March 24, 2012
Guerin Catholic Topples Norwell for 3A State Championship
The Guerin Catholic Golden Eagles used a 16-6 run in the second half to bust open a closely contested game and achieve a 64-48 victory over Norwell in the Class 3A boys basketball final.
Coach Pete Smith's Eagles led only 23-22 at halftime but started their push late in the third quarter. The Eagles turned up the defensive pressure, forcing 12 turnovers and holding Norwell to 31 percent shooting (9-of-29) in the second half. Guerin Catholic connected on 18-of-21 free throws after halftime.
For the No. 10-ranked Eagles, it was the first state championship game appearance in any sport. It culminated in the Class 3A basketball crown in only the school's sixth year of tournament eligibility.
Guerin Catholic won its last nine games and finished 24-5. Riley Rapp and Aaron Brennan led the Eagles with 14 points apiece, and Brennan had 12 rebounds. Whit Rapp scored 13 points. Adam Hufford added 12 points, all in the second half.
Coach Randy Hawkins' Norwell team was 24-3. Like Guerin Catholic, the No. 4-ranked Knights were making their first appearance in the boys basketball state finals.
However, the Knights' offense never got untracked. They were held more than 23 points under their season average of 71.1. Grant Baker, with 11 points, led Norwell in scoring. Kyle Fillman had nine rebounds.
Norwell’s Garrett Bucher Named Trester Mental Attitude Award Winner
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Garrett Bucher of Norwell High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class 3A Boys Basketball.
Bucher ranks 12th in his senior class of 185 students with a 3.91 GPA with some of the most challenging courses Norwell has to offer.
He has served as student council treasurer the last three years, is a member of the National Honor Society and Business Professionals of America and has served as captain of both the football and basketball teams this year. Bucher is a three-year letter-winner in both football and basketball.
The son of Trent and Kelli Bucher of Bluffton, he intends to study Business or Accounting at Purdue University beginning in the fall.
The award is annually presented to a senior participant in the state finals who best demonstrates mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability and is named after the IHSAA’s first commissioner who served the Association from 1929 to 1944.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Norwell High School in the name of Bucher.
Guerin Catholic Coach Pete Smith
“I thought it was a very physical game and we adjusted much better the second half than we did the first half. They really let us play and Norwell took a lot away from us offensively because they were doing a nice job of bumping and holding our cutters.”
“We’re pretty much a balanced team. We run a lot of set plays for Aaron (Brennan) but when they take that away our second options can really score the basketball.”
“(On the difference in turnover points) We really tried to attack the basket when we made steals. We noticed when we scored they walked the ball up the floor. When they scored we wanted to push the ball up the floor and I think that leads to fatigue on the other team.”
“(On what this means to Guerin Catholic) To start with 88 kids eight years ago and take it this far has been pretty fun. It just shows the quality kids Guerin Catholic has.”
Norwell Coach Randy Hawkins
“They really outplayed us in that last quarter. We didn’t get any shots to fall and we lost some confidence in ourselves and things just unraveled for us in the fourth quarter.”
“Our seniors have done a tremendous job all year in leading us to this championship game. We made history for our school and we should not be ashamed of what we have done. We beat some very talented ball teams on the way here. It just wasn’t our night tonight.”
“It was a good first half for us. I didn’t think we played all that great -- we missed some shots and missed defensive assignments, but we were in the ball game.”
“Guerin Catholic took care of the ball tonight. They were physical defensively against us. They are very well-coached and did a tremendous job preparing for us.”
“We started missing shots at the end and we had to foul. They made their free throws. We just didn’t hit shots. We normally shoot better as a team. We average 47% shooting as a team and tonight we were in the 30s.”