If I asked you what the biggest basketball story was in Indiana, what would be your answer?
Would you say the virtually impossible task of rebuilding the men’s team at Indiana University? How about the great run the Purdue Boilermakers men’s team has had? Perhaps there are even a few of you like myself who would say the extremely disappointing performance of our beloved Indiana Pacers?
You might also say the Butler men’s team running through their opposition in the Horizon League and finishing with a perfect conference record, which is a truly remarkable feat.
All of the aforementioned would be incorrect in my opinion, as the premiere hoops in this region are being played by the Ben Davis High School ladies team that is nothing less than a true juggernaut and on a mission to claim yet another state championship.
The statistics are both staggering and hard to fathom, with a 27-0 record this season and 57 straight victories overall dating back to last season. Their average margin of victory this season is a whopping 31 points a game, with their closest contest being a 52-40 victory over Warren Central in the Marion County Tournament.
Coach Stan Benge has enjoyed a Hall Of Fame-type career at Ben Davis, but this squad, which boasts four division one recruits, may just be his most outstanding.
While his seniors have played brilliantly, his best player may be junior power forward Bria Goss, who has averaged 16 points a game this season to go along with 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Goss has a wealth of support, as reflected in the 30 points a game collectively provided by the talented trio of Jordan Huber, Dorothy Williams, and Demetria Nunley-Lash. Make no mistake about it, this team is balanced and loaded.
With a win in the State Finals in Fort Wayne this weekend, they can also lay claim to the record for most consecutive victories with 58, eclipsing the old mark set by the ladies of Fort Wayne Northrop in a period running from 1985 to 1987. As you might imagine, such sacred ground being tread upon has generated a ton of enthusiasm and interest for what should be a fantastic championship game between Ben Davis and the Lady Pirates of Merrillville, who are no slouches themselves with a record of 25-1.
Look for the Lady Giants to run early, set a tempo Merrillville will not be able to handle, and claim their second straight state shampionship in the process.
Notes: The Ladies State Finals are being played in Fort Wayne due to a scheduling conflict with the Big Ten’s Women’s Tournament, which is at Conseco Fieldhouse this weekend. Hinkle Fieldhouse is also unavailable, due to Butler hosting the Horizon League Men’s Tournament. According to ISHAA Sport Information Director Jason Wille, a capacity crowd is expected at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. With three Fort Wayne schools in the class championships this weekend, it will indeed be a tough ticket. If you plan to attend and do not have tickets, you should call ahead to the coliseum box office at (260) 482-9502. You may also purchase them at Ticketmaster.com.
You can watch the Lady Giants pursue their rightful place in history on the Indiana Cable Network, which is carried by both Bright House and Comcast cable systems. The game will begin 40 minutes after the conclusion of the 3A title game, which starts at 6 p.m.
Danny Bridges, who feels this Lady Giants team is hands-down the best Indiana sports story to date in 2010, can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or Bridgeshd@aol.com.