By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
A total of 403 high schools started the 104th annual IHSAA boys basketball tournament in early March.
Only eight remain and the Westview Warriors are one of the schools that are set to take center stage on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The unranked Warriors (23-4) and the No. 1 rated Park Tudor Panthers (23-4) square off in the Class 2A finale around 12:45 p.m.
The Panthers are led by 6-6 senior Trevon Bluiett. The Xavier University recruit, who is averaging 35.6 points and 11.4 rebounds a game, is considered to be one of the leading candidates for the prestigious Mr. Basketball award.
“Bluiett is a very good scorer and he seems to have a lot of pieces around him,” Westview coach Rob Yoder said. “He faces the basket and is a really good player. He is going to be a tough match-up for us as he is for most teams. We have a few days to prepare for guarding him. We have some guys with the length to hopefully bother his shots and others with quick enough feet to stay with him.
“The team does a lot of shooting from the outside and a lot of penetrating to the basket. The Panthers seem to be more of a team that is set up to score facing the basket than with their back to it.”
Westview won 2A state championships in 1999 and 2000.
“This year was the third time in the last nine years we made it to the semistate, but the first time we have been back to the state finals,” Yoder said.
Park Tudor captured the 2A crown in 2011 and 2012 when current Indiana University point guard Yogi Ferrell was leading the Panthers.
“Trevon is a great player and he does a great job of creating his own offense,” Park Tudor coach Kyle Cox said. “He has had three guys draped on him in a lot of games and we have had to move him all over the floor.
“We like to play at a fast pace, but we can play both ways. We have a lot of talented players and we like to use their talents. We have a number of players that would be stars at other schools. Here they are more role players.”
The rest of the expected staring lineup for the Panthers is 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).
“Moore is usually the player we put on the opposing team’s best offensive player,” Cox said. “Shelton is nice overall player who is a great shooter and an underrated athlete. Mack does a lot of things for us, including stretching the defense with his 3-point shooting. Gibson is also a very good player that has a long wingspan.”
One of the top reserves for the Panthers is 6-8 junior forward Evan Frank (4.2 ppg). According to the coach, Frank was in double figures in both points and rebounds in the two regional wins.
“Bluiett has to be our focus,” Yoder said. “We have to keep him somewhat in check to do that we might have to let someone else go.
Park Tudor is averaging 82.0 points per game on offense, which leads the state.
Westview’s leading scorers are 5-10 senior Jordyn Bontrager (17.2 ppg), 6-3 junior Chandler Aspy (15.8), 5-11 senior Jamar Weaver (9.7) and 6-3 senior Judah Zickafoose (9.3).
“Bontrager and Aspy are top-notch players,” Cox said. “We are going to have our hands full with Bontrager. He is a great point guard and a great shooter. “Westview is a physical team. They have nice shooters and are a complete team. That is why there are here. Our kids know they have got guard the Westview players and that we need to take care of the ball. We have to play our game.”
The Warriors have won 12 straight since a 56-54 loss to Prairie Heights on Feb. 13.
“We had a lot of key players on the bench in the Prairie Heights game,” Yoder said. “We had some players injured early in the season and we got the last three back about mid-January.
“We only had seven players when we started the NECC tournament. Once we got all 10 of them together and on the same page we started to get better.”
Follow Greg Keim on twitter @gkeim_TGN
Name, position Height Grade
Jordyn Bontrager, G 5-10 Senior
Damon Hershberger, F 6-0 Senior
Daron Miller, G 6-0 Senior
Jamar Weaver, F 5-11 Senior
Judah Zickafoose, C-F 6-3 Senior
Chandler Aspy, F 6-3 Junior
Brody Jantzi, G 5-9 Junior
Cody Litwiller, F 6-0 Junior
Chase Anderson, F 6-1 Soph.
Kade Miller, G 6-0 Soph.
Tim Miller G 5-10 Soph.
Andrew Yoder, F 6-1 Soph.
Coach: Rob Yoder (189-80 in 11 seasons).
Assistants: Rusty Yoder, Ross Hales, Ryan Yoder, Randy Miller.
Park Tudor Panthers
Name, position Height Grade
Nick Beeson, F 5-11 Senior
Trevon Bluiett, F 6-6 Senior
Andy Foster, G 6-3 Senior
Alex Mack, G 6-1 Senior
Austin Shelton, G 5-11 Senior
Sloan Shearman, G 6-1 Senior
Evan Frank, F 6-8 Junior
Dewayne Gibson, F 6-4 Junior
Bryce Moore, G 6-2 Junior
Brandon Tiassum, C 6-5 Junior
Jaren Jackson Jr., F 6-6 Frosh
Kobe Webster, G 5-9 Frosh
Coach: Kyle Cox (23-4 in one season).
Assistants: Mike O’Bryan, Nolan Bernard, Roy Hairston, Lane Walters.