Phone: 317-846-6601 Fax: 317-575-4244 Website: www.ihsaa.org
Blake Ress, Commissioner
March 7, 2009
ELMHURST WINS ITS FIRST STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
The Fort Wayne Elmhurst Trojans defeated the Owen Valley Patriots, 62-59, in the Class 3A championship game to claim the school’s first state title in any sport. It came in the school’s first ever appearance in the girl’s basketball state finals. Elmhurst’s boys basketball team finished as state runner-up in 2003.
Elmhurst came out strong in the first quarter taking a quick 7-0 lead over the Patriots and ended the first quarter with a 20-11 lead. The Trojans built their largest lead of the game at 22-11 with 7:40 left before haltime. Owen Valley rallied from that point pulling to within 28-24 heading to the halftime lockerroom.
Owen Valley grabbed its first lead of the game with 6:20 left to go on Nickole Gonser’s layup to make it 47-45. Twice the Patriots held three point leads before Elmhurst’s Lecretia Smith hit a layup with 3:15 remaining and Rosie Lewis’ jumper at 2:41 gave them the lead for good at 56-54.
Smith, who hit 11-of-15 from the field, led all scorers with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Liza Clemons and Lewis both added 10 for Elmhurst. Heather Gonser led Owen Valley with 21 points and eight rebounds. Cooper chipped in 10 and Nikole Gonser pulled down nine rebounds.
No. 4 Elmhurst, led by head coach Mark Redding, finished the season 25-2, winning their last 11 games of the season. No. 10 Owen Valley, making its first trip to the girls basketball state finals, finished 24-3, under coach Tom Anderson.
ELMHURST’S LECRETIA SMITH NAMED MENTAL ATTITUDE AWARD WINNER
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Lecretia Smith of Elmhurst High School 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.
Smith is the Trojans’ career leader in rebounding and ranks second in school history in points scored. She has been an all-conference first team selection the last three years. Additionally, Smith has played volleyball for Elmhurst and was named all-conference in 2007.
She has served the Elmhurst Career Association and the Freshmen Advisory Board, worked on the school’s food drive, helped make Christmas cards for injured military service members, was a flag carrier in the Veteran’s Day Parade and was a greeter for the school’s Back to School night.
“Lecretia has consistently demonstrated her conscientiousness and genuine commitment to being the absolute best student athlete that she can be,” says Elmhurst Principal Chad Hissong. “As a result, she has established herself as a leader on the court, in the hallway, and in the classroom.”
The daughter of Hattie Dunbar of Fort Wayne, she plans to attend the University of Toledo beginning next fall.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, will present a $1,000 scholarship to Elmhurst High School in the name of Lecretia Smith.
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.
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CLASS 3A POST-GAME QUOTES
Elmhurst Head Coach Mark Redding
(General comments) “What really helped us was that we were finally patient, getting the ball inside and getting Liza (Clemons) and Cre (Smith) involved. Rosie Lewis and TeSharra Thomas did a nice job, particularly as freshman, of stepping up in the late part of the game of making key baskets to put us ahead and keep us ahead.”
(Second-half free throws). “They were big, real big. We thought by missing the free throws in the first half we kept them in the game. The girls stepped up in the second half and knocked down those free throws.”
(On Lecretia Smith winning Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award)” I can’t ask for a more deserving person. She represents a lot. Her leadership on the court, you can’t really put it into words. What she does off the court is help these young kids. The way you see her play on the court is the way she plays in practice. Her work ethic has helped the younger kids understand what it takes.”
(On the edge in points in the paint) “It’s about moving the ball around. … These girls have been playing together a long time. It’s nothing we coach. It’s just their recognition.”
Lecretia Smith on winning the Mental Attitude Award: “I didn’t know I was going to win it. It’s a big surprise, but I’m really thankful to have won it.”
Owen Valley Head Coach Tom Anderson
(General comments) “We knew (Elmhurst’s) pressure would be better than any we faced all year. For some reason, we didn’t get people consistently in the middle of that press. When we did get in the middle, we broke it and did a good job. …Our point guard, Sam Cooper, did a magnificent job of handling that pressure. She’s one of the best point guards around. But you can’t leave her and just have two or three girls constantly badgering her. If we had just come back to the ball better, I feel like we could have attacked. But those are things that just sometimes happen when you’re just a little shaky in terms of your nerves. The worst thing about a game like this is that there has to be a loser by score. There really isn’t a loser by team, because you have to be pretty good to get here. I think we have a pretty good basketball team. Even though we didn’t play our best basketball game, we still only get beat by three, which shows what we could have done if we had just settled down a little earlier.”
(On Elmhurst’s pressure) “We knew they were never going to let up. No matter what the situation, they were going to press you. We really worked hard on it. I don’t know. We were so used to Sam just bringing the ball down the court, for some reason we just kept running away from her. … The thing we stressed all week is you have to take care of the basketball. But it wasn’t from a lack of effort. These girls practiced hard all week. … We fought very, very hard.”
Sam Cooper on what she will take from the tournament run and into next year: “I learned so much. The further we got in the tournament, the more intense it got. For me it was a great experience.”