It’s familiar territory for Carmel and, this time, against a familiar foe.
“Just knowing that we’ve been here before and what we are representing,” Carmel junior center John Michael Mulloy said. “We’re representing Carmel, we’re representing not just us, but our families, our organization, and our community. We’re clicking at the right time and really coming together as a team.”
Carmel faces conference rival and undefeated Warren Central for the state title. A grueling regular season schedule under first year head coach Ryan Osborn now paying off in the post season.
“We play in a tough conference, and like I said, you don’t get a night off,” Osborn said. “And to not have the luxury of taking a night off, if you want to call it a luxury, prepares these guys for a situation where if you lose you go home.”
“We had an eight to 10 game stretch where we are playing ranked teams in the top 10,” junior guard Luke Heady said. “And there were a couple tough games we lost close to really good teams and I think that helped us a lot and we grew as a team and grew as a group and really bonded through those losses.”
When Carmel won back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013 many of this current crop of Greyhounds were seated in the stands at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and they say watching them cut down the nets then is their motivation to do it now.
“Seeing the kids that you look up to when you were playing basketball being able to achieve something like that, it’s always in the back of your head, it’s in the back of your heart that you want to do the same,” Mulloy said.
“You dream of having the opportunity to play for a state title and we got it,” Heady added.
Heady's dad, Scott, was the head coach of those ‘12 and ‘13 teams, and now the junior guard hopes to carry that torch to another Greyhounds state title.
“It would be cool to have a ring with him,” Heady said with a smile. “It’s bigger than us and I think we all understand that it’s not about us, it’s about the team.”
Carmel and Warren Central is scheduled to tip off at 8:15pm on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the IHSAA Class 4A title.