The Greensburg Pirates hope to become the first back to back state basketball champions in school history.
They will battle the Bowman Academy Eagles, of Gary, for the Class 3A state title. Tipoff is 6 p.m. on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The Pirates won the 3A championship and Bowman Academy won the 2A title last year, making Saturday’s game the first time two defending champions will faceoff for the IHSAA 3A final.
The 13-players that make up the Greensburg squad have spent the past week in anticipation of the game, while managing expectations and homework. The week prior to the state championship last year fell on spring break, while school has been in session this time around.
On Wednesday night, some members of the team watched an NBA basketball game on television between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. Less than 24 hours later, the Greensburg Pirates were practicing on the same court Lebron James was on the night before.
Junior Ryan Welage said, “It is an honor just to be able to play on the same court!”
The team returned home from Indianapolis on Thursday afternoon to a pep rally in the high school gym. Welage said the team enjoys the build up to the big game, but is taking their opponent seriously.
“Watching a lot of film, our coaches have been doing a great job giving us a scouting report on every player,” Welage said. “[Bowman] plays a lot different than any other team we have faced before, so practice has been a lot different and it has been tough to prepare but the coaches have been doing great getting us ready for the game.”
The Greensburg community has been hit hard by recent tragedy. Students and faculty have mourned the loss of two classmates within the past month. The players hope the success on the basketball court can bring some joy to a community that can certainly use it.
“I think the basketball team has been a good rallying point for everyone. We have brought some good news to this town. I know there has been some bad stuff, but some good news around here is good,” senior Macy Holdsworth said.
Greensburg High School Principal Phillip Chapple noted the each player on the team also makes good grades in class.
Chapple said on Thursday, “My AP Calculus teacher said half of the students are out of class today at practice!”