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2005 Indiana State Championship
(23 April 2005)

Harrison Wins Second Title in Three Years

Lafayette Harrison, hosting the state tournament for the first time, protected their home turf in a big way, mowing down opponents left and right to win their second title in the last three years.

The tournament was a strange mix of nailbiters and blowouts. Almost half (10 out of 21) of the preliminary matches were decided by 50 points or fewer, and one game between two of the first-time participants at state (Indianapolis North Central and South Bend Washington) went into sudden-death overtime.

Round 1 began with Harrison winning over the defending champion, Penn, 400-240. Both of the other St. Joseph Valley League teams, Washington and Clay, won their games, though Clay nipped Brownsburg due to an appeal over an answer that allowed them to continue the "Opposites Attract" bonus and get more points from it. The Duneland teams were equally successful, with Chesterton and Merrillville squeaking by their opponents while regular season champ Crown Point lost to North Central. Probably the best game was Hamilton Southeastern withstanding a fourth-round charge by Culver Academies to notch a win.

History was made in Round 2 when Harrison recorded the first-ever 500-point game ever at the state level. (The previous high was Hobart's 495 points scored in a game last year.) Hamilton Southeastern won its second close game, and Culver Academies, Crown Point, and Penn all bounced back into the winners' column.

Due to an odd number of teams, a bye had been instituted all day, necessitating a change in the rules to a Swiss system instead of the random pairings from previous years, so the four undefeated teams in Round 3 were pared to two. Harrison knocked off North Central and Hamilton Southeastern beat Marion. Also landing berths in the playoffs were Culver Academies, Penn, Center Grove, and Washington, the latter three winning their games by a combined 45 points only.

With so many nailbiters in the preliminary rounds, then, it was surprising when none of the quarterfinal, semifinal, or final matches was closer than a 75-point margin. The semifinals were repeats of morning rounds, as Harrison beat North Central a second time and Hamilton Southeastern didn't let Culver Academies mount as much of a fourth-round comeback as they had earlier. So, for the first time since 2002, two undefeated teams squared off for the championship. Unfortunately for Hamilton Southeastern, it did not go well. Harrison swept three of their bonus categories to get a huge lead and then coasted to a 435-275 victory.

The state tournament was full of terrific teams, but a few were also missing in action. White River powerhouses Warren Central and Brebeuf Jesuit were unable to attend, St. Joseph's, a recent third place at Culver Academies' tournament, didn't qualify out of its league, and neither Skill Bowl team decided to participate. In particular, the absence of St. Joseph's leaves Brownsburg and Penn as the only two schools to have played in every single state championship.

Congratulations to Coach Lyn Schneider and her Harrison squad! In addition to breaking the single-game scoring record at state, they also broke Andrean's record for average points (423) and are rapidly closing the gap with Andrean for state wins (15 versus 27) and state titles (2 versus 4).