Phone: 317-846-6601 Fax: 317-575-4244 Website: www.ihsaa.org
Blake Ress, Commissioner
March 7, 2009
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN WINS FOURTH CONSECUTIVE CHAMPIONSHIP
Claire Freeman’s shot with :03 seconds remaining in overtime gave top-ranked Heritage Christian a 60-58 win over second-ranked Oak Hill for its fourth consecutive 2A state title. The Eagles join Fort Wayne Bishop Luers (1999-02) as the only teams in tournament history to win four straight championships.
Heritage Christian head coach Rick Risinger also became the first coach in state history to win four state titles – in just his fourth year in charge of the program.
With the score tied at 58-58 with 1:36 to go, Heritage Christian ran the clock down to :07 left before calling timeout to set up the final play which ended up in Freeman’s hands. Her running jumper that banked in proved the game-winner and Oak Hill’s final heave fell short.
Kelly Faris and Freeman each converted layups in the overtime, while Oak Hill’s Ashley Pickering converted a miss by Marissa Coolman. Coolman added two free throws with 1:36 to go to tie the game.
Trailing 50-47 near the end of regulation, Oak Hill’s Ashley Pickering’s layup with 2:59 left made it 50-49. Teammate Courtney Moses added another layup for a 51-50 advantage with 2:13 remaining. Faris added a pair of free throws to give Heritage Christian a one-point lead at 2:13 before Coolman connected and was fouled at the 1:28 mark. Her free throw gave Oak Hill a 54-52 lead before Faris made a pair of freebies with :46 seconds left. Oak Hill set up for a final shot but wasn’t able to get a good look at the basket for a game-winner.
Moses led all scorers with 21 points and Pickering added 20. Both finished with seven rebounds.
Emily Anderson led Heritage Christian with 14 points. Kelly Faris finished with 13, Liz Stratman with 12 and Freeman 11.
Heritage Christian (26-1) was making its fifth trip to the state finals in six years and it was the second year in a row it defeated Oak Hill (27-2) for the title. Oak Hill was coached by Todd Law.
OAK HILL’S LAUREN MEESE NAMED MENTAL ATTITUDE AWARD WINNER
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Oak Hill’s Lauren Meese as the winner of the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award.
The award is presented annually to a senior participant in each classification who was nominated by her principal and coach and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.
Meese is a four-year starter on the varsity squad having earned all-conference honors three straight years and is one of four players on the team to have scored over 1,000 points for her career. She has also participated four years in soccer and three in track and field.
She serves as an officer with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Lettermen’s Club and also is a member of the National Honor Society, Students Against Drunk Driving and the Spanish Club.
Academically, Meese ranks eighth in her class of 126 students. She intends to study elementary education at either Bethel College or Huntington University.
She is the daughter of Ward and Carol Meese of Marion.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, will present a $1,000 scholarship to Oak Hill High School in the name of Meese.
The award is named in honor of the former IHSAA assistant commissioner Patricia L. Roy, who oversaw the girls basketball state tournament from its inception in 1976 until her retirement in 1999.
VSN MEANS ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY
friends at Visual Sports Network, the IHSAA’s official photographer for all state
championship events and one of the leading action photographers in the
CLASS 2A POST-GAME QUOTES
Heritage Christian Head Coach Rick Risinger:
comments) “That was a very special game for
(On setting up the game-winning play by Freeman) “Once you get the tie score and you have the ball, you’re in control. We were running certain offensive sets, and they were doing a good job defensively against those sets. …When we got to the very end, we were kind of slowing it down, but we were still in attack mode. Once it got down to 30, 20 seconds, my mindset is, we’re going to take the last shot. It got down to 7.8 seconds and we designed a play that interestingly was not a play that we worked on during the season. But with the defense they were running, the normal plays we had, I didn’t think they’d be effective. We had about four different options. … Miss Freeman just took an outstanding shot.”
(On the closeness of the game) “I give a lot of credit to Oak Hill. I thought they did exceptionally well today. They didn’t necessarily run different things than we anticipated, but I thought they ran things better than what we anticipated. … Oak Hill, I thought, played a fantastic game.”
Kelly Faris on her team’s run of winning four straight state titles: “This is probably the toughest one we’ve played in. They pushed us to the end. … To have had the experience I’ve had in high school, few have had that. It’s going to be hard leaving everybody.”
Emily Anderson on four straight titles: “The last four years have been unbelievable. … We bonded from the beginning. I wouldn’t change anything about my high school experience. It’s been awesome.”
Claire Freeman on her winning shot: “Things kind of broke down. I just took the ball to the basket and got the shot. … The opportunity just presented itself. I wasn’t thinking about the shots I had missed (earlier in the game); I was thinking about the one I was going to take.”
Oak Hill Head Coach Todd Law
(General comments) “I can’t be prouder of my team. We played in this game a year ago and I thought the enormity of the game affected our play. … We worked all offseason to try to get ourselves back here and show the state what kind of team we have. I think they did a phenomenal job of that today. Words can’t say how disappointed we are right now, but when the sting goes away a little, they know they can walk out of here with their heads held high. Not only did they give their best effort, but they played extremely well. … I thought we did a tremendous job of executing our game plan. We wanted to try to get the ball inside and drive to the basket. … Defensively, we were playing a great team and I thought we took some things away from them. It came down to a last-second play, kind of on a freaky shot. Tough way to lose the state championship.”
(On holding Kelly Faris to 13 points) “I thought we did a great job with her. Thing is, Kelly’s a phenomenal player, but our game plan was not focused totally on her. They have too many weapons to just lock in on Kelly. … It was a team effort. We had three different girls guard her throughout the game; all three did a nice job.”
(On the pressure his team faced coming in) “For us, it’s sort of been a stair-step thing. … The pressure that’s been on this team from the second the (state title) game ended last year is enormous. And you’re dealing with 15-, 16-, 17-, 18-year-old kids. They’ve handled that so well. I’m so proud of the way they’ve handled that. … There’s no doubt we all felt that pressure the entire year. To come through the season with one loss and then play the No. 1 team in the nation, and … take them to overtime and get beat on that shot, I’m pretty proud of our kids.”
(On Claire Freeman’s winning shot) “Courtney (Moses) was on her, kept her in front, had her going horizontally instead of vertically to the basket, that’s all I can say. I thought we had her well defended. She just put it in.”
Courtney Moses on defending Freeman’s shot: I just tried to stay in front of her. I had my hands straight up. She made like an NBA shot, sort of wiggled around. It was just a good shot.”
Lauren Meese on winning the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award: “It means a lot to me. It would be a little sweeter if we had won. But it’s still a great accomplishment … to get something like that when you didn’t expect it.”