Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc.

9150 North Meridian Street, Box 40650, Indianapolis, Indiana 46240-0650

Phone: 317-846-6601    Fax: 317-575-4244    Website:

Blake Ress, Commissioner


March 28, 2009



Fort Wayne Bishop Luers claimed its second consecutive 2A IHSAA state title at Conseco Fieldhouse with a convincing 67-49 victory over Brownstown Central. The win capped a 23-4 season for Bishop Luers and fifth year head coach James Blackmon.


Second-ranked Luers (23-4) led by only three points at halftime, but a 15-4 run to end the third quarter helped seal the Knights’ title. Top scorer Deshaun Thomas contributed nine points in the streak and led all scorers with 34 points.  He led the state in scoring this season with a 30.3 average and now sits in 11th place on the state’s all-time scoring list with 2,254 points. 


Ranked second in the state in rebounding, Thomas pulled in 15 to finish the game with a double-double.  Teammate Lawrence Barnett had 12 points and five rebounds, Ken Mullen added 10 points and four rebounds, and Evan Blackmon chipped in nine points and six rebounds. Mullen also broke the 2A championship game record with four blocked shots.  


Brownstown Central’s Blaze Ayers led his team with 18 points, 12 from the free throw line, and five rebounds, and Ryan Shoemaker added 10 points. The unranked Braves, coached by 11th year leader Dave Benter, finished their season 20-7.


Luers which advanced to the final with a 30-point win over North Judson last Saturday, held its biggest advantage of 25 points at 58-33 with 3:51 remaining.


Brownstown Central, the 2004 2A state runner-up, was playing in its third-ever state finals (1931).




Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Blaze Ayers of Brownstown Central High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award.


The award is presented annually to a senior participant in each classification who was nominated by his principal and coach and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.


At school, he ranks 32nd in his class of 156 and has been a four year member of the Booster, Letterman’s and Sportsman’s Clubs. He plans to attend either Hanover College or Indiana State University and major in business.


Ayers is a 4-H vice-president and a reserve grand champion in construction.  He is also heavily involved with St. Peter’s Lutheran Church where he has worked food stands, bake sales and is active with youth groups.


Selected as All Mid-Southern Conference, Ayers will also participate in the HBCA All-Star game and is a three year letter winner in the sport.


He is the son of Earl and Arlene Ayers of Brownstown.


Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, will present a $1,000 scholarship to Brownstown Central High School in the name of Ayers.


The award is named in honor of Arthur L. Trester, the IHSAA’s first commissioner who served the Association from 1929-44.





Visit our friends at Visual Sports Network, the IHSAA’s official photographer for all state championship events and one of the leading action photographers in the Midwest. VSN, which was on site Saturday, has captured hundreds of images from this year’s State Finals and will have them ready for viewing and purchase beginning Monday.





Brownstown Central Head Coach David Benter

(General comments) “In the first half, I thought we played at the pace we needed to. We controlled the tempo, and I thought we had them a little frustrated at halftime. But I’ve seen them on film be frustrated and all it takes is for them to turn it up and hit a couple of shots. … It’s not a team you can play from behind. … Thomas is the best high school player I’ve seen. There’s not really anybody in the state that can control him. He’s incredible.”


(On what happened in the second half) “You get down 9 or 10, if you want a chance to win the game, you have to start speeding up a little. We’re just not capable of playing that pace, especially against a team like that. … Their quickness, you can’t simulate that in practice. I haven’t coached a kid in 11 years as quick as their slowest starter, probably.  … You have to make shots. We missed a lot of shots that we’ve been making in the tournament.  But some of that credit goes to Luers. They sometimes get you playing at a pace with their quickness that you’re not used to.”



Brownstown Central center Blaze Ayers

(On winning the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award) “Winning an award that is that prestigious, it’s a humbling experience.”


(On the inside battle against Luers) “They were pretty rough  and physical inside. I just tried to take it at them.”



Fort Wayne Bishop Luers Head Coach James Blackmon

(General comments) “Brownstown came in and played a solid game. They came out with the box-and-one, and I thought that was a good defensive strategy. Our thing was to come out and try to control the tempo. In that first quarter, they controlled the tempo. But our guys did a great job of adjusting. Then we did a better job of getting in the passing lanes, created some easy steals and were able to uptempo the ballgame.”


(On the slow start offensively) “I talked to the guys about things we could control and can’t control. I told them we couldn’t control whether the ball may or may not go in for us. But we could control our effort and composure. Even though the shots didn’t drop early, I thought they were really hustling and doing things for us to win that ballgame.”


(On Deshaun Thomas’ season) “Spectacular. There are records breaking on a daily basis. Each game we talk about another milestone as far as a record.” (Can he break Damon Bailey’s state scoring record?) “This is reachable. If we continue to play like this next year, it’s something I think he can accomplish.”


Fort Wayne Bishop Luers guard Deshaun Thomas

(On the physical play he faced) “It’s an everyday thing. … Coach Blackmon just tells me to stay focused and keep my composure. (On to the key to his second-half success in the game) “It was staying active. I wanted to keep my teammates involved and just keep playing hard. Then I was able to hit some big shots after I got on a roll.”