Next up for the Irish: Terre Haute North

Men’s basketball team moves on to the Regional


Ashlynn Bakemeyer

Members of the team stand with the Sectional trophy after the Irish defeated Lawrence North in the championship game at North Central on March 5.

Will Mayer, Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team took home the Sectional title for the first time since 2013 with a 63-49 win over Lawrence North and the Wildcats’ very talented roster. The Irish had to beat powerhouses North Central and Arsenal Tech just to get to the title game. This was the first Sectional title with the Irish for basketball Head coach Mr. Jason Delaney.

The Irish now will face Terre Haute North in the Regional at Southport on March 12 at noon. If Delaney’s team wins that game, they would play the winner of the Ben Davis-Mount Vernon game that night for the Regional title and a berth in the following week’s Semistate.

Delaney said, “This year’s Sectional championship was the 10th in school history. It was the first one in eight years and only the second one of us being in 4A, and the third one since 1998. We haven’t had a lot of postseason success in the program.”

The team is one step closer to turning that around.

“First, you go through five years of not winning a Sectional and that starts to weigh on you. You develop that hurdle you have to get over. First, we open up the Sectional against the Marion County champions in North Central. That’s the toughest first game you probably could’ve had. Second, we get Round 3 with Arsenal Tech. To play anyone three times in a season, there’s a lot of emotion there and you just kind of get sick of each other. That Tech team was extremely talented.

“Then, there was (Lawrence North) waiting on us. They had knocked us out three of the last four years. Once you get through all that, there’s a lot of emotions bottled up for us and the players. There was a lot of excitement and feelings of relief when we knew we were going to win the Sectional title,” the coach said.

Anxiety that built up over the years resulted in a burst of emotion when the Irish finally claimed the title. Even Delaney did a very popular dance in pop culture called “the griddy.” The coach said he promised his team that he would do the dance if they won the title, and indeed they did.

Delaney said, “It’s a moment you’ll always remember. I told the guys that they gave an absolutely outstanding effort and that we were extremely proud of them because when you look at the road we had to go through, it was not easy. But this now, for us, is a step in the process. Our goal was not to just win the Sectional title. This is a place of excellence. When you go out into that gym there’s no recognition of Sectional championships up there. You don’t see City championships. All you see is State championships. For us, our ultimate goal is to be remembered here as the first 4A State champions. We have a lot more to go. Enjoy the Sectional victory for a few days, then we have to get back to work.”

In the Regional at Southport, the Irish will match up against a very solid 23-4 Terre Haute North team that defeated Avon in the Sectional title game, having to beat Brownsburg to get there.

Delaney said, “They’re extremely talented. Their record doesn’t happen just by coincidence. Their coach has been there for a long time. He’s been very successful there. They upset Brownsburg, who a lot of people picked as the favorite in their Sectional. They play with a different style. They average 52 points a game and give up 43. It’s a much slower pace than what we normally play at. Whoever can dictate the tempo is going to win this game. They’re not huge but they shoot the ball very well. They’re going to be very physical and very fundamental. We just have to stay locked in and focused again when we play on (March 12).”

The Irish’s juniors on the squad all performing exceptionally well. Jaron Tibbs and Xavier Booker have really come alive in the state tournament while Jake Davis and Sincere Germany are continuing to consistently shoot the ball well. Their coach said, “We just have to keep doing what we do. That’s the beauty of this team. Each and every one of these guys are willing to sacrifice knowing that there’s other talented players around them. Any given night, any guy can go off and have a great number of points.

“That’s what makes us so dangerous. When you have talented players that are going to buy into the team first mentality, and play as hard as they can, great things are going to happen. It’s one of the things that makes us so special. These guys have bought in because they have a larger goal than just themselves.”

Delaney said in closing, “I hope the students, staff and all our fans continue to support (us) because the student section was awesome throughout the whole Sectional. It means a lot to our players. It’s really cool when the entire Cathedral family gets involved. I think it helps build relationships, and it’s such a cool experience. As you can see, it doesn’t happen every year here. It’s just awesome. Great things happen when the students come out to support their classmates.”