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Miller's 32 leads Scottsburg to its first-ever basketball crown

Rich Torres, Special to
Posted: March 30, 2024
2023-24 BBB 3A Photo 1
Photo Credit: Double Edge Media @demllc

INDIANAPOLIS – Scottsburg head coach Eric Richardson was momentarily lost for words after the game.

Senior Kody Clancy was quick to credit the thunderous Scottsburg crowd packed inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse during Saturday’s Class 3A boys basketball state finals.

Senior Jack Miller noted a motivational conversation held between himself and coach Richardson during preparation week as one of the key ingredients responsible for Scottsburg’s historic 67-57 state finals victory and first-ever state championship.

“Coach Rich had some motivation to give me at practice, getting on my rear end, and I think at the end of the (state) game, he told me, ‘You’re welcome for that,’” Miller joked. “I had a lot of confidence in my teammates. They got me going early and I was able to get it going a little bit.”

Miller converted the Warriors’ first basket nearly two minutes into the first quarter of their first-ever state finals appearance, and he buried the last, going 1-for-2 from the foul line in the final 19.7 seconds, to cement fourth-ranked Scottsburg’s name in the record books.

Miller finished with a game-high 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting while hauling in four rebounds and knocking down three 3-pointers, and the Warriors (25-5) survived a tug-of-war contest which showcased eight lead changes and five ties.

“For the last three years, the theme for us has been just, ‘Play Together.’ They did a tremendous job of that,” Richardson said. “Like I said earlier, it’s a different guy every night. We had a lot of guys who play for each other. They don’t play for themselves, and that’s really the big thing for what we tried to create over the last four years, being a team and playing for each other.”

Growing up hearing about the great Warriors’ teams of yesteryear, Clancy and the other seniors jumped out fast to add their names to the list, building an 11-point lead against the Saint Joseph Huskies (20-10) by the six-minute mark in the second quarter.


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Scottsburg's Jack Miller poured in 32 points to lead the Warriors to the school's first boys basketball state championship (Photo credit: Double Edge Media @demllc).


A 9-2 run powered by Miller and Clancy put Scottsburg in control, 28-17, but the Huskies, who were making their first state finals appearance in 31 years, turned the tide with a 17-5 run of their own.

“It was a heck of a season for our guys, and I thought they showed what they’re made of for 32 minutes today, so I’m real proud of the guys,” Saint Joseph head coach Eric Gaff said.

The Huskies clawed back and took their largest lead of the game, 34-33, with 1:38 remaining until halftime behind a Chase Konieczny putback shot.

Konieczny had a team-high 15 points with 11 rebounds, shooting 6-of-16 with three assists. Senior Jerry Barca added 12 points with three 3-pointers.

Clancy pushed the Warriors ahead 35-34 by intermission with a pair of foul shots, and Miller capped the first quarter with a buzzer-beating putback, but Scottsburg’s 1-3-1 zone defense proved the difference maker in the second half.

The Huskies were charged with 16 turnovers in the game and surrendered 23 points to the Warriors in that category.

“Short answer is we weren’t able to get as many turnovers as we wanted, and the times that we did, we weren’t able to capitalize on it,” Gaff said. “On their end, they were tremendous. I felt like we gave them a few easy turnovers, and then they did a great job of getting to the basket and making the extra pass.”

The Warriors were out rebounded 35-17 and were outdone in second chance shooting 22-8, but they made up for their shortcomings with composure established over the past decade-plus from playing together since grade school.

“When we got going on Thursday, the coaches had a chance to watch some video (on South Bend), and we knew they were going to pressure us. That was a big focus over the last two weeks, take care of the basketball. Be strong with it. Be ball tough, and these guys did a phenomenal job,” Richardson said.

“We knew we could get to this point, and I told this story a few weeks ago about when (Kody Clancy) was in seventh grade. I told him and Caden (Richardson), we had an opportunity to be special if they continued to work. They put in a lot of work, played a lot of basketball together.”

