Irish are ready to battle for Class 4A State title

Team will take on undefeated Chesterton


Ashlynn Bakemeyer

Head Coach Mr. Jason Delaney cuts down the nets at the Hatchet House in Washington after his team defeated Bloomington North in the Semistate on March 19.

Will Mayer, Sports Editor

After defeating Bloomington North in the Semistate, the Irish men’s basketball team is headed to the State championship game for the first time since 2013. The team will look to be the first Catholic school to win a 4A State championship, taking on a 29-0 Chesterton squad.

Head Coach Mr. Jason Delaney shares his thoughts heading into the big matchup.

“The mood in practice this week has been pretty normal. We’re not trying to change anything. We’re just trying to keep a routine. Obviously we’re not doing much physical work right now because we don’t want any injuries heading into this game, but there has been great energy from our guys in practice this week. The guys are focused on what’s ahead and they’re ready to go,” Delaney said.

Chesterton comes into this game undefeated, winning 29 straight games. The Trojans are led by senior point guard Travis Grayson, who averages 19.2 points per game. He is their only player who averages more than 10 points per game.

Delaney said, “They’re a great team. I think what most fans are going to see is a matchup between two great teams. Both teams have two outstanding point guards, but that’s not where this game is won. This game is won by the surrounding prices of the puzzle. They’re very well coached, they play extremely hard and they’re never out of games. They’re dangerous. They don’t know how to lose. Most people don’t understand, but we’re the underdogs this time around. We’re handed with the task of giving them their first loss this season.”

Chesterton Head Coach Mr. Marc Urban did not reply to a reporter’s email requesting an interview.

The Irish have been starting games very hot in the tournament, but they’ve shown signs of a lack of focus by blowing double-digit halftime leads against Terre Haute North in the Regional and Bloomington North in the Semistate. Chesterton has multiple come-from-behind wins throughout their season during which they were trailing at halftime.

Delaney said, “The blue State championship ring is our motivation for this game. We have to keep our eyes locked in on the prize because when we lose focus, bad things start to happen like we saw in the previous tournament rounds. We cannot take our foot off the gas this time around. We have one game to be perfect,” the coach said.

Delaney has not coached in a State championship game since leading his loaded Arsenal Tech team in 2014, which included NBA star Trey Lyles, to a State title. In Delaney’s fifth year as head coach on the Hill he struggled to get a Sectional win under his belt with this year’s group of seniors — until this year. Th9se losses built the fire for this Irish team coming into this season.

Delaney said, “The last thing I’m going to tell the guys before taking the court is ‘I love you.’ The amount of trial and tribulation our guys, especially our seniors, have been through has been tough, but they’ve came out of it stronger and it’s showed with the way they’ve played this year. Knowing that it’s my last game with this specific group is tough, but it’s just the reality of it. There is only one way to go out this year for us, and that is victorious.”

The Irish play the Chesterton Trojans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 26. Tip off is at 8:15 p.m.