INDIANAPOLIS — Blackhawk Christian proved to just be a runaway train most of the season and on Saturday, they charged into the station with a 60-43 win over Barr-Reeve to claim Indiana’s Class 1A state title.
“It is amazing. To be able to do it with these players is the best feeling,” Blackhawk Christian senior Michael Pulver said.
“For us, it is obviously very gratifying,” Blackhawk Christian coach Marc Davidson said.
Barr-Reeve did actually strike first, but when Zane Burke’s pull up with 6:06 left in the opening quarter put the Braves up 4-2, they never trailed again.
Between the four and three minute marks of the first quarter, it was Caleb Furst who took over, blocking Barr-Reeve’s 6-foot-8 Keegan O’Neill on three straight trips down the court, allowing the Braves to extend their lead to 8-2.
“It was big just to jump on them to start and force that pressure,” Blackhawk Christian senior Frankie Davidson said.
Burke’s three pointer with 1:23 to play after the Barr-Reeve defense collapsed on a driving Frankie Davidson put Blackhawk ahead by double digits for the first time and the Braves ended up leading 17-8 after one and Barr-Reeve leading scorer Gabe Gladish had been held without a field goal attempt.
Furst went to work, this time on the offensive end, to start the second quarter. He scored on the first two trips of the session before adding his fourth block of O’Neill with 6:42 to play.
“Pinch post action is one of the hardest things that I ever had to defend especially when you have a big man that can move. So we wanted to make 50 [O’Neill] move defensively and as agile as Caleb is, we liked the match up at the rim but we also wanted to make 50 step away and let Caleb use his speed,” Marc Davidson said.
Barr-Reeve then managed to string together some stops defensively, but they couldn’t match Blackhawk’s intensity and effort in loose ball and defensive situations. With 3:14 to play, the always fearless Michael Pulver dove after a loose ball against the massive O’Neill igniting the Blackhawk Christian crowd.
“I have coached a lot of tough kids, nobody tougher than Michael Pulver,” Marc Davidson said, joking that fighting O’Neill for a loose ball isn’t anything compared to Pulver having to wrestle him for one.
“The energy and the way this young man competes; and what is beautiful is he brings that out of everyone else.”
Davidson and Barr-Reeve’s Isaac Wagler exchanged three pointers in the closing minutes and the Viking faithful had some hope in their cheers. When Wagler hit a pull up with four seconds to play, it allowed Barr-Reeve to head to the locker room trailing just 30-17 but with Gladish and O’Neill a combined 2-of-9 from the field.
Furst was pushing triple-double territory at the halftime break with eight points, seven rebounds and five blocks.
“All week, we focused on our defensive pressure, try to disrupt passing lanes and be aggressive on defense,” Furst said. “That is just a part of it. We were able to do that.”
Gladish opened the second half with a deep two for just his second made basket of the game. He scored again the next trip up the court to cut the deficit to 30-21 and then O’Neill got in a block of his own against Furst on the other end, but Furst fought back going right back at him for a basket that extended the lead back into double digits. As it turned out, O’Neill’s emphatic block ended up being the Vikings’ last gasp.
With 5:46 left in the third, Pulver swooped in on a Frankie Davidson three point miss for a rebound and easy layup to put Blackhawk back up 15 at 36-21.
At the 4:48 mark, Frankie Davidson took the ball the length of the court and dribbled behind his back to avoid a defender for the lay up score. It was Davidson’s 1,431st career point making him the program’s all-time leading scorer as he passed Russell Byrd.
“It was pretty big but what is more important is the victory,” Frankie said.
An Abe Hicks and-one with 4:17 to play allowed the Braves to extend their lead to a then high 19 points, 40-21. The Braves went up 21 with 3:39 to play on a two handed flush from Furst and the crowd in blue was surely starting to feel it all. The Braves led 48-23 after three on an 18-2 run to close out the quarter.
The fourth quarter proved to be a little chippy with Barr-Reeve pulling back within 20 with 4:30 to play when what appeared to be Furst’s sixth block on O’Neill was called a foul allowing the Barr-Reeve junior to hit a free throw to close the gap a little. At the four minute timeout in the final quarter, Blackhawk Christian still led 54-38.
Frankie Davidson ended the Viking run, that got the game down to 14 points, with 3:01 left spinning by his defender for the score and then converting his and-one attempt at the line to hit 20 points on the night at give Blackhawk a 57-40 lead and they would never trail by more. When the subs, including Brave seniors Jacob Lindsey, Austin McIntosh and Cooper Wild subbed in with 1:10 to go, it was all academic.
“Credit our guys, they were focused all year,” Marc Davidson added. “We had nine seniors last year and I think there were questions, at least from the outside about how good this team was going to be. I give a lot of credit to our seniors and the work that they put in and it became evident to us pretty early on in the summer that we had a chance to be really special.”
Frankie Davidson led all scorers with 20 points in addition to his 12 rebounds and three steals. Furst added 16 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and three assists, Burke scored 10 points and Pulver scored eight for the Braves.
The Braves shot 50 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from the foul line where Barr-Reeve was just 35.8 percent from the field and 30 percent from the charity stripe. The Braves led for 30 minutes, eight seconds of the 32 minute game.
With the win, the Braves will officially move up to Class 2A next season due to success factor.