INDIANAPOLIS — For New Albany’s Isaac Hibbard, life couldn’t get a whole lot better.
In a matter of a couple of days, the 6-foot Hibbard was named to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association All-State team for underclassmen and then won a Class 4-A state championship as the Bulldogs held on for a 62-59 win over McCutcheon late Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“The last few days — playing in a state championship here at Bankers Life and making the all-state team — I’m basically in a utopia. Those are two goals I’ve had. it’s a great way to end the season.”
In the state title game, Hibbard kept the Bulldogs within shouting distance of McCutcheon in the first half. New Albany trailed 33-28 at the break but Hibbard scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds.
“He’s done it for us all year long,” New Albany coach Jim Shannon said of Hibbard. “When we’ve needed a basket, he’s the one. When we’ve needed a drive to the basket, he’s the one. He has so much enthusiasm for the game and so much spirit about him.”
Shannon said Hibbard’s work ethic is unmatched.
“It’s unbelievable how much time he spends in the gym,” Shannon said. “He’s a gym rat. That’s why he’s a junior all-star, and that’s why he’ll play at the college level.”
Hibbard finished with 17 points, hitting 4 of 8 from 3-point range, grabbed five rebounds and handed out three assists in 31 minutes.
Only super sophomore Romeo Langford, who led the Bulldogs with 28 points in 32 minutes, played more minutes than Hibbard.
“I was trying to do my part and help the team out and win a championship,” Hibbard said. “I was so excited to play basketball on that court (Bankers Life). The best players in the world play on that court. That’s a great feeling.”
The Bulldogs finished 27-1, winning their last 24 games.
Hibbard said he will get to work for more titles.
“I’m a winner,” he said. “I’m not satisfied with winning just one. I want to win another one. We’re going to keep working and keep winning.”
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