INDIANAPOLIS — Winning state championships is becoming an annual tradition for the Park Tudor High School boys basketball team. So is producing NCAA Division I-caliber players.
Park Tudor rode its latest Division I product, Trevon Bluiett, to its third state title in four years Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The 6-foot-6 Xavier recruit scored 38 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in helping the Panthers (24-4) to an 84-57 win over Westview in the Class 2A state basketball finals.
Bluiett's 38 points set a new Class 2A finals record for points scored, surpassing Tyler Koch's 37-point effort for Winchester in 2008.
"It was a bittersweet moment," Bluiett said. "You're happy you accomplished what you wanted to accomplish. But at the same time, it's sad because that was the last time I stepped on the floor with these guys."
The win gave Kyle Cox his first state title as head coach at Park Tudor. He just completed his fifth year on staff at the school and has been part of a culture shift in boys basketball at the school that's catapulted the Panthers into perennial state title contenders.
"It's why this one feels pretty good," Cox said.
Westview (24-4) kept the game close in the first half, thanks in large part to keeping pace with the Panthers on the glass. Park Tudor found itself clinging to a 35-27 halftime advantage despite shooting 46 percent from the field and watching Bluiett blaze his way to 18 first half points.
Park Tudor also settled for long-range jumpers and 3-pointers in transition, shooting just 28.6 percent from behind the arc. That allowed Westview to hang around.
Chandler Aspy's 11 second quarter points set the tone for Westview as the Warriors found themselves in good position after two quarters.
After the break, a Damon Herschberger basket pulled Westview within 35-30 one minute into the third quarter.
But Park Tudor was unfazed by the pressure Westview applied and responded with a champion's mettle. Three minutes after Westview pulled within five points, a Bluiett breakaway dunk that resulted in a three-point play capped a 13-0 Panthers run.
The Panthers' lead eventually grew to 30 points in the second half and they enjoyed a 65-41 cushion heading to the final eight minutes.
Bluiett, an Indiana Mr. Basketball finalist, was taken out of the game with 2:45 left and was just two points short of the first 40-point game in Indiana state finals history in five years.
Westview was led by Aspy's 19 points. Jordyn Bontrager was the only other player to reach double figures in scoring for the Warriors. He also grabbed seven rebounds. Jamar Weaver scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds for Westview.
Bontrager, who had the task of guarding Bluiett for most of the game, acknowledged the disadvantages most players had against Bluiett at the prep level.
"He's an elite player," Bontrager said. "Honestly, there was a stretch there where I couldn't stop him. Everything he shot went in."
Bryce Moore scored 18 points and played all 32 minutes for Park Tudor. Austin Shelton added 10 points for the Panthers. Park Tudor's five starters scored 79 of the team's 84 points.
The Panthers finished the season as the highest-scoring team in the state and their average victory margin in 2013-14 was 21.8 points.