By Nicole Reitz | @nicolereitz02
Sports Capital Journalism Program
INDIANAPOLIS – The Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian Braves defeated the Barr-Reeve Vikings, 60-43, to win the school’s first Class A state boys basketball championship.
The Braves (28-2), top-ranked in Class A and No. 20 overall, were led by senior guard Frank Davidson, who scored 20 points with 12 rebounds and three steals. Caleb Furst, a 6-foot, 10-inch sophomore forward, scored 16 points and blocked five shots.
Barr-Reeve, which was ranked second in its class, was trying to win a second state title in five seasons. The Vikings (26-3) had won their previous 17 games with a 23.4-point average margin of victory in its five previous state tournament games. For the next two seasons, both Fort Wayne and Barr-Reeve will play in Class 2A due to the Tournament Success Factor.
Blackhawk Christian won its last 17 games. The Braves had lost to Barr-Reeve, 76-68, in overtime on Dec. 29 in the championship game of the North Daviess tournament.
The Braves entered the game with state-leading averages of 79.9 points per game and a 26.1- point margin of victory.
“There were some questions last season as to how good this team was going to be,” said Blackhawk Christian coach Marc Davidson. “Pretty early on in the summer, we realized we had a chance to be really special. I credit these guys to all the hard work they have put in. It is very gratifying.”
Barr-Reeve, a 47-percent shooting team this season, was held to 35.8 percent by the Braves. Barr-Reeve made just four of 13 shots in the first quarter, when Furst blocked three shots within a span of 1:16. Shortly after the third block, with 3:06 to go in the first quarter, a 7-0 Blackhawk Christian run gave the Braves a 15-4 lead.
Barr-Reeve had held its opponents to 42.14 points, the ninth-best average in the state. But by the end of the second quarter, Furst had five blocks, Blackhawk Christian had scored 30 points, and Barr-Reeve’s postseason dominance had ended.
“[The Braves] definitely didn’t let me touch the ball a lot,” said Barr-Reeve 6-8 junior center Keegan O’Neill, who was held to three points and made just one of nine shots. “They were all up in my face the whole game. They were right on top of me. It is just crazy how tough their defensive game was compared to the last time.”
In the beginning of the third quarter, Barr-Reeve appeared to be more aggressive but still couldn’t quite keep up with the strong defensive energy of the Braves. “[Barr Reeve] has made a lot of improvements since last time we faced them,” said Frank Davidson, the coach’s son. “We knew we had to focus on some of the new plays they brought into their system. We watched them on film pretty much every day.”
Barr-Reeve’s two previous defeats were by eight points (in overtime) and four points to eventual Class 2A runner-up Linton-Stockton. But in the final game of their season, the Vikings trailed by as many as 25 points near the end of the third quarter.
“It’s a dream,” said Blackhawk Christian senior guard Michael Pulver, who scored eight points with four assists and two steals. “You always think I’m going to end my season with a state championship.”