Bowman, city set sights on history in state hoops appearance
BY MICHAEL GONZALEZ Post-Tribune correspondent March 27, 2014 12:52PM
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The parade for the Thea Bowman Leadership Academy basketball team is to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday. Gary police and fire personnel will meet the team bus at Interstate 65 and 61st Avenue. The parade will begin at 53rd and Broadway, proceed north on Broadway and west on 11th Avenue. At Clark Road, the parade will head north to Fifth Avenue and east to the school at 975 W. 6th Ave. for a celebration, including comments from speakers, food, music and other entertainment.
Updated: April 29, 2014 6:22AM
GARY — Win or lose, the Thea Bowman Leadership Academy boys basketball team will make history Saturday, and school and city officials said they are planning a party for the team.
The Eagles will be the first team in Indiana boys basketball history to play in three successive classes for state titles, officials said.
“It’s just been hectic this whole week,” senior forward DeShawn Franklin said as he boarded a bus Thursday for Indianapolis. “Everyone’s excited to come and watch us play. It’s a good feeling, but it’s still a distraction. It’s been hectic.”
Bowman junior Donte Hunt said he already has made plans to watch the historic game downstate.
“It’s hyper here,” he said of the school. “Everybody’s ready for the weekend. This is about making history. (The Eagles) just play hard, and we’re a winning school.”
Whatever the outcome, the Eagles will return to a parade leading to a celebration at the school, assistant athletic director Jamaal Bradley said.
“We play a tough schedule all year, but we’re looking to make history,” he said. “Everyone’s just super excited to make history and be a part of history. At first everyone was a little skeptical, but now the city has come out in full force to support us.”
Under the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s relatively new “tournament success factor,” Bowman is the first team to win enough points in two postseason basketball tournaments to move up to the next class.
With its runner-up status in the 2012 state tournament and last year’s state title at the Class 2A level, Bowman qualified to compete in the Class 3A tournament. The Eagles (22-4) will face defending state champion Greensburg High School (27-1) on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
In 2010, Bowman won the state championship in Class 1A.
Chelsea Whittington, communications director for the city of Gary, said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who was traveling Thursday, will attend the state title game and participate in the parade and celebration at the school.