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Former Miss Basketball Gooden breaks down state tournament

Tiffany Gooden was busy chatting up visitors at the Fan Fest event Friday night at Spiece Fieldhouse but took time to talk about Fort Wayne's teams in the state finals.

Gooden, a star at Snider who played at Iowa and professionally, was the 1994 Miss Basketball and the only girls basketball player from the city to be named an All-American. She has her own display -- with jerseys from Iowa and Snider hanging in it -- at Spiece.

As a member of the Fort Wayne Sports Corp, she also was involved in bringing the state tournament to the Coliseum.

Gooden plans to watch every game but has special interest in the ones that feature Fort Wayne teams.

Here's what she had to say about Canterbury (Class A), Luers (2A) and Concordia (3A).

  • CAVALIERS: "I'm really excited about our chances in 1A. Canterbury is an experienced team. They compete well even against 3A and 4A teams, so I'm hoping the experience they have all year playing 3A and 4A teams will help them right now playing in this 1A state championship. They're familiar with that opponent (Vincennes Rivet). They played them last year. Hopefully, that will give them a lot of confidence. You're never overconfident going in. Any given day, anything can happen. But having that comfort level, having been there before, having seen that opponent before, I think that will give Canterbury the edge."
  • KNIGHTS: "Bishop Luers is just extra motivated. They've dealt with a lot of adverse circumstances this season. I think they've jelled together and rallied around their teammate, who obviously experienced a very difficult accident. I think Bishop Luers is playing better, and they've really come together at the right time. Any time people have that added motivation and they look at their teammate and she's out there with them, at the games and taking pictures and celebrating with them, I think they're going to have that emotional edge (Saturday). Obviously, it's going to be a tough game (against Austin)."
  • CADETS: "Concordia has just been hot. You look at winning a semi-state championship by almost 20 points against a very formidable opponent, you have to like their chances. They're just a balanced team. Sometimes it's better to be balanced than to have one outstanding player. There's a group of very solid players at Concordia who have played together for a long time and they just play well as a unit. It's very difficult to focus on any one player because they've got a lot of balance. I think that's helped them. Not a lot of people picked Concordia to win the SAC, especially to go undefeated in the SAC. A lot of people thought Elmhurst, being the defending state champion. But Concordia really, really had a great year, and they have an opportunity to put the icing on the cake, and hopefully they will."

High School Sports Editor Greg Jones on prep sports.