South Bend Saint Joseph refused to quit despite foul trouble for senior standout Jayce Lee, who had 11 points in 23 minutes. Averaging 15.5 ppg, Lee sat in the second half, but as he rotated back in, the Huskies charged back to take a 50-49 lead by the end of the third.

“He’s a difference maker with his speed and athleticism and obviously the way he plays the game, he’s kind of that motor for us. It definitely changed up our look,” Gaff said. “Any time you lose one of your best players, it’s going to hurt you.”

The Warriors had three double-digit scorers. Clancy followed Miller with 20 points, and fellow senior Wyatt Zellers added 10 points.

Sophomore Garrett Boling, the only Warrior off the bench, subbed in for Zellers, who had second-half foul trouble, and put Scottsburg back in front, 51-50, to open the fourth with a layup.

A putback by junior Dare Bowles increased the lead, 53-50, but a quick pass from Caden Richardson (game-high 7 assists) to Zellers for a rim-rocking, two-handed baseline dunk almost four minutes later whipped the Scottsburg crowd into a frenzy.

A few seconds later, Miller sliced through the lane for a two-handed dunk of his own, turning a five-point lead into a back-breaking seven-point advantage, 64-57, with 1:08 remaining in the game.

“The crowd was great. Our fans always travel well. They always play a huge part in the game,” Clancy said. “When Jack got that dunk late in the fourth, I thought my eardrums busted for a second, but they’re feeling better now.”

The Warriors had 40 points scored in the paint and six fast-break points. They shot 5-of-18 from 3-point range and 55.6 percent from the field.

“They’ve played a lot of tough games over the last three, four years and that was a gutsy performance. We took South Bend Saint Joe’s best shot. They shot lights out in the first half. They kicked our butt on the boards, and we finally got a few stops there in the fourth quarter and got some timely rebounds,” Richardson said. “I’m just proud of these guys.”

The Warriors capped their school’s first state title finish since the girls basketball program won it all in 1989 on a decisive 9-0 run.

“As a player and someone who’s grown up in Scott County, there are a lot of great stories from the teams back in the ’50s and ’60s. We heard about them. When I played, I wanted to be like the ’78, ’79 that won back-to-back sweet 16s, obviously that was before class (basketball),” Richardson said.

As for today’s Warriors and their championship banner legacy, coach Richardson already has the perfect spot reserved for immortality.

“We got a place picked out. Right next to our final four (banner) from last year, which we’re proud of, but it’s going to go right next to it. Right in the middle of (Charles E.) Meyer Gym,” Richardson said. 


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Saint Joseph's Jayce Lee (24) looks to move past his Scottsburg defender (Photo credit: Double Edge Media @demllc).


Class 3A State Championship Records

Saint Joseph’s Jerry Barca named Trester Mental Attitude Award Winner

Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Jerry Barca of Saint Joseph High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class 3A Boys Basketball.

The award is presented annually to a senior participant in each classification who was nominated by his principal and coach and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.

Jerry is second in his senior class of 173 students, Class of 2024 Salutatorian, and is the 2024 recipient of the Lily Scholar Award. Besides basketball, Jerry also participates on the Track and Field team at Saint Joseph, competing in the High Jump and 200-meter sprint event. He continues his hard work in other activities such as Boys and Girls Club, Saint Joseph High School Unity Council, and is Saint Joseph's Student Body President. 

He is the son of Jerry and Beth Barca of Granger, Indiana and plans to attend the University of Notre Dame to study Neuroscience. 

The Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever, the presenting sponsors of the IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament, presented a $1,000 scholarship to the general scholarship fund at Saint Joseph High School in the name of Jerry Barca.

The award is named in honor of the late Arthur L. Trester, who served as the first IHSAA commissioner from 1929 to 1944 as a guiding force after the Great Depression.  


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Jerry Barca of Saint Joseph earned the Trester Mental Attitude Award (Photo credit: Double Edge Media @demllc).