Blackhawk Christian dominates Blackford, clinches third-ever trip to state finals

Blackhawk Christian’s Zane Burke zips up the court during the second half of March 20’s win over Blackford in the Class 2A semi state at Elkhart.

ELKHART – After just two possessions on Saturday afternoon at Elkhart’s North Side Gym, the indications were there that it was going to be a long day for Blackford.

Seconds into the Class 2A North Semistate game between the Bruins and Blackhawk Christian, Caleb Furst attacked the bucket and drew a foul, knocking down two free throws.

One possession later, Furst was fed on a great pass from Zane Burke for a dunk – four quick points in what eventually was a nine-point run for the Braves to begin the game.

Despite a great effort from Blackford’s Luke Brown, the Braves cruised to an 88-61 victory and will head to the state championship game in two weeks for the third time in program history.

“I liked the way we came out today, we came out with great focus and great energy,” said Blackhawk Christian coach Marc Davidson. “That started with Zane Burke. He just came out ready. And when Zane is playing like that, it permeates throughout our entire team.

In true Blackhawk Christian fashion, Saturday’s win was an epic team effort. Four players finished with 17 or more points, led by Burke’s 21 points. Furst and Callan Wood added 20 points apiece, while Marcus Davidson chipped in 17.

Blackhawk Christian’s Caleb Furst scores at the rim during the second half of a win over Blackford in the Class 2A north semi state game at Elkhart.

“Our game plan was to get the ball to Caleb and then let him make the right decision out of that,” Burke said. “He did a great job passing out to the perimeter. Everybody was on.”

For Blackford, Brown was able to finish with 34 points, becoming the No. 4 scorer all-time in the state of Indiana in doing so with 3,011 points, but no other Bruin reached double digits.

“The kid is an outstanding basketball player,” said Coach Davidson about Brown. “Really impressed. The range that he has is a challenge for any defense. We wanted to get the ball out of his hands, scramble and rotate. We did a decent job, but it shows just how good he is when he still gets 34 points.”

Blackhawk Christian (27-3) was up 15 points at halftime and the lead grew to as many as 32 in the second half. The Braves were 11-of-18 from the field in the first half to start quick and finished with 10 made threes. They also had a significant advantage on the boards, corralling 19 offensive rebounds on the afternoon, many leading to second-chance points.

While Brown was a handful for the Braves defensively, the mismatches were obvious on the offensive end for Blackhawk Christian. Blackford (25-5) had no one big and physical enough to contend with Furst nor quick enough to close out on shooters on the perimeter.

Now, the focus is on state as the Braves look for the second-straight state championship. Blackhawk Christian won in 2019 and last year’s tournament came to an end following sectionals due to Covid.

“They have done a great job all year,” said Coach Davidson about his team. “We talk to our guys playing for an audience of one. We are a Christian school. We play for the glory of Jesus. When you take that approach, you don’t really feel the pressure. You understand you are playing for a higher purpose.”

The Braves will take on either Parke Heritage (26-3) or Southridge (17-10) on April 3 in the Class 2A State Championship at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Blackhawk Christian celebrates their Class 2A semi state title with a March 20 win against Blackford at Elkhart’s North gym.

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