FORT WAYNE – Defense has led the way for Bishop Dwenger during its 10-game winning streak that includes making it to the program’s first semistate appearance in 18 years.
That defense will get its biggest challenge of the season when the Saints face No. 3 Bowman at Huntington North on Saturday for the right to go to the Class 3A state finals.
The Eagles (21-4) are sixth in the state in scoring at 77.4 points per game. In the sectional, they scored 117 and 111 points apiece in a game and have scored 82, 80 and 65 in the other three postseason games.
They trap everywhere and in every corner, Dwenger senior Grady Eifert said. It’s just going to be hectic for those 32 minutes. That’s what we worked on all week, getting used to that. They have tons of guys who can score from anywhere.
Bowman has four players in double figures, led by Davon Dillard’s 17 points per game, as well as Justin King’s 14.6, Arthur Haggard’s 12 and Anthony Cole’s 10.7.
Our defense has really stepped up the past couple of weeks, Eifert said. We just scout the teams and see what they run. But it is kind of hard with Bowman because they have an offense that it is kind of run-and-gun. Our transition defense is what will have to help us win this game.
It will be a test for the unranked Saints (17-8), who give up 50.8 points per game this year but are giving only 42.6 points in their 10-game winning streak. Dwenger hasn’t given up more than 52 points since a 70-69 loss to North Side on Feb. 7.
Dwenger senior Mike Fiacable compared Bowman style-wise to South Side, with the in-your-face, full-court pressure.
They like to play fast, Fiacable said. We are going to just play our game and control the tempo and limit the turnovers.
At Dwenger, you always pride yourself on defense. We have just done a great job of that throughout the playoffs, hopefully we can keep that going because we are going to need that to pull off a big win.
Bowman is the 2010 1A state champ, 2013 2A state champ and 2012 2A state runner-up. The Eagles are in their first season in 3A after being bumped up a class. The Saints will be the underdogs, but that’s nothing new to a team that has beaten No. 6 New Haven and No. 5 NorthWood in the postseason.
The last couple of games, we have kind of been the underdog, Eifert said. We don’t mind it because we have nothing to lose. They have stuff to lose. We are just going to go there and play as hard as we can, and if we are the underdog we are find with that.
This from a team that was 2-8 during a 10-game period in the middle of the season.
We really came together as a team and as individuals and bought into what the coaches taught us, and we have just been playing well because of that, Ficable said.