Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis early Saturday afternoon, the folks from Westview High School in western LaGrange County proved that they belonged. They proved it on the basketball court, they proved it in the stands and they proved it in their hearts with a gutsy and classy performance in the 2A boys basketball state championship game.
On the scoreboard, however, No. 1 Park Tudor — on the back of Mr. Basketball candidate Trevon Bluiett — proved too much for the overachieving Warriors, defeating Westview, 84-57, and winning its third 2A state title in the last four years.
Without question, Westview was overmatched athletically. At 6-foot-6, Bluiett, who is committed to play at Xavier University next year, was usually the tallest and quickest player on the court. Simply put, he was smooth and in control of the game from start to finish. Averaging nearly 36 points per game throughout the season, Bluiett scored 38 Saturday on 14 of 22 shooting (5 of 9 from 3-point range).
Still, Westview kept hanging around. Thanks to smart, hard-nosed basketball, the Warriors trailed by six after the first period and only eight at halftime. And after Damon Hershberger hit a free throw to cap a three-point play early in the third period, Westview trailed just 35-30 and had momentum on its side. But Park Tudor responded like a champion, scoring the next 13 straight points to put the game out of reach.
We’re not surprised by the score, nor are we discouraged by it. Westview was unranked heading into the tournament and upset the No. 5- and No. 7-ranked teams, respectively, to reach the state finals. There was nothing for the Westview players, coaches and fans to be ashamed of on Saturday. There was only reason to be proud. For all intents and purposes, Park Tudor is a 2A team by enrollment requirements only. A private college prep school in the heart of Indianapolis, the school has assembled a basketball dynasty the past five seasons with Division I recruits including Bluiett and Yogi Ferrell, who is currently at Indiana University.