At some point, Park Tudor coach Kyle Cox will run out of superlatives to describe Trevon Bluiett.
But that time hasn’t come just yet.
Bluiett, the 6-5 senior star, scored 40 points on Saturday night to lead Park Tudor to a 65-51 win over host Warren Central in the championship of the Marion County tournament. It was the second consecutive title for the Panthers, who hadn’t won a county championship prior to last season.
“He refuses to lose,” Cox said of Bluiett, a Xavier recruit. “He was in my office after the Tech game (Park Tudor’s only loss) and he was almost in tears and had 51 points. He was going to do whatever it took tonight to win. In my heart of hearts, that’s why I believe he should be Mr. Basketball for 2014. He wills his team to win.”
Bluiett may or may not win Mr. Basketball. His competition for it is fierce, with Marion’s James Blackmon Jr. and Tech’s Trey Lyles each having their own legitimate argument. Mr. Basketball or not, Bluiett’s prodigious offensive talent should be enjoyed for the next couple months.
Take, for example, the third quarter on Saturday night. The game was tied 32-all at halftime and Bluiett had been held to a hard-earned 15 points. He took over from there, scoring 14 in the third quarter in a variety of ways. He drilled two 3-pointers with a hand in his face, scored on a putback, a drive and made four free throws.
It was the type of offensive clinic that Bluiett’s teammates have become accustomed to seeing for four years.
“He’s such an amazing player,” said senior teammate Alex Mack. “He’s an amazing teammate, too. At halftime it was a tie game and we weren’t playing that well offensively. He came in and talked to all of us and told us this was it. This was our last chance to play in the Marion County tournament and he led us.”
Northern Kentucky recruit Jordan Garnett led Warren Central (9-5) with 17 points and 14 rebounds and Jaraan Lands added 16 points, through he had just four after halftime. Djimon Henson, a sophomore guard, hit three 3-pointers and finished with 12 points.
Austin Shelton scored eight of his 10 points in the first quarter for Park Tudor, which came in averaging a state-leading 89.5 points and had defeated North Central 94-80 in a semifinal game on Friday night.
Saturday’s game was a bit more of a half-court game.
“We struggled to get tempo,” Cox said. “That wasn’t really our pace. We just wanted to grind it out.”
With a player like Bluiett, that job is made easier. Bluiett is making his way up the state’s career scoring list, passing names like Troy Lewis of Anderson, Ron Bonham of Muncie Central and DeKalb’s Luke Recker just this week. Coincidentally, he also passed Cox, who scored 1,987 points at Blue River Valley a little more than a decade ago.
“The next one that’s probably going to fall is my (single-game) career-high of 59,” Cox joked. “He’s been close. He’s probably going to get 60 one of these nights.”
With two Marion County championships under his belt, it’s more difficult for those who wanted to diminish Bluiett’s accomplishments because he plays for a Class 2A program. Veteran coaches like North Central’s Doug Mitchell have said winning the county is almost on par in degree of difficulty to winning a state title. Bluiett has also won two of those as a freshman and sophomore, teaming with Indiana sophomore Yogi Ferrell.
“I think last year a lot of people doubted us and didn’t think we’d make it that far,” Bluiett said. “We showed them that even though we’re a 2A school, we could still compete with the best of them.”
There’s probably a message in there to anyone who still wants to doubt Bluiett: proceed at your own risk.
“I really don’t mind that,” he said. “Because I know sooner or later my time will come to play the people that the spectators are talking about. I’ll just show them then. I’ll let them talk and let my playing do the talking.”
Warren Central ……17 15 9 10- 51
Park Tudor…15 17 16 17- 65
Warren Central (9-5) – Devon Hawkins 0 0-0 0, C.J. Hardaway 2 2-3 6, Jaraan Lands 7 2-3 16, Djimon Henson 4 1-2 12, Jordan Garnett 8 1-1 17, Bishop Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 6-9 51.
Park Tudor (11-1) – Bryce Moore 1 0-0 2, Alex Mack 1 2-2 5, Dwayne Gibson 2 0-0 4, Trevon Bluiett 12 12-14 40, Austin Shelton 4 0-0 10, Evan Frank 1 0-0 2, Kobe Webster 0 0-0 0, Sloan Stearman 0 2-2 2, Jaren Jackson Jr. 0 0-0 0, Andy Foster 0 0-0 0, Nick Beeson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 16-18 65.
3-point goals: Warren Central 3 (Henson 3), Park Tudor 7 (Bluiett 4, Shelton 2, Mack)