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Readers’ favorite high school games & individual performances – Part 11

With the spring sports season canceled due to the coronavirus, we asked our audience to provide us with some of their favorite memorable high school games or individual performances there were part of as a player, coach or fan.   Here are some of those shared memories.  More installments will be coming.

Bryce Mize- What is more fun than competing for a state championship?  I was fortunate enough to do just that as a member of the 2006 Hauser Jets 1A State Champions.  It’s funny, the actual game seems like such a blur, but I can remember all of the events during the week leading up to it.  Our community did such an amazing job of showing their support, including renting a luxury bus.  We truly felt we were celebrities in the town of Hope.

Despite all of the noise, coach Bob Nobbe made sure to keep us focused on the task at hand.  I vividly remember going to, at the time, Conseco Fieldhouse for a practice.  I believe the Pacers had a game that night or the next day, so the NBA court was still down instead of the high school dimensions.  Man, those sprints were exhausting.  It was also surreal practicing in an empty gym of that magnitude.  I remember it being hard to judge your shots but were happy to work that out ahead of the game.  I remember the nerves driving up I-65 that morning and the silence on the bus. I remember the locker rooms being magnificent.  But the important part, the game itself, that was the most memorable.

Hauser 64 – Tri-Central 36

Our plan going in was to focus most (if not all) of our attention on state leading-scorer Grayson Flittner.  He was a tremendous player and outstanding shooter who later went on to have a very successful career at Gardner-Webb.  Walking on the floor to start the game, you really can’t express the feeling to anyone who hasn’t experienced that themself.  It was surreal.

Both teams got off to a very slow start, and we trailed after one quarter 14-10.  I remember Flittner hitting a couple of huge, Curry-esque threes during that span.  We were hoping that wouldn’t last all game.  Fortunately for us, a combination of missed shots and foul trouble kept him from getting to his average in that game.

In the second quarter, we were able to settle our nerves a little bit in order to take a three-point lead into halftime.

The third quarter was where we took control of the game and never looked back.  We dominated the quarter 15-2, holding them to just two free throws for the entire quarter.

After a small run from them in the fourth, followed by a quick timeout by Nobbe, we really settled in and enjoyed the last few minutes of the game.  I fondly remember a moment when we grabbed an offensive rebound, kicked it and reset the offense.  I remember thinking, “This is it.”

As we slowed the offense, our crowd seemed enormous.  We knew at that moment we were going to be state champions.  A timeout to get the starters out and the subs in resulted in another roar from the Hauser faithful.  I tried my best in that moment to really let it sink in, but it all still felt so surreal.  This is the moment we had been striving for since we were little kids, and it was coming true right before our eyes.  It was simply magical.

We were led by a three-headed monster: 6’8″ center Bobby Jolliff was dominant on the inside finished the game with a triple-double (10 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks), fellow senior Zach Fugate finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and junior guard Gabe Miller led the way with 24 points and six rebounds.  While my modest stat line of six points and five rebounds wasn’t thrilling, I did contribute one block to add to Jolliff’s 11, giving us a state record 12 blocks in one game.  I recall our team also setting a state finals record for rebounds in a game (55), margin of victory (28) and fewest points allowed (36).  It was truly a storybook ending to a great season, and I will always cherish being a part of that team.

Here is a link to the IHSAA telecast found on YouTube.

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