Winning a high school boys state championship in Indiana is no small task.
After all, only four teams accomplish the feat every season. It’s going to be a “tall” order for the Westview Warriors (23-4) when they meet the Park Tudor Panthers (23-4) in the Class 2A state finale Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis around 12:45 p.m.
The Panthers, led by 6-8 senior forward Trevon Bluiett, feature four other players as tall or taller than Westview tallest starters — 6-3 senior Judah Zickafoose and 6-3 junior Chandler Aspy.
Bluiett, a Mr. Basketball candidate, is the state’s leading scorer at 35.6 points per game. He is committed to play next season at Xavier University.
“Bluiett has to be our focus. We will have to try and keep him in check,” Westview coach Rob Yoder said during a press conference in Indianapolis Monday. “To do that we might have to let somebody else go.
“I don’t think the physical match-up will be like some people seem to think it will. We are a more athletic team than we have been in a while. Judah and Chandler can handle themselves on the inside.”
Both of the teams will be going for a third state championship on Saturday. Westview captured 2A crowns in 1999 and 2000, its only other appearances in the finals.
“It has been a while since we have been here,” Yoder said. “Last Saturday was our third trip to the semistate in the last nine years, but the first we have gotten back here. It feels good to be back.”
This is Park Tudor’s fourth trip to the finals. The Panthers won 2A titles in 2011 and 2012. Their other appearance was in 2010 when the Panthers dropped a 41-38 decision to Wheeler.
Kyle Cox is a first-year head coach at Park Tudor after spending the previous four seasons as a Panther assistant.
Among the players Cox worked with as an assistant at Park Tudor was Yogi Ferrell, who guided the Panthers to the two state championships before taking his game to Indiana University for coach Tom Crean.
A year ago, Park Tudor was upset in the sectional by Indianapolis Broad Ripple (69-67).
“We have been using that game as fuel for this season,” Cox said.
Bluiett is shooting at a 64.6 percent clip (244-of-378) on all field goals, including 42.9 from 3-point range. He is at 81.4 percent from the free-throw line. He averages 11.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
“The thing most people don’t know about him is he is a better kid than he is a basketball player,” Cox said. “He is a tremendous kid and a great student. He comes from a good family. He is a great leader and has taken this team on his back.”
Other expected starters for the Panthers are 6-2 junior point guard Bryce Moore (11.2 ppg), 5-11 senior guard Austin Shelton (10.5), 6-1 senior guard Alex Mack (8.6) and 6-4 junior forward Dwayne Gibson (8.7).
Park Tudor averages 82.0 points on offense. It has broken the century mark twice, in a 118-49 win over Covenant Christian and a 105-46 victory over Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter.
“We like to play a fast game, but our schedule allows us to see all styles,” Cox said.
Westview is averaging 60.5 points on offense with a high of 79 against Prairie Heights.
Cox is named after Peru High School legend and Kentucky Wildcat All-American Kyle Macy.
He is a 2002 graduate of Blue River High School and a 2006 grad of Ball State University.
Cox was a basketball standout at Blue River, leading the team to the state finals in 2001. He tossed in 37 points in a semistate win over Park Tudor.
He is currently 46th on the all-time Indiana scoring list with 1,987 points. He was passed this season by Bluiett during the Marion County Tournament
Yoder is a 1988 Westview graduate and a 1994 product of Hardin Simmons.
Follow Greg Keim on twitter @gkeim_TGN