Jac-Cen-Del Eagles are Class 1A State Champions

Gary Franklin
Sports Writer

Surpassing many expectations, except that of a strong-willed team, their coaches and the Jac-Cen-Del Eagle faithful, the Jac-Cen-Del Eagles created a new team to talk about in the county, with their dominating triumphant victory march to the IHSAA Boys Class 1A State Basketball Championship Title.
Not since the Milan Indians in 1954 has a boys basketball team in Ripley County been able to cross the hurdle to the plateau of State Champion, and a very scant few over the years have earned the opportunity to even try.
An Awesome Day Begins
Many of the more than 2000 JCD ticket purchasers awaiting a chance to see their Eagle team burst the Indiana State Basketball Championship bubble, gathered in front of Jac-Cen-Del High School to see the Eagles, cheerleaders, parents and other fans off on their journey Saturday morning, March 28, a little before 8 a.m.
As proper for Indiana royalty, their caravan made its way north while enjoying police escorts