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Parent's Double-Double leads Canterbury to first state title

Rich Torres, Special to
Posted: March 30, 2024
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Photo Credit: Double Edge Media @demllc

INDIANAPOLIS – Prior to Saturday’s Class 1A boys basketball state championship game, Fort Wayne Canterbury head coach Deric Adams emphasized his team’s goal to “hang banners.”

By the final horn, the Cavaliers’ seniors made certain that aspiration was achieved with a  48-41 victory over No. 8 Bethesda Christian inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.

Senior John Parent scored a game-high 22 points with 10 rebounds, while senior Devon Lewis had 12 points to secure FW Canterbury’s first-ever Indiana High School Athletic Association boys basketball state championship.

The state title marks the school’s 15th overall and eighth for a boys program with seven amassed by the boys soccer team. The girls soccer team has two in its history, and the girls basketball team has won five since 2008.

However, this weekend belonged to the boys basketball team, which was competing in its first state finals in school history.


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Senior John Parent of Canterbury (2) led all scorers with 22 points (Photo credit: Double Edge Media @demllc).


“This part of the reward is for the hard work, energy and effort that they put in themselves and for each other throughout the season,” Adams said.

With eight seniors on the roster, the Cavaliers (19-9) welcomed four transfers last year before each gained eligibility this past January. Once the upperclassmen formed a cohesive chemistry, they rolled to win eight consecutive games entering the state finals.

The Cavaliers’ ninth straight win required defense, as both Bethesda Christian (23-8) and Canterbury traded leads 10 times and were locked in five ties before a 10-4 run in the fourth quarter determined the outcome.

Bethesda Christian was held scoreless for approximately 5 minutes, 12 seconds in the final quarter, but despite failing to find a basket for three-plus minutes of their own, the Cavaliers turned to Lewis and Parent and both stepped up.

A layup with 5:15 remaining by Lewis put the Cavaliers ahead 40-37 before a pair of free throws by Parent three-minutes later continued a 6-0 run.

“I think it was just the idea of getting back to our basics. Defense has been where we start everything. All season, we said from day one, and it’s very cliché, but defense travels, and we’re going to have nights when we can’t throw it in the ocean from the beach, so let’s make sure we’re defending,” Adams said.

The Cavaliers’ defense pressured the Patriots into nine turnovers and 32.6 percent shooting in the game compared to Canterbury’s 46.2 percentage. The Cavaliers led for more than 22 minutes, but their biggest lead didn’t materialize until the final minute.

Bethesda Christian entered the state title game winners of 18 straight games, including six consecutive in the state tournament with margins of victory of at least 11 points. The Patriots carried a 61.5-36.3 points per game margin of victory.

Against Canterbury their largest lead was five points early in the second quarter.

Senior Luke Douglas had a team-high 13 points, senior Cooper Jackson had nine points and seven rebounds and junior Steven Tierney finished with nine points, as the Patriots attempted to rally back late in their first state finals appearance in program history.

A Jackson bucket in the lane with 1:33 left in the third quarter tied the game at 32-all, but a Parent 3-pointer seconds later broke the game’s final deadlock.

Douglas cut the deficit to one point, 38-37, with 5:43 remaining in the game. From there, the Patriots’ offense fell silent, and the Cavaliers settled in to win.

“We trusted each other to make the right play, and I guess this is the outcome of it,” Day said. “No one really thought of us as a great basketball program until now. Semi-State was a big accomplishment as well. Being the first team to ever get past there, so I’d say we have a few good things that we put together for Canterbury.”

Day and Parent both transferred from Homestead to Canterbury in 2023 and joined the program along with senior transfers Colin Burda (2 points) and Jackson Davis.

Teamed with Lewis and fellow seniors Ashton Dressler (4 points) and Deacon and Dillon Wardlow, the Cavaliers broke through to beat rival Southwood en route to their seventh sectional title all time and netted a first regional since winning the 2A title in 2016.

The Cavaliers opened their season 2-7 before finishing 17-2, making them the first 1A state champion since Lafayette Central Catholic (18-9 in 2003) with nine losses.

A total of four schools had won a state title with nine losses prior to Canterbury in Anderson (1935), Jasper (1949) and Bowman (2013).

In the past three years, FW Canterbury posted seasons of five, eight and nine wins, respectively, and this year’s winning record is the first since former coach Scott Kreiger mentored the team to a 16-11 finale in 2015-16.

“It’s really a blessing. I’ve been here for four years, gone through a lot of adversity and to make it all the way here by senior year is a great experience just to come here and prove everybody wrong. It’s a great feeling,” Lewis said.

“Once (the new guys) came in, it took a little adjustment, but then we kind of gelled all together and we just went from there. It was kind of easy. Some of us played with these guys in AAU, so they weren’t unfamiliar.”

Neither are state titles or the banners hanging from their gymnasium ceiling where coach Adams had his team look before their season began to visualize what they were focused on becoming by late March.

“We as a basketball program, we knew we wanted to be in the exact same position as the soccer team, so it’s a great feeling,” Lewis said.

Parent provided the Cavaliers’ final two points, going 2-for-2 from the foul line where he was 4-of-4. He shot 2-of-5 from 3-point range and was 8-of-15 from the field.

“It means a lot to us honestly. We came here knowing we had a really good shot, and I guess we came out and showed everyone we could do it,” Parent said. “I just played as hard as I could out there, especially since it’s my last high school game ever. I just gave it my all and stayed confident. We’re really blessed, and we’re really excited to have this.”


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Bethesda Christian's Cooper Jackson blocks the shot of Centerbury's Devon Lewis (Photo credit: Double Edge Media @demllc). 


Class 1A State Championship Records


Bethesda Christian's Luke Douglas named Mental Attitude Award recipient
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Luke Douglas of Bethesda Christian High School as the winner of the Ray Craft Mental Attitude Award in Class 1A 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.

Luke is a member of the National Honor Society, volunteers at Assisted Living Care, and has journeyed to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip. In basketball, Luke was named the Indy Star "Player of the Week" during the 2022-2023 season, he's been voted Captain two years in a row while at Bethesda and has helped lead the team to their first regional and semi-state title. He is also a participant on the soccer and golf teams at Bethesda.

He is the son of Rob and Tracy Douglas of Brownsburg, Indiana and plans to attend Grace College to study Exercise Science with a Pre-Physical Therapy concentration and play on the JV Basketball Program.

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 Bethesda Christian High School in the name of Luke Douglas.

The award is named in honor of the former IHSAA Associate Commissioner Ray Craft, who served at nearly every level of Indiana secondary education and interscholastic athletics during his career from 1983 to 2008.

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Bethesda Christian senior Luke Douglas (2) became the first IHSAA mental attitude award recipient from his school (Photo credit Double Edge Media @demllc).