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Boys basketball: Bowman brings home another state title

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Updated: April 25, 2013 7:22AM



INDIANAPOLIS — There he was again, just like in the Huntington North Semistate and North Judson Regional.

If the sport were baseball, Antonio Pipkin would be Bowman Academy’s closer.

If it were golf, he’d be the old Tiger Woods, hitting birdies down the stretch to prevent opponents from winning a major.

If it were football, he would be … um … himself, since that’s his other favorite sport.

But in basketball, the senior has been the Eagles’ go-to guy in the fourth quarter when the team needs it the most. And on the biggest stage, he did it again with 12 of his 16 points in the final 3:36 of the Class 2A state championship game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse after Linton-Stockton cut the lead to five.

In the end, it helped Bowman pull away for an 86-73 victory and a second state title in four years, this time in 2A after winning in 1A in 2010.

“Antonio and I have this strange relationship,” Bowman (18-9) coach Marvin Rea joked after the game. “When he got two fouls (in the first quarter), he told me, ‘let me foul out.’ I just looked at him and said, ‘Let me foul out?’ He was on the bench looking at me, giving me (the evil) eye, totally upset. After the basket when he put the ball down on the ground, I asked, ‘did he just curse me?’”

Instead, Pipkin, a usual starter, only played four minutes in the first half with just two points. Through three quarters he had eight minutes played and four points.

Then it was closing time as the Linton (24-4) faithful were pumped and momentum was on the Miners’ side.

Eight seconds after that TV timeout with 3:36 left, Pipkin drove to the hole and got fouled. He hit one of two free throws.

On the next possession he drove to the basket again, made the layup and drew the foul, hitting the free throw to extend the lead to nine.

After a layup by Arthur Haggard III and two free throws made by Linton, Pipkin was fouled again and hit both free throws for an 11-point lead with about two minutes left.

He had four more points in the final two minutes to seal the deal.

“I knew Tony would come back in and play hard — they have this thing about proving me wrong,” Rea said. “I just expect Tony to carry us down the stretch.”

When asked if he really did curse Rea, Pipkin laughed and said no.

“I was frustrated at the tick-tack fouls,” Pipkin said. “But seeing the guys step up and play as a team … I came back in with four fouls and I knew I had to play hard.”

In all, Pipkin played a little more than 11 minutes to get his 16 points, which was matched by Justin King for second highest on the team behind Davon Dillard’s 24 points.

Rebounding was a big key to Bowman’s victory, and it was a team effort. Only Dillard had six rebounds with the rest of the players having five or less. And the Eagles’ 13-point halftime lead was due mostly to 11 offensive rebounds and 16 second-chance points.

“It’s the extra effort we put in,” King said. “We knew we had to crash (the boards).”

The game was a victorious end to Bowman’s short stay in 2A after winning a Class 1A title in 2010. Thanks to the new IHSAA Success Factor Formula, Bowman moves up to 3A next winter in boys basketball.

Bowman is the third Northwest Indiana boys team to win two state titles — East Chicago Washington (1960, 1971) and Gary Roosevelt (1968, 1991) are the others.

Rea, on the other hand, moves into exclusive territory, as he becomes the only region boys coach to win two state titles. Those other two schools were coached by different men each time.



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