then took the Vikings to the state championship game the following week, losing to South Bend Clay in, yep, overtime.
Bowman streak is hard to comprehend
The Bowman Academy Eagles had a remarkable streak in the age of class basketball. The Eagles won the Class A state championship in 2010, went back in 2012 in Class 2A and finished second. The next year Marvin Rea's team won the 2A state title and then in 2014 advanced to the Class 3A state championship game where they lost to Greensburg.
One town, one team, one championship
In 2007 both sides of East Chicago came together to watch a group of young men shock the state in winning the Class 4A state championship against highly favored Indianapolis North Central. E'Twaun Moore was the best player on the floor in the Cardinals 87-83 win. Kawaan Short and Angel Garcia also played great in the crazy season with all kinds of drama.
Doug Adams finally gets it done
Michigan City coach Doug Adams won the 1966 state championship after his team was routed away from East Chicago and Elston won the championship. James Caldwell scored 21 in the 63-52 win over Indianapolis Tech at Hinkle Fieldhouse. O'Neil Simmons scored 12 and Terry Morse had 11 for Adams' squad.
Morgan Township was 18-4 and Bowman Academy 12-9, but few folks not wearing green and yellow gave the Porter County Conference's Cherokees much of a chance to knock off defending the Class A state champion Eagles, let alone on the Eagles' floor, the night after they dismantled a 19-3 Kouts team 97-54. But Brandon Grubl scored 22 points and Ryan Klikus notched 21 as Morgan was able to slow down the pace and pull off the 53-49 shocker in the 2011 sectional final. The Cherokees lost to Triton in the regional final and Bowman started a string of three state appearances the following year.
Andrean overcame a 16-point deficit against New Albany in the 1980 state semifinals but lost 69-68 as Mike Paulsin missed two free throws with no time left. Dan Dakich scored 32 points for the 59ers. In the other semifinal, Indianapolis Broad Ripple's Stacey Toran hit a three-quarter court shot to stun Marion and the Rockets downed the Bulldogs in the championship.
West Side's best side
Coached by John Boyd, unranked West Side led big much of the game, including a 19-point margin in the third quarter, then had to hang on to sweat out a 58-55 win over Indianapolis Pike in the 2002 Class 4A championship. Brandon Cameron led all scorers with 17 points. Chris Hunter, the mental attitude award winner, scored 14 points and pulled down 15 rebounds. As a team, West Side (23-4) pulled down a Class 4A game record 43 rebounds.
Not your average Bearcats
Yogi Ferrell's star was just beginning to rise, but Wheeler denied the Park-Tudor and future IU star his first title, turning back the Panthers 41-38 in the 2010 Class 2A championship. The Bearcats made no fourth-quarter field goals and shot 9 of 35 for the game, but prevailed by making 12 of 14 foul shots in the final eight minutes and 20 of 26 overall. The 38 points allowed represented the fewest in a Class 2A title game. Petar Todorovic led Wheeler with 13 points, while Aleksa Kojcinovic had 10 points and 13 rebounds for coach Mike Jones' Bearcats (27-1), who finished the season with 23 straight victories. It marked the first state championship for Wheeler in any sport.
Marquette Catholic overcame a seven-point deficit in fourth quarter to force overtime and went on to defeat second-ranked Barr-Reeve 73-66 for the 2014 Class A state title. Ryan Fazekas scored 34 points on 13-of-22 shooting and hit a Class A championship game record 7-of-11 3-pointers. He also grabbed 10 rebounds. Richie Mitchell contributed 10 points and eight assists for the Blazers (20-6) as Donovan Garletts, at age 27, became one of the youngest coaches to win a state title.