Coach Delaney prepares for possibility of facing former team at Sectional

Cathedral lost to the Titans in the 2013 Sectional final

Head Coach Jason Delaney on the sidelines against Franklin Central on Jan. 28. The Irish won 65-60.

Evan Schoettle

Head Coach Jason Delaney on the sidelines against Franklin Central on Jan. 28. The Irish won 65-60.

Griffin Spurgin, Reporer

As the snow starts to fall, Head Basketball Coach Mr. Jason Delaney prepares his team for the Sectional. At this time last year, Delaney was coaching at Arsenal Tech, a program on which he had a major impact. He was getting his team ready to face Lawrence Central in the first round of the Sectional. He now is implementing a new offensive and defensive system for the Irish boys’ team to win sectionals after playing the third hardest schedule in the state. Tech plays in the same six-team Sectional as Cathedral.

Delaney said, “It’s tough to be in the same Sectional because I have been with those kids since the start of their high school career. I’ve watched them grow up and they gave me everything they had.” In 2011, Delaney was hired as the head coach at Tech, and the Titans had not beaten the Irish for 13 years. That quickly changed.

The Tech vs. Cathedral game has turned into a rivalry the last several years with both teams having winning records and experiencing tournament success, but with Delaney’s team having the type of advantage that the Colts used to have in the AFC South. His Titans were 9-3 against Cathedral during his coaching tenure at Tech. The last loss to Cathedral was the 2013 Sectional final, and that Irish team went on to the Class 4A State championship game, where it lost to Carmel. This was the last time the Irish made it out of the Sectional. The school hired Delaney over the summer. Delaney said he and IPS “were headed in different directions,” and that’s what lead to his change of job. Delaney did not leave Tech without some sort of hardware.

Delaney’s 2014 Tech team ran the table, winning City, Sectional, Regional, Semistate and State championships, Delaney’s only Tech squad to win a Sectional or beyond. That team had a record of 27-2. Delaney’s overall record was 98-27 during his five years with the program.

To this year’s team, Delaney brings coaching experience that includes working with some of the state’s most talented players. Delaney coached such high-powered talent as Trey Lyles, who now plays for the Utah Jazz, and C.J. Walker, now at Florida State University. Delaney said, “They all were outstanding people and were the hardest workers on the team. They put the team before themselves because all they cared about was winning.” He said he wants his current players to give it their all in every practice and every game.

The team is led by seniors Tra Landers, who has started since his freshman year; Austin Kendrick; Daniel Goggans; and Jack Myers. Junior Jarron Coleman and sophomore James Franklin are underclassmen who gave the team big minutes this year. The teams record proves the team has done well considering the coaching change and have clicked together throughout the season. Landers, who has had to adjust from working with one coach during his freshman, sophomore and junior years and new coach during his senior year, said, “It was a big change going from one coach to another coming into my senior year.” He has been the vocal leader on the court as coach called for him to be more vocal. Landers was the point guard who called out the plays. He adjusted to Delaney’s offensive play style and played well. Players play to win and the Sectional is just the start.

The Irish are in the same Sectional as Tech, Lawrence North, Lawrence Central, Warren Central and North Central. Delaney said, “The Sectional is the hardest in the state if not the entire nation. It is like a state tournament run all by itself.” All six of these schools are in a 30 minute radius of each other. The players have all played with or against each other before whether it be in AAU or high school basketball. Landers said, “It’s interesting playing against the teams in Sectional because I know most of their players and it’s interesting seeing who will come out on top.” The Sectional will be played at North Central.