As the NCAA tournament anthem “One Shining Moment” played over the loudspeakers, senior Collin Hartman explained why he only clipped a small piece of the net after Cathedral’s first boys basketball sectional championship in 15 years.
“This is just the start of it,” Hartman said after finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds in Cathedral’s 66-50 Sectional 10 win over Tech on Saturday night at Warren Central. “We plan on cutting down a lot more nets.”
Cathedral (22-5) will play Pendleton Heights (15-9) in a Class 4A regional semifinal game at 10 a.m. Saturday. It was the first sectional title since 1998 for Cathedral, which won a Class 3A state title that year in the first season of class basketball.
Third-year Cathedral coach Andy Fagan was a senior on the 1997 Irish team that lost in a semistate game to Delta.
“To have this group be the one to do it after that long is a special thing,” Fagan said. “Not just to me, but all the Cathedral players. To get back in that regional is certainly something we’re excited about.”
Cathedral-Tech IV featured a major plot twist even before the opening tip. Trey Lyles, the Titans’ 6-9 junior standout and City Player of the Year, was unable to play due to a left knee injury suffered in the second half of Friday’s 62-43 semifinal win over Lawrence Central.
Tech coach Jason Delaney said Lyles will have further tests this week to determine the extent of the injury.
“We’re not positive, but it could be a torn MCL (medial collateral ligament),” Delaney said. “We’re not sure until we can get the tests done. He just couldn’t move … unfortunate circumstances happen when you don’t want them to happen. It’s a life lesson tonight.”
It was uphill climb without Lyles for Tech (21-5), which posted the program’s first 20-win season since 1989-90. Long after the game was over, Lyles sat in a folding chair with his head in his hands and tears running down his face.
But Delaney was also quick to credit Cathedral, especially Hartman. The 6-6 Indiana recruit was an efficient 6-for-9 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers and an emphatic tip dunk late in the third quarter.
Cathedral junior Jalen Coleman, saddled with foul trouble much of the first half, scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter, including eight in a row after Tech had closed to within five points.
The Irish have faced their own share of adversity this season, losing two starters at the end of the regular season for disciplinary issues.
“It just shows how close this team is and how resilient they are,” Fagan said. “We’ve been through a lot of adversity this year. Every time something has come up, our guys haven’t sulked or lowered their heads. Somebody different has stepped up and given us a lift. We were already a close team, but they’ve come even closer together.”
Still, Hartman wasn’t ready to go overboard with the celebration.
“It’s not the final goal,” he said. “It’s not the final goal. Once we get to state and cut down those nets, then you’ll see some excitement.”