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Class 1A State Championship Preview

Rich Torres, Special to
Posted: February 23, 2024
Lanesville vs Marquette Catholic graphic

If the magnitude of last year’s state championship run hadn’t quite sunk in for the Lanesville Eagles, it did on media day held inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse in preparation for the 49th Annual Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Girls Basketball State Finals this weekend.

With the cover of the 2023-24 State Finals event program unveiled on nearly every video screen within the downtown Indianapolis venue, Lanesville junior Hadley Crosier had to do a double take as she discovered her picture front and center in high-definition LED everywhere.

“It’s definitely really cool,” Crosier remarked. “Walking into Gainbridge Fieldhouse and every single TV has your picture on it. It’s definitely something very special. It’s an honor, honestly.”

It’s also a recognition for what the top-ranked Class A Eagles (28-1) have and could accomplish again when they face No. 5 Marquette Catholic (24-4) at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

After winning their first-ever state title in girls basketball program history, the Eagles have a chance to become the first repeat Class A champions since Marquette Catholic went back-to-back in 2018 and 2019.

Coincidently, the Marquette Catholic Blazers haven’t been on the verge of a title since coach Katie Collignon’s program set the standard the Eagles are now chasing.

“Oh, that takes away our back-to-back. It’ll make it not so special,” Collignon joked. “Honestly, my kids have no idea. I’m sure I’ll have to tell them that we were the reigning back-to-back champs, but kudos to Lanesville. It’s very hard to do once or even try to do it twice. We know we have a big opponent in front of us, so to be able to (stop them) would be pretty cool.”

The Blazers have made it their mission this postseason to have a forward focus while eliminating two top-10 opponents, including No. 2 Clinton Central, 72-70, on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Marissa Pleasant during the Frankfort Semi-State finals.

The Blazers ended the regular season on an 0-2 lull but since then they've won six straight to position themselves for a potential third state title in seven years and a third in coach Collignon’s eight-year, 142-win career.

“It has been a goal to get back. Those state championship teams were so special, and with the 13-14 seniors that were all one class, it was always the focal point that really felt like if we didn't do it, we failed,” said Collignon, who is also the principal at Marquette Catholic.

“This group has never been like that. They’re young. They’re gritty. They work hard, so just to play our best basketball in February has been very rewarding to see. To get our school back on the map where we’ve dipped out of the past few years is really rewarding.”


The Class 1A State Championship featuring Lanesville (28-1) and Marquette Catholic (24-4) will stream via PPV on this Saturday at 10:30 am ET / 9:30 CT!


Much like their team statistical comparison, both programs are searching for the same finale, and they very well could utilize the same methods to reach it with rebounding, defense and second-chance shots highlighting the key points to victory.

“As the game goes on, I think, we’ve worn people down a little bit and then be able to be more comfortable in what we’re doing,” Lanesville head coach Angie Hinton said.

“They live on that pressure they put on you and on the boards. We know that’s something we’re going to have to deal with. I actually watched them play earlier in the year, and (Laniah Davis’) name, being such a good scorer catches your attention a little bit, and I thought, they have a chance to be there.”

Davis, a 5-foot-7 sophomore, is the Blazers’ top scorer, averaging 20.0 points per game with Pleasant, a 5-7 frosh, not far behind at 10.2 ppg.

As the state’s 11th-best defensive team, Marquette Catholic has held their opponents to 33.1 ppg, but the Eagles, who have gone 56-3 since the start of 2022-23, are just as stingy at 33.5 ppg allowed.

“That’s what the state championship game is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be, hopefully, your two best teams in the state from the north and south, so we’re definitely going to run into a really good basketball team,” Hinton said.

“We have to take care of the basketball because their defensive pressure turns teams over, and they score off of that. We’re going to have to make some shots, so they’re not pulling down so many rebounds because they really crash the boards and get a lot of second-chance points. We’re going to have to be strong on the boards, too.”

They’re also going to rely on chemistry and a solid seven-person rotation, which has morphed as the season progressed.

Two weeks after Lanesville won its first state championship last February,  6-1 junior center Shelby Allen tore her anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in her knee while competing with her travel ball team.

Allen has worked with Lanesville school trainer Vince Stilger throughout her recovery, and she was cleared to compete approximately nine months after she suffered the injury. She suited up for the first time for the Eagles during the Vincennes tournament on Dec. 29.

As a sophomore, Allen averaged 6.9 ppg and 5.4 rebounds per game. In just 16 games this season since her return in mid-December, the Eagles’ primary post player has upped her totals to 12.1 ppg and 6.8 rpg.

“We’re pretty much a different team without her on the floor because we’re pretty much all guards. We had to kind of develop that base and bring her back in and now you have a different team,” Hinton said. “We’ve kind of meshed those two things together, but our kids work so hard, and they don’t really care who starts. It kind of gives us energy coming off the bench, so with her, we know what we’re going to get.”

Allen is typically the first reserve off the bench for Lanesville along with 5-5 junior guard Jane Davis, who was a starter before an injury limited her minutes late in the season. With both back on track, their reemergence has bolstered the Eagles’ depth with experience behind their starters.

“My two kids off the bench are going to bring something,” Hinton said. “It really doesn’t matter which one I put in there, but right now, they’re making it tough on me.”

Crosier leads the team with 15.8 ppg. Ava Kerr, a 5-5 senior, is contributing 9.8 ppg, followed by 5-7 junior Hylton Brumley’s 8.9 ppg and 5-10 senior forward Ellie Schneider’s 5.6 ppg. Emma Davis, a 5-6 senior, who replaced Jane Davis, is providing 4.6 ppg.

The Eagles’ versatility and resilience has proven significant en route to knocking off No. 3 Borden, 41-20, in the West Washington Sectional final and No. 8 Jac-Cen-Del, 62-40, in the New Albany Semi-State semifinals.

“It’s pretty challenging. We had a lot of question marks coming into this season, knowing that Shelby was injured and not knowing when or if we would get her back because that was going to be a key piece,” Hinton said. “We don’t have a lot of depth. We had been playing six for two-thirds of the season and getting her back in the rotation gave us another good player.”

At full strength, the Eagles are in good position to potentially win their 13th straight state tournament game, dating back to last year and 15th consecutive contest overall.

A victory for Lanesville would secure coach Hinton’s third state title in her career. Hinton, who owns a 325-95 record in 18 years overall and sixth year at Lanesville guided New Albany to the 1999 4A state title.

Last year’s state title appearance made her the fifth coach in IHSAA history to take two different programs to the state finals. The win helped her become the third coach to win the state championship at two different schools.

Now, the Eagles are attempting to do something never done before in Lanesville sports history. A repeat would secure the school’s third team state title all time and would give Crosier some bragging rights at home.

Her mother, Lacey (Farris), was a member of Hinton’s New Albany state title team.

“I’m not really looking to best her because she’s prouder of not just me but of this team from coaching us when we were little and working with us a lot. She’s prouder of our accomplishments than her own,” Crosier said. “She worked with us not because of what she wanted. She wanted us to have our own thing. She wanted us to have our own chance at something we’ve dreamed of forever.”

The dream is community wide from the student body and administration to the pep band and the diehard fans, and it’s one they’re looking to keep going after last year’s memorable finish.

“It’s unreal. We’ve played together since the second grade, and that’s something we’ve always dreamed about doing all together. Just to be here together and do it a second time with the same girls is amazing,” Kerr said. “It makes you feel like you want to win this for the community.”