March 6, 2010
Ben Davis Wins Second Straight 4A Championship in Record-Setting Fashion
Dominating offense and overwhelming defense were the recipe for success for Stan Benge and the No. 1 Ben Davis Lady Giants in the Class 4A state championship game on Saturday night. The Lady Giants earned their second consecutive state title and set seven individual game state finals records in the process, to win going away against No. 5 Merrillville, 99-52.
Ben Davis’ 99 points are a new state finals record for any class, topping the 90 points scored by Class A Bloomfield in 1998 against Morgan Township, while their 22 steals are the most in any state finals game, topping their own 2001 record set against Fort Wayne Snider.
The teams also combined to set a new state finals record for most combined points in a quarter in a Class 4A game. Ben Davis poured in 35 points in the third quarter, while Merrillville added 18; the combined total of 54 topped the 2007 4A third quarter total of 53 by South Bend Washington and Columbus East.
Junior Bria Goss, who had 22 points, and senior Demetria Nunley-Lash, who added 20, led the way for the Lady Giants, and 10 players got in the scorebook for Ben Davis on the night.
With the win, Ben Davis also established a new state record for consecutive victories with 58, dating back to the 2008-09 season, when they went 30-0 and defeated South Bend Washington, 71-69, in a thrilling state title game. Fort Wayne Northrop won 57 consecutive games from 1985-87. The Lady Giants finish the 2009-10 season with a perfect 28-0 record. The Giants also became the first Indiana basketball team (boys or girls) to complete two consecutive undefeated seasons.
Senior guard Bryonna Davis was a bright spot for Amy Govert’s Merrillville Lady Pirates, who were making their first appearance in the state finals. Davis scored 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Sophomore guard Raveen Murry added nine points for the Lady Pirates, who finish the season with a record of 25-2.
Dee Dee Williams of Ben Davis Named Mental Attitude Award Winner
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Dee Dee Williams of Ben Davis 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.
Williams has helped lead her team to back to back state finals appearances and is a candidate for Indiana’s Ms. Basketball award. She also played volleyball for the Giants and was named to All-County and All-State teams.
Williams has served as a tutor and has volunteered at her church and retirement homes in her community. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Senior Mentor Program, and has participated in the NCAA Stay in Bounds program.
Ben Davis Principal Joel McKinney commented, “Dee Dee is an exceptional student athlete who is a model for the behavior, attitude, and work ethic that this award represents. She has always put the team before herself, and plays with a level of sportsmanship and humility that is second to none.”
Dee Dee is the daughter of Charlene and Richard of Indianapolis. She will attend Purdue University next fall on a basketball scholarship.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, will present a $1,000 scholarship to Ben Davis High School in the name of Williams.
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.
Ben Davis Head Coach Stan Benge
On recent success: “A lot came together the right way. We’ve got four outstanding seniors, a great supporting staff including parents and coaches – I have the best three assistants in the state. With all of those people and the great community and administration it leads to this type of success. It just doesn’t happen all the time.”
On the kids playing with passion: “All the passion and energy comes from inside. It comes out in practice, in the game you’ve just got to be calm. We have high expectations for all of us.”
“I’m so happy the way these four seniors went out. It’s something I wanted for them, they all played outstanding. If you’ve got to lose them, this is the way to finish the year.”
(On playing with intensity): “This was the last 32 minutes you were going to play as a team, so how do you not be ready to play? We did have a sloppy second quarter, but we told them at half, this was now the last 16 minutes to play as a team and to go out and show everyone how good you are.”
Merrillville Head Coach Amy Govert
“No one else can say we made it this far to the state finals in 4A. I was very proud of these kids. If we would have taken care of the ball early it might have been a little better.”
“We could have easily quit and put our heads down. In the second quarter we played them even. We knew we needed to take care of the ball and rebound. We didn’t do either very well tonight.”
“Ben Davis puts a lot of pressure on the ball. They are obviously a very good defensive team. I am proud to say we played Ben Davis for the state championship – there’s no shame in that.”
“This season was the best in school history. It was due to all the hard work by these seniors. We battled all year especially with injuries. We don’t have any player bigger than 5’9. We never quit tonight even though we were down. This shows the character of this team.”
“This team has shown heart and character all year. We represented the region well. A region team has not made it to the state finals in a long time.”
On Bryonna Davis’ play: “She is one of the top scorers in school history. She will be taking her game to Michigan State next year and they will be lucky to have her.”