IHSAA State Finals Class A Recap

March 3, 2012

Fort Wayne Canterbury Tops Resilient Northeast Dubois in Class A
The venue was different, but the result was the same for the Fort Wayne Canterbury Cavaliers.

When No. 1-ranked Canterbury defeated the No. 5-rated Northeast Dubois Jeeps 64-54 in the Class A girls basketball state championship game, it marked the fourth championship in five years for the Cavs. Canterbury's four titles have come at four different sites -- Indianapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, the Allen County Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne and this one in Terre Haute's Hulman Center.

But this victory didn't come easily for Coach Scott Kreiger's Cavs (25-2), who arrived in the game as the state's top-scoring team with an 82.2 mean and an average victory margin of 30.3. Coach Alan Matheis' Jeeps (22-5) played resilient and tough-minded basketball. They used a 12-0 run in the third quarter to edge within a point, 38-37, before Canterbury pulled away in the fourth quarter.

It was Canterbury's second state title of the school year. The Cavalier boys won the Class A soccer championship on Oct. 29. Northeast Dubois, which leads Indiana with 10 consecutive girls basketball sectional titles, was seeking its first state championship in any sport.

Canterbury had double-digit scoring from four of its five starters. Darby Maggard led with 17 points. Kindell Fincher and Bailey Farley had 15, and Aaliyah Gaines scored 10. Fincher collected 15 rebounds.

Northeast Dubois put three starters in double figures -- Nicole Dodd with 20, Rachel Breitwieser with 15 and Mariah Seng with 10. Breitwieser grabbed 17 rebounds as the Jeeps outrebounded the Cavs 43-29.

Northeast Dubois Mariah Seng named Roy Mental Attitude Award Winner
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Mariah Seng of Northeast Dubois High School as the winner of the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award in Class A Girls Basketball.

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.

Seng ranks third in her senior class with a 3.9 GPA, serves on the student council and is involved with the Natural Helpers group and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

She is the daughter of Tom and Nan Seng of Dubois, Ind. and plans to enroll at the University of Southern Indiana to work toward a doctorate in Nursing.

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

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.

Coach Comments

Fort Wayne Canterbury Coach Scott Kreiger
“I’m really proud of our team. When they had the opportunity today to win a state championship game, they showed up.”

“Northeast Dubois is a nice basketball team and they gave us all we wanted. But our kids were able to answer the challenge when it came down to it. They were able to make enough plays to end up on top.”

“We always feel like when it comes to closing time, we’ve got one of the best around in Darby (Maggard). You can’t take it away from her and she doesn’t miss free throws. When you make a team run hard all game long and then challenge them to try to trap you and steal it in the last couple of minutes, it’s just not gonna happen. That’s been part of our game plan all year.”

“Northeast Dubois defended us as well as anyone all year and really made it tough for us to get where we wanted to go and get the shots we wanted to get.”

“In the beginning of the season, they were good basketball players, but not a very good basketball team. Through December, we really worked through some tough times. Even though we were winning some games, we weren’t winning games in a way that would manifest themselves for championships down the line. In January and February, they figured it out and became a very good basketball team.”

(On expectations of Canterbury basketball)
“I think everyone is aware of the recent history. I think everyone wants to live up to that. At the same time, everyone wants to blaze their own trail. The 2010 team knew itself very well. This team had to experience some growing pains. I think the challenge for this team may have been greater than some of the teams that have come before.”

Northeast Dubois Coach Alan Matheis
“I thought we were competitive throughout the game today. The problem was in the first half we gave Canterbury four or five easy baskets off their transitions from steals or rebounds. In the second half, we made adjustments to make the game closer.”

“We wanted to stop their transition game and we were giving up the three point shot today. Sure enough, they went ahead and made some threes like a good team would do. They forced us in to play their game most of the day.”

“In the first half, we played at our tempo even though they came out and pressured us man-to-man. In the second half, they went to a zone and we were able to take advantage of that. If they had stayed in the zone, I think we could have gotten over that one-point deficit and maybe gotten the lead.”

“I feel if we could have gotten the lead we might have had Canterbury in a situation they’ve not been in and it might have turned out different.”

“Rebounding in a game like this can give you an advantage in handling the intensity. But they are very offensive-minded and we were not able to keep up with them.”

“We play in an excellent conference in the Blue Chip Conference. Seven of the last eight years, there has been a team in our conference playing in the state finals. Our conference is always competitive and playing good competition helped us in the tournament and got us to the state finals.”

Northeast Dubois Mariah Seng
“We haven’t seen the type of game Canterbury plays a lot. They like to push the ball and score a lot of points but I was happy with our effort today.”

(On winning the mental attitude award)
“It was awesome just to be nominated for the mental attitude award. Winning it was not even in my wildest dreams.”