Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 28, 2014

Pirates vs Eagles - how they got to the Bank

By Nick Gonnella
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Saturday’s Class 3A State Championship between Greensburg and Bowman Academy sets up a showdown between two of the state’s best teams at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The top-ranked Pirates and third-ranked Eagles are a combined 49-5, and have a collective 20-game winning streak. Neither team has lost in more than a month.

The history of the Bowman program is short but successful. The Eagles won the Class 1A state championship in only its second year of tournament play in the IHSAA during the 2009-2010 season. The Eagles lost in the sectional final the following year, and were state finalists in 2012. A state championship last season signaled Bowman’s second in four seasons, and enabled the Eagles to move up to Class 3A. Through the IHSAA’s tournament success factor, Bowman competed up one class by accumulating six points in a two-year cycle. The Eagles’ regional title (two points) and state title (four points) in Class 2A, meant that they could end up challenging Greensburg’s quest for a repeat.

The possibility came to fruition when the Pirates and Eagles captured Semi-State championships last Saturday. The Pirates defeated second-ranked Guerin Catholic 74-67 at Richmond, and the Eagles beat Bishop Dwenger 85-71 at Huntington North.

Bowman opened the season with a four-point win over Indianapolis Tech, the second-ranked team in Class 4A. After winning its first four games, Bowman fell to Chicago Simeon (Ill.) by three in overtime. The Eagles lost just two of their next 10 games, both to 4A teams (Ben Davis and top-ranked Carmel). The 74-52 loss to Carmel was Bowman’s most lopsided of the season. After winning its next four, Bowman fell to 4A Kokomo by 14 to conclude the regular season.

Bowman cruised through the Hammond Clark Sectional 17 by an average score of 102-61. The Eagles beat Gary Wallace 117-78 for the sectional crown. Bowman beat Andrean 65-56 in the regional semi, and clinched the championship 82-63 over South Bend St. Joseph. Bowman led St. Joseph 49-28 at halftime, but the Saints made it a 5-point margin late in the fourth quarter before the Eagles pulled away.

Greensburg won the outright Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference championship, going undefeated with a 7-0 mark. The Pirates won their first 13 games, then their final 14 after an overtime loss to Madison. The Pirates played their best defense of the season going into the sectional tournament. Greensburg yielded just 40 points a game in the sectional while averaging 80. The Pirates knocked off Silver Creek and Evansville Memorial in the regional tournament, then came back from 15 down to pull off a stirring Semi-State championship win over second-ranked Guerin Catholic last week.

The conclusion of the season, of course, remains unwritten. The final chapter will be scripted tomorrow night.

Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.