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Luers second half propels Knights to record-tying championship

Mike Beas, Special to
Posted: February 24, 2024
2023-24 2A GBB Photo 1
Photo Credit: Double Edge Media @demllc

INDIANAPOLIS - The celebratory pile near the top of the key was highlighted by a total of 22 pink tennis shoes.

Fort Wayne Bishop Luers players had just heard the final buzzer sound on the program’s record-tying seventh state championship, and frankly, what ensued proved difficult to miss.

Trailing Brownstown Central by nine points at halftime, the Knights remained poised, assembled one of the season’s more-adhesive defensive efforts and rallied for a 44-36 victory inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

“I think it was the tale of two halves,” said 10th-year Luers coach Mark Pixley after the Knights pulled even with Heritage Christian in all-time titles among girls teams in Indiana.

“The first half, we were turning the ball over. We weren’t rebounding the basketball, and we were letting them get to the free throw line. “We just told the girls, we’ve just to got to start playing our ball. It was calm (at halftime), but we were definitely making a point. These girls just really responded.”

A total of 3 minutes, 2 seconds was all that was needed for Luers to score the nine consecutive points necessary to turn a 24-15 halftime deficit into a 24-24 tie to open the third period. The momentum-altering sequence began with senior guard Annika Davis’ baseline runner followed by a Davis 3-pointer from the left wing.

Sophomore center Miley Wareing took it from there by making good on four consecutive free throw attempts.

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Maggie Parent (11) of Fort Wayne Bishop Luers shooting over the outstretched hand of Kinzee Dean (22) of Brownstown Central (Photo credit Double Edge Media @demllc).


Brownstown Central, which started five underclassmen and has only one senior on its 13-player roster, grabbed the lead on three more occasions in the third quarter and once more a minute into the fourth.

A layup from sophomore guard Harley Toppe off a Braves’ steal put Brownstown Central up, 35-34, but a Wareing bucket down low 23 seconds later gave the Knights the lead for good. Fort Wayne Luers’ defensive prowess coupled with converted free throws allowed it to gradually create more separation on the scoreboard.

Brownstown Central converted only 5 of 22 field goal attempts in the second half; for the game, the Braves were a bone-chilling 2 of 22 from behind the 3-point stripe.

All told, a most ideal scenario for Knights seniors Davis, 6-foot post Addie Shank and guard Kyndal Tyree to conclude their high school basketball careers – helping Luers to its first girls basketball state championship since 2011.

Ironically, that, too, was a victory over Brownstown Central, 59-46, at War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne.

“I knew that we had these three seniors, and these are girls I’ve grown up with,” said Shank, who finished with three points and three rebounds. “Going in, that’s what I was playing for. I just love playing with these girls.

“We all knew we had left points out there (in the first half). We had stuff to do. I knew in that locker room (at halftime) that we were going to go out and win. I saw on everyone’s faces that we were going to go out, lock in and get that win.”

Wareing scored 10 of her game-high 17 points in the third quarter to go along with 10 rebounds for a double-double. Davis added 10 points, five assists and two steals as the Knights finished with a 20-6 record. Sophomore center Sophie Wischmeier had 11 points – all in the first half – and eight boards to pace the Braves (21-10), while Toppe added 10 points and three steals.

Fifth-year Brownstown Central coach Brandon Allman, too, saw the game as two entirely different halves in terms of execution and momentum.

“We really executed well in the first half, and, really defensively, taking away some of their strengths and what they wanted to do,” said Allman. “In the second half, the momentum changed. We weren’t who we were. We forced some shots, and turned the basketball over. I think it was more us. We took some really quick shots, and our bad shots allowed them to get out in transition and get some momentum. And they were just able to get the basketball inside more in the second half.”

Brownstown Central raised some eyebrows with its deep postseason run given its youth. That won’t be the case should it do so again next season given the surplus of talent expected to return.

“It makes you want to win. It makes you want to work harder in the offseason,” said Braves’ junior guard Jenna Klosterman, who scored seven points to go along with six rebounds and five assists. “It was such a cool and neat experience. I’m so glad I got to experience that with my teammates and coaches.”

Class 2A State Championship Records

Most 3FG Attempted: 15 by Harley Toppe, Brownstown Central.

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Kyndall Tyree (4) of Fort Wayne Bishop Luers battles Jenna Closterman (24) of Brownstown Central for a rebound (Photo credit: Double Edge Media @demllc).


Brownstown’s Kelsey Schneider earns Roy Mental Attitude Award

Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Kelsey Schneider of Brownstown Central High School as the winner of the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award in Class 2A 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.

The only senior on this year’s Braves team, Schneider carries a 3.7 GPA while serving as both secretary and treasurer for her class. She also is a member of the Booster Club, Letterman’s Club, National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

She is expected to earn nine varsity letters in her career while playing basketball, softball, cross country and cheerleading.

She is the daughter of James and Kim Schneider of Brownstown, IN and plans to attend DePauw University where she will play softball for the Tigers. She is undecided on her field of study.

She joins former Brownstown Central girls basketball player Samantha Bane as recipients of this award. Bane was the 2A recipient in 2011.

The Indiana Fever and Indiana Pacers, the presenting sponsors of the IHSAA Girls Basketball State Tournament, presented a $1,000 scholarship to the general scholarship fund at Brownstown Central High School in the name of Kelsey Schneider.

The award is named in honor of the late former IHSAA assistant commissioner Patricia L. Roy, who oversaw the girls basketball state tournament from its inception in 1976 until her retirement in 1999.

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Kelsey Schneider of Brownstown Central was named the recipient of the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award by the IHSAA Executive Committee (Photo credit: Double Edge Media @demllc)