EMMA — The unmistakable sound of bouncing basketballs could be heard loud and clear as visitors approached the Warriordome at Westview High School Tuesday afternoon.
And if basketballs are still bouncing in your gymnasium the last week of March, that means one thing — your team is getting ready for the last game of the season, win or lose: The IHSAA state finals.
That’s the position the Warriors find themselves in this week: Preparing for a trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, where the Warriors (23-4) will face Indianapolis Park Tudor (23-4) at approximately 12:45 p.m. Saturday for the Class 2A state championship.
Tuesday afternoon, the Warriors and their coaches were meeting with local media before hitting the court for a full-fledged practice session.
After defeating Lewis Cass 65-58 Saturday night to earn the northern semistate berth in the finals for Class 2A, the Warriors had a much-needed day off on Sunday before getting back at it on Monday with a light practice.
The magnitude of what’s on the horizon is just starting to sink in for some of the Westview players, especially senior forward Judah Zickafoose.
Zickafoose said Tuesday that Saturday night’s semistate victory was “surreal.”
As for the state final showdown with the Panthers?
“It feels like a sectional final,” Zickafoose said. “But it’s state.”
Zickafoose is looking forward to the entire experience of the state finals, especially playing at an NBA venue. Bankers Life Fieldhouse is the home of the Indiana Pacers.
“It’ll be fun,” Zickafoose said.
But at the end of the day, Zickafoose and his teammates know the game is the main focus. And the Warriors, unranked in Class 2A all season, find themselves facing the No. 1 team in their class in Park Tudor.
Zickafoose looks forward to the challenge.
“We’re just going to play hard and do what we do,” Zickafoose said.