Asked how Broad Ripple would game plan for Class 4A top-ranked Tech in Saturday night's City tournament semifinals, Rockets guard Darian Fitzgerald shot a glance at coach Scott Hicks and smiled.
"That's up to the coaches," Fitzgerald said. "But we'll be ready. We've been looking forward to (Tech) all week."
Fourth-seeded Broad Ripple earned its shot with a 61-53 win over Bishop Chatard in Thursday's second quarterfinal game at Tech. The host Titans ran past Scecina 68-45 in Thursday's first game.
Broad Ripple (8-4) started fast, jumping out to a 9-0 lead, and went ahead by as many as 19 points in the third quarter. The Rockets still led by 18 with 6 minutes left before Chatard (5-8) got as close as five in the final minute.
"They competed harder than we did," Chatard coach Travis Daugherty said. "They played like they wanted to take it; that's what they did. We played with a sense of urgency and desperation the last 5 or 6 minutes, but in the City tournament you have to come with that the whole game."
Fitzgerald scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first half to lead Broad Ripple. Ralph Germany added 14 points off the bench and point guard Muta Irving had 13.
Rob Dury led Chatard with 13 points and Stan Jackson and Joe Fagan each added 11. Hicks credited senior forward Chase Parker for his defense on Fagan, Chatard's leading scorer on the season.
"Chase did an excellent job man-to-man on their best scorer," Hicks said. "As a team we did a very good job of help-and-recover and getting a hand in front of their face. They are a very good shooting team, but we did a nice job contesting shots."
Tech (13-1) took over the top spot in the 4A rankings this week and looked every bit the part in the win over Scecina. Junior standout Trey Lyles finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and freshman point guard C.J. Walker also poured in 18 points.
The play of Walker may be the biggest difference in Tech's team from the beginning of the season. The 5-10 guard plays with the confidence and poise of a much more experienced player.
"In the summer getting ready for the season and working out, I knew I could play at this level," Walker said. "I feel like I know the guys on the team pretty well now and know their sweet spots on the court to get them the ball. I try to take a vocal role and get my teammates where they need to be."
Scecina (9-4) stayed within 11 points deep into the first half, but a 20-5 Tech run that spanned most of the third quarter put it away. Junior Jeremie Tyler missed the game with a hip flexor, though coach Jason Delaney said he could return for Saturday's game.
Sophomore guard Zach Rutland led Scecina with 10 points.
"A game like this would have taken a perfect game to beat them," said first-year Scecina coach Rob New. "We're playing one of the best teams in the state and one of the best players in the nation. But at least it gives us a measuring stick of where we're at and what we need to do to keep improving."