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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy photo Indiana Tech senior Scott Schwieterman is the only member of the roster that played in the Warriors' last game at the NAIA Division II National Championships in 2016, an overtime loss to Dakota Wesleyan.

  • Courtesy photo Indiana Tech coach Ted Albert was a player and assistant coach at Cornerstone prior to assuming the head coach position. He was a member of national championship teams in both roles with the Golden Eagles which serves as valuable experience as the Warriors open the national tournament today in Sioux Falls.

Thursday, March 08, 2018 1:00 am

Warriors sticking to script

Hoping to keep focus as tourney gets underway

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

Indiana Tech

Who: No. 2 Indiana Tech vs. No. 7 West Virginia Tech When: 8:30 p.m. today

What: NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship

Where: Sanford Pentagon, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Indiana Tech men's basketball first-year head coach Ted Albert has a unique résumé as he leads his team into the NAIA Division II National Championship Tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Albert won national titles as a player (2011) and an assistant coach (2015) with Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference rival Cornerstone, the current No. 2 team in the nation.

“What we've done so far has been working, so we're sticking to the script and see what happens,” senior Scott Schwieterman said. “It's awesome. (Albert's) won a title as a player and a coach, so he knows exactly what we need to do to make a deep run and win it all.”

The Warriors (26-6), the No. 2 seed in the Duer Bracket, play their opening tournament game today against No. 7 seed West Virginia Tech.

Schwieterman is the lone senior from the 2015-16 team that lost 93-89 to Dakota Wesleyan in the first round of the national tournament.

“I know there are a lot of extracurriculars out there, but we have to stay focused at the task at hand and the game we have to play that game,” he said.

The Warriors opened the season 8-0 with wins over top-five opponents in defending champion Union and cross-town rival Saint Francis, but they fell to Rochester in the WHAC Tournament semifinal.

“I think all of us feel a little empty after that,” Albert said. “How we respond to this is to be determined. I have a lot of confidence with our leadership and our ability to respond well. After a loss, I think we've responded pretty well.”

While drawing on past experiences, the most important game right now is the matchup against West Virginia Tech.

“We're just making sure we're as prepared as we can be for this first-round game and hopefully give us an opportunity to play for a second,” Albert said. “The team that sacrifices and wants it the most is going to be the team that has an opportunity to play another one.

“This is an experience that I don't think even they understand ... the time together and the relationships and the memories. Those are the things that will go with you for the rest of your life.

“We're excited to represent Fort Wayne and Indiana Tech.”

areichel@jg.net