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PREP PROFILE: Rockville seniors want to keep the fun (wins) coming

Mar. 14—The two seniors on the Parke Heritage High School basketball team have learned at least one thing in their four years.

Winning is fun and they're going to do their best to keep having fun Saturday when the Wolves play Forest Park in the second semifinal game of the Class 2A Southport Semistate.

Top-ranked Brownstown Central (25-4) and No. 8 Park Tudor (20-5) will play in the 10 a.m. opener at Southport, with the Wolves (23-5) tipping off against Forest Park (18-9) at approximately noon. The championship game is set for 8 p.m.

Park Tudor handed the Wolves one of their five losses early in the season, and coach Rich Schelsky and his team wouldn't mind a rematch Saturday night. But, as the coach said this week, nothing happens until Parke Heritage wins the noon game.

"All we're worried about is the first game," senior Max Dowd said this week.

"We're trying to focus on the first game," agreed senior Kyle Harpold.

The two 12th-graders have done plenty of winning with the Wolves. Dowd, who is experiencing his third semistate appearance in his four years, has been around for teams with a combined record of 85-29 (.744). Harpold, in just the last two seasons, is ready for his second semistate experience and has been on teams that have gone 42-15 (.737).

Harpold didn't play basketball as a freshman when Parke Heritage reached the Class 2A state championship game before losing to Fort Wayne Blackhawk.

"They went to the state and that was pretty cool," he recalled, but he had a schedule conflict that kept him from playing as a sophomore. Finally, as a junior, he joined the team, playing mostly on the junior varsity team.

"Probably one of the best decisions I ever made."

Why?

"We win and that's pretty fun," Harpold said.

Dowd admitted this week that his enthusiasm was low when he was a freshman — until the postseason victories started to pile up.

"I'd come to practice and do the work and then get out," he recalled. "I wouldn't stick around for extra shooting.

"Then we went to state, and that was pretty cool. I got to go everywhere [with the team], be a scout guy and play offense all the team when [the starters] were working on defense — I've been a part of a lot of winning teams."

Dowd is now a two-year regular and a big part of the last two winning teams.

"I try to be a leader, bring a lot of energy," he said when asked about his role. "I can make stuff happen on defense."

His scoring average is down a couple of points from his junior year, when he averaged 10.5 points per game, but that doesn't bother him at all. "And if I need to step up, I still have that [scoring] mindset," he noted.

Harpold's role had been limited, but he's played more frequently lately.

"[My role is to] get rebounds and defend," he said. "I started later, so I don't have much ball-handling skill ... Playing time is not a big issue. I'm happy with the minutes I get."

Schelsky is appreciative of what his two seniors bring to the team.

"They're the epitome of what we want our program to stand for," he said. "Great teammates, unselfish ... great reasons why we've been what we've been."

Dowd and Harpold have good feelings about this weekend.

"I'm happy to be playing this week," Harpold said, "and I'm pretty confident we'll to pretty well this weekend."

"Our defense is pretty solid, and that's how we get stuff done," Dowd added. "We've been giving up under 40 [points] lately [three times in the past four games, including the regional win over Northeastern], and when we do that, we haven't lost."