March 26, 2011

Park Tudor's 1-2 punch too much, win Class 2A crown

While junior Kevin Ferrell may have stolen the pre-game spotlight, it was a freshman who stole the show.

Indiana target Trevon Bluiett dropped in a game-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including a crucial three-point play late in the fourth quarter, to solidify Park Tudor's 43-42 win over Hammond Bishop Noll (26-1) in the IHSAA Class 2A State Championship.

After falling in the championship game last season, Ferrell and Park Tudor came back with a mission. However that mission got off to a slow start in the first half after the Panthers (26-2) came out cold from the gate.

Park Tudor was only able to muster 26-percent shooting in the first half, including 2-for-11 from behind the three-point line. Despite the lackluster offensive performance, the Panthers trailed just 24-21 thanks to Ferrell's versatility. The junior point guard had 10 points and four rebounds heading into the break.

But the second half belonged to the freshman Bluiett. After being virtually unheard of in the first half, scoring just five points, Bluiett exploded in the second half, scoring 21 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the win.

However perhaps more importantly was Bluiett's three-point play with just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. After a missed three-pointer in the corner by Brendan Tannenbaum, Bluiett grabbed one of his two offensive rebounds for the game, made the shot, absorbing the contact for the foul.

The freshman then smoothly stepped to the line and nailed his free throw to ahead Park Tudor, 43-42, a lead they would never relinquish.

"I had a gut feeling telling me to go in and rebound. I didn't rebound on the offensive end all game," Bluiett said. "But I felt like I needed to and luckily, it came into my hands. I was prepared for it and I went up and got the foul."

Perhaps even bigger was the freshman stepping to the line in a tie game, late in the fourth quarter, to potentially win the state championship. But according to Bluiett, nerves were not an issue.

"I was kind of nervous, but you can never show that to an opponent," Bluiett said. "You don't want to show them that you are nervous. It is something I have been doing my whole basketball career."

During Park Tudor's impressive second half comeback, the offense turned into the Ferrell-Bluiett show. The junior point guard found the big man on a modified pick-and-roll for much of the game, going to the play on three straight possessions late in the fourth quarter.

Ferrell finished the game with six assists, which almost all went to the freshman. He finished the game with 14 points, five rebounds and six assists.

"(Yogi and I) have been playing together since about the fourth grade, so we kind of have the same chemistry coming into this year," Bluiett said. "We've been playing a two-man game all year, so it was really nothing new today."

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