PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Falcons fall in regional title game

Mar. 11—FRANKFORT, Ind. — North Vermillion seniors Cody Tryon, Landon Wesch and Jerome White had won a total of 17 games in their high school careers entering this season.

So, admittedly, the goals for their fourth and final season with the Falcons were a bit tempered.

North Vermillion exceeded those expectations with its first sectional title in five years but the Falcons postseason run came to an end on Saturday in the Class 1A Regional 28 finals with a 57-38 loss to Fort Wayne Canterbury at Case Arena.

"If you look back to our freshman year and think that in my senior year that we would be playing in the regional — I would have told you that you were crazy," said Tryon as North Vermillion went 2-15 that year with both victories coming against Attica. "We all stuck together and put it together at the end of high school careers."

It's quite an impressive turnaround considering that the Falcons were 17-48 overall in the past three seasons and this was the program's first double-digit win season since the sectional championship game of 2019.

"Our seniors have been through some of the worst seasons in school history and one of the best seasons that we've put together," said coach Cody Wright. "A lot programs don't even win one sectional championship in a four-year span. This group came to work every day and they never quit.

"We have set a precedent moving forward. Now, we are not going to be happy unless we get a sectional."

Besides hard work, Wright also believes simple experience has been a big reason that the Falcons have seen such a big turnaround.

"We hammered in on the fundamentals and hammered in on shooting," he said.

According to Tryon, they also became better athletes.

"You had to get stronger, You had to get faster," he said. "You also have to get an IQ for the game. The more we played the game from our freshman year to our senior year, we got better and moved us up the rankings."

And while the Falcons (15-11) were better athletes as seniors than they were as freshman, it wasn't enough to beat a Canterbury team that was both bigger than North Vermilion but also more athletic.

"Our big losses this year have been against teams that were more athletic, more physical and really picked up the defensive intensity," Wright said. "Shots weren't falling because they were long, 6-8, 6-5, 6-5, 6-2. Everyone that they brought off the bench was bigger than all of our guards. That length hurt us."

Tucker Day, a 6-8 senior center, was a big part of the Cavaliers attack, scoring 15 points, while 6-5 senior forward John Parent finished with 11.

The Falcons were unofficially 12-of-38 from the field (31.6 percent).

"Their length was a big part of that," Wright said. "That's something we don't see in the WRC — that type of size and athleticism."

North Vermillion was right there in the game's first 12 minutes as the score was tie 19-19 with 4 minutes, 13 seconds left in the second quarter, but Canterbury (16-9) ended the first-half with a 7-0 run to take a 26-19 lead.

The Cavaliers continued that scoring run to start the second half as they scored 9 straight points to take a 34-19 advantage with 5:56 left in the third quarter.

The Falcons went scoreless for over six minutes between the end of the first half and the start of the second half.

In six years of playing a Class 1A regional at Case Arena, North Vermillion has only won once and the school's only regional title came in 1969.

"We've had some troubles here," said Wright, who was also a player for North Vermillion in the regional tournament at Case Arena. "I don't hate. I actually love the gym. I love the atmosphere. It's tough to get over that hump of regionals."

IHSAA Class 1A Regional 28 At Case Arena, Frankfort, Ind. Fort Wayne Canterbury 57, North Vermillion 38

Canterbury (57) — Devon Lewis 1 2-2 4, John Parent 5 1-1 11, Colin Burda 2 0-0 4, Ashton Dressler 2 1-1 5, Tucker Day 6 3-4 15, Alden Greider 2 0-0 5, Reed Hayes 2 1-1 5, Deacon Wardlow 0 0-0 0, Aran Padmalingam 1 0-0 2, Dillion Wardlow 0 0-0 0, Jackson Davis 2 0-0 5, Thiran Padmalingam 0 1-2 1. Totals: 23 9-11 57

North Vermillion (38) — Landon Wesch 0 0-0 0, Teegan Dowers 2 0-0 5, Cody Tryon 3 3-5 11, Matthew Dawson 1 0-0 2, Owen Edwards 1 1-3 3, Brody Cramer 0 0-0 0, Lane Thomann 0 0-0 0, Jerome White 5 3-4 15, Ryder Mikel 0 0-0 0, Hudson Young 0 2-4 2, Andre Buchhaas 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 9-16 38

Canterbury 10 16 14 17 — 57

North Vermillion 10 9 8 11 — 38

3-pointers — Canterbury 2 (Greider 1, Davis 1). North Vermillion 5 (Tryon 2, White 2, Dowers 1). Total fouls — Canterbury 18, North Vermillion 15. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — Day 2. Officials — Dan Morgan, Rob Fulkerson, Greg Kirkham.

Records — Canterbury 16-9 overall, North Vermillion 15-11 overall.