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Heritage Christian bests Fort Wayne Canterbury in Class 2A

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Heritage Christian Eagles and the Fort Wayne Canterbury Cavaliers are familiar foes.

Both schools entered Saturday’s Class 2A girls state basketball final tied for second all-time in state championships, at five wins apiece.

Heritage Christian, welcome to the history books.

The Eagles’ 73-53 win Saturday over the Cavaliers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse gave them back-to-back state titles. And their six state titles have them tied with Fort Wayne Bishop Luers for the most all-time wins.

Heritage Christian Head Coach Rick Risinger said winning number six was just as special as the first.

“I feel kind of like a dad on Christmas morning and I am sitting back and the kids are opening presents and so excited,” Risinger said. “To me it is all about the players. The six means something to me, but not as much as seeing the girls have the opportunity to go through this.”

Fort Wayne Canterbury trailed by five heading into halftime, but Heritage Christian outscored the Cavaliers 39-24 in the second half, leading by as many as 22 at one point.

Junior Tyasha Harris scored 20 points, grabbed six rebounds and added seven assists for the Eagles.

“Ty is an exceptional player. She does a great job doing what it takes for the team,” Risinger said.

It was an all-around team victory for Heritage Christian. Freshman Katlyn Gilbert scored 13 points and added eight rebounds off the bench for the Eagles.

The Eagles outscored the Cavaliers 38-14 in the paint, 22-4 on fast breaks and 15-0 off the bench.

Fort Wayne Canterbury enhanced the last of those statistics, though. Until the final minute of the game, Cavaliers head coach Wayne Kreiger made zero substitutions, playing his starters for 32 minutes. But Kreiger didn’t attribute his rotation to the Cavaliers’ struggles late in the game.

“The issue might have been when they went into the four corner, whatever you want to call it, delay looking for the backdoor cuts and layups,” he said.

Senior Darby Maggard led all Cavaliers scorers with 16 points and fellow senior Katherine Smith tied a class 2A state record for rebounds in a state final with 17.

Fort Wayne Canterbury was playing in its fourth straight state final.

Both teams will move up to class 3A in 2015 under the state tournament’s success factors.