It’s time to shine. The four high school basketball state finals games are set for Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Here the top players to watch:
• Erik Bell, Evansville Bosse: The 6-foot senior sets the tone for Class 3A Bosse, averaging 11.6 points and a team-leading 9.4 assists.
• Vijay Blackmon, Marion: The 6-3 senior – the younger brother of James Blackmon Jr. and son of coach James Blackmon Sr. – is averaging 17.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
• Darnell Butler, McCutcheon: The 6-5 senior is a key inside-outside threat for the Mavericks, averaging 13.7 points and 4.7 rebounds.
• Haden Deaton, McCutcheon: The 6-4 junior is second on the team in scoring (15.0 ppg) and leads 4A McCutcheon in rebounding (5.1). He’s shooting 53 percent from the field.
• Caleb Hardy, Liberty Christian: The 6-5 senior, a transfer from Pendleton Heights, only became eligible for the last five games. He’s made the most of it, averaging 18.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and shooting 68 percent from the field.
• Kamron Herrington, Lapel: The 6-3 senior guard is averaging 14.3 points and a team-leading 3.4 assists. He’s also third on the team in rebounding (3.6) and is shooting 53 percent from the field.
• Isaac Hibbard, New Albany: The 6-foot guard was named to the Junior All-Star team this week. He’s averaging 14.6 points and shooting 42 percent from the 3-point line.
• Tony Hopkins, Howe: The 6-4 sophomore provides a much-needed interior presence for the Hornets and thrives in a transition game. Hopkins is averaging 12.2 points and 10.1 rebounds.
• Josh Jefferson, New Albany: The 6-1 senior guard is key third offensive weapon for the Bulldogs. He averages 12.3 points, 2.3 assists and is shooting 38 percent from the 3-point line.
• Reggie Jones, Marion: The 6-5 senior, who pulled his commitment from the University of New Orleans, is averaging 15.8 points and a team-leading 7.0 rebounds for the high-scoring Giants.
• Mekhi Lairy, Evansville Bosse: The 5-9 sophomore is the smallest player on Class 3A Bosse’s roster but is averaging a team-leading 18.1 points and shooting 53 percent from the field.
• Romeo Langford, New Albany: Everyone will be watching the 6-4 sophomore in the 4A finals. Langford served notice with his 46-point game against Southport and comes in averaging 30.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He’s shooting 59 percent from the floor and 40.2 percent from the 3-point line.
• Tim Leavell, Marion: The 6-1 junior leads the Class 3A Giants in scoring (18.5 ppg) and shoots 45 percent from the 3-point line. The left-hander is a sparkplug for Marion.
• Franklin Nunn, Liberty Christian: The 6-3 senior guard leads Class A Liberty Christian in scoring (20.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.9). Nunn also shoots it from the 3-point line effectively (30-for-82, 37 percent).
• Robert Phinisee, McCutcheon: The 6-foot guard leads McCutcheon into the 4A finals, averaging 19.2 points, 6.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds. Phinisee has offers from Indiana and Purdue.
• JonRoss Richardson, Lapel: The 6-6 junior leads Lapel in scoring (15.7 ppg) and is second in rebounding (5.1). He’s shooting 58 percent from the field and is an effective 3-point shooter (22-for-50).
• Brandon Van Sant, Bloomfield: The 6-7 senior averaged 15.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and shot 63 percent from the field to lead the Class A Cardinals to the state finals for the first time since 1998. Van Sant has signed with Division II Illinois-Springfield.
• Kip Warren, Howe: The 5-11 senior guard has put the Hornets on his back to make the state finals for the first time. Warren is averaging 22.9 points, 5.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds. He is uncommitted for college but receiving Division I and II interest.
• Ronny Williams, Liberty Christian: The 5-7 junior guard teams with Nunn in the backcourt to make the Lions go. He averages 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and a team-leading 4.6 assists.
Call IndyStar reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.
SATURDAY’S IHSAA BOYS BASKETBALL STATE FINALS
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
TV: All finals live on Fox Sports Indiana.
Radio: 107.5 FM/1070 WFNI
Tickets: $15 per session
Radio: WFNI-FM (107.5)
TV: Fox Sports Indiana
Class A: Bloomfield (26-3) vs. Liberty Christian (25-4), 10:30 a.m.
Class 2A: Howe (23-7) vs. Lapel (25-4), approx. 12:45 p.m.
Radio: WIBC-FM (93.1)
TV: Fox Sports Indiana Plus
Class 3A: Evansville Bosse (19-10) vs. Marion (22-7), 6 p.m.
Class 4A: New Albany (26-1) vs. McCutcheon (28-3), approx. 8:15 p.m.