2009-10 Class A State Finals Recap

March 6, 2010

Canterbury’s Tabitha Gerardot scored 16 of her 27 points in the fourth quarter, including 10-of-12 from the free throw line,  to lead second-ranked Fort Wayne Canterbury to its third consecutive Class A state title with a 69-65 victory over No. 1 Vincennes Rivet.

The Lady Patriots held Canterbury’s senior center off the board and the glass for the entire first quarter, but were unable to keep her out of the paint the rest of the day, and Gerardot finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds to go along with 8-of-13 shooting from the field. The contest was a rematch of the 2009 state title game, won by Canterbury in overtime, 72-66.

Vincennes Rivet came out of the gate strong, led in part by 6 first-half points from junior sharpshooter Sara Young. Senior guard Chelsea Meeks, the only starter on either team who did not start last year’s title game, grabbed 6 first-half rebounds to go with 5 points, and the Lady Patriots led 25-23 at the midpoint.

After the break, Canterbury senior Cassie Kreiger, who was 0-for-5 from the field in the first half, scored the first 6 points to give the Lady Cavaliers a quick lead, and combined with Gerardot for 33 of Canterbury’s 46 second half points.  Kreiger finished the contest with 14 points.

Meeks, who tallied 18 points, was the high scorer for Tim Young’s Vincennes Rivet team, and Sara Young added 15 on 5-of-10 shooting from behind the 3-point arc. The Lady Patriots had their 26-game winning streak snapped in the final game of the season and finished the year 26-1. For Scott Kreiger’s Lady Cavaliers, the win caps an 18-game winning streak and put the wraps on a 25-2 campaign.

Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Tabitha Gerardot of Fort Wayne Canterbury 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.

Gerardot has helped to lead the Cavaliers to three straight Class A state finals appearances and holds the top spot as the single game rebounding leader in Class A with 17 boards, which she set in 2008 and matched again in 2009.

She is a member of the Cum Laude Society, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, and the Canterbury Peer Tutoring Program.  Tabitha is active in her church youth group and has volunteered with the Women’s Care Center and Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne.  Most recently, she has coordinated a donation program to assist Burmese refugees living in the Fort Wayne area.

Academically, she is ranked seventh in her class and has been named to the Headmaster’s List every semester.  She will attend Valparaiso University next fall and major in Foreign Language.

She is the daughter of Chris and Pam Gerardot of Fort Wayne.

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, will present a $1,000 scholarship to Canterbury High School in the name of Gerardot.

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.

“Just like last year when we were here, we were 19-2 and if we were 18-3, we wouldn’t be here.”

“That’s what a championship team does.  I just couldn’t be more proud of the kids.”

“Someday I’ll tell you how to sum this up, but right now I can’t put it in to words.  And we’ve been living this dream for three years and you just never want it to stop.  Maybe then I’ll know.”

“It’s just an amazing, exhilarating feeling to share it with these kids and these coaches, and our school and community.”

“I give all of the credit to Rivet.  They got into us physically and made it tough for us to get through our sets.  We forced some shots trying to draw some contact.  We didn’t play well in the first half but we were only down by two.  We thought we were wearing them down a little bit.  We thought we could continue to attack the basket but we also needed to get some other kids on track.  We needed to get Cassie (Kreiger) started.  We ran a set for her right off the bat.  She banged a three and we were off to the races and everybody else kind of fell in line.”

On how to replace Tabitha Gerardot:  “You don’t replace her.  We try to find kids who can do things well.  She is absolutely one of the finest basketball players you will ever see.  She’s a big-game player, she brought it again today.  But she can’t win this by herself, she’ll be the first one to tell you.  We’ve got several places we need to fill.  It’s going to be a hard job, but we’ve got some time to think about it.”

On being in Fort Wayne:  “When we heard it was going to be at the Coliseum there was an immediate buzz of pressure that landed on us.  ‘Wait a second, there’s a whole lot of things that have to happen between today and us playing at the Coliseum in March.’  I think we tried to downplay that because that’s an unnecessary distraction.  Once we got to the point where we could think about it, that was really exciting.”

"It’s more than about the tournaments and the trophies.  I think it’s the relationships and that they trust each other.  What they do together is important.  They represent themselves, the school, and community with great honor and integrity.  As a coach, that means more than any championship you can ever win.”

“We got beat by a very good basketball team today.   But it seemed like they got every bounce and every break – today wasn’t our day.  We are very proud of what we have accomplished this year.”

“Tabitha Gerardot is just an unbelievable force and we knew we had to reckon with that all day.  Their length gave us problems.”

“We’ll be back.  Things have turned around at Rivet High School.  Things are looking bright.  Third, fourth, and fifth grade girls are in the gym wanting to play for Rivet.  If you think things are over for Rivet you better think twice.”

“We lose two great seniors in Chelsea Meeks and Victoria Brocksmith.  We gave it all we had and the young ladies left it on the court.  We’ll just have to wait another 365 days I guess.”

“We just had two good teams going after each other both offensively and defensively all day.  I’m proud of these young ladies.  We’ve been in the state finals two years in succession.  That’s quite an accomplishment.”

Junior Sara Young (#22)

“We really wanted to win this year.  Getting beat will motivate us even harder to get back here next year.  We really wanted to win with Chelsea (Meeks) this year.”

Senior Chelsea Meeks (#3)
“I would have liked to go out with a win.  But just having the opportunity to play in the state finals with these girls was great and I wouldn’t change anything.”