ELKHART – Holding the semi-state trophy aloft on Saturday afternoon at North Side Gym, Blackhawk Christian showed a bit more emotion than the previous week after winning regional.
Smiles and hugs abounded at center court after the 74-51 thrashing of Lafayette Central Catholic to put the Braves a win away from their first-ever state championship.
There is still unfinished business, with Barr-Reeve looming on Saturday in the 1A title game. But with how Blackhawk Christian is playing, it’s hard to bet against it.
How are they playing you ask? As a team. A lot of the pub revolves around sophomore Caleb Furst and senior Frankie Davidson, but the roster is loaded with talent. It was showcased again against LCC, with Michael Pulver going for 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. He was joined in double figures by Frankie Davidson (17 points), Zane Burke (15 points) and Marcus Davidson (15 points).
Furst battled foul trouble and illness to account for eight points and 11 rebounds.
The balanced effort from a team loaded with skill is a refreshing look for Bounce. I have seen plenty of talented teams not reach their potential because of infighting by both player and parent alike. I could name five teams in the last three years in northeast Indiana who collapsed under the weight of players’ egos and the unrealistic expectations of parents.
Instead of behind-the-scenes arguments over player roles, mid-season transfers and disagreements during games between adults and kids alike, the Braves are drama free with everyone accepting their role. Pulver is a prime example. In years past, Pulver was a primary scorer for the Braves at lower levels. He enters state championship week averaging barely 5 points per game.
Abe Hicks is another. A senior who could be one the top scorers for most teams is another, Hicks is locked in as a key cog for Blackhawk. He scored just two points in the win over Lafayette Central Catholic, but gladly differed to others and had as big of a smile as anyone after the game.
Unselfish play has been on display throughout the Braves’ run to state. In any given game, a half-dozen different players could lead Blackhawk Christian in scoring. In the last two games, the Braves have actually EXTENDED leads when Furst went to the bench. That’s not to say that Furst isn’t incredibly valuable, but rather that the way the team plays makes it incredibly difficult to defeat them purely because they have so many weapons.
Some local teams in recent memory have fallen apart under the weight of an abundance of talent, high expectations and meddling parents.
On the contrary, Blackhawk Christian has risen above drama to become one of the best teams in Indiana regardless of class. It is free of the internal upheaval that makes prep hoops around here nauseating at times.
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