BOURBON – It was a tale of two games for Blackhawk Christian on Regional Saturday.
In the semifinal, the Braves had to slog their way through a much-improved and athletic Gary 21st Century team. The lack of close outs on the perimeter led to some open threes, while free-throw shooting struggles late kept the door open in an eventual eight-point victory.
After destroying the competition in the Fremont Sectional, it was exactly the kind of game that Blackhawk Christian needed. Despite all the praise that this team is the clear favorite in Class 1A, it isn’t going to hoist the big trophy at Bankers Life Fieldhouse without having to knock off some pretty solid basketball teams.
Which brings us to Saturday night.
By all accounts, Argos is a good squad. Its first sectional title in 15 years came at Triton just a week ago, the host of the regional. But what the Braves were able to do to the Dragons to capture their second consecutive regional championship was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Blackhawk Christian won 77-39, the 38-point margin of victory feeling more like 68. The Braves shot 58 percent from the field, with Caleb Furst leading the way with 27 points on 12-of-15 shooting. The sophomore was one of three Blackhawk Christian standouts to finish in double figures.
Argos looked lost from the outset, deciding puzzlingly to man up on Furst, with the sophomore scoring six points to start the game a combined three feet from the basket. That sequence set the tone and effectively decided the game.
It was a dominant performance reminiscent of sectional play, but it is probably the exception from here on out.
Blackhawk Christian will take on Lafayette Central Catholic at 4 p.m. next Saturday at Elkhart in the Class A North Semistate. LCC plays a schedule similar to the Braves in that they play higher-class teams to challenge them. The Knights are a balanced team that have five players who average eight or more points.
Meanwhile, Barr-Reeve lurks in the south, a team that Blackhawk Christian beat in the regular season but is itching to get another shot at the Braves.
Bounce believes this column can be used as a warning – both for Blackhawk Christian and its upcoming opponents. It is true that the Braves cannot simply waltz through 1A like many amateur pundits have said. But it is also a factual statement that, at least in Bounce’s mind, no team in Class A can beat the Braves if they play the way they did against Argos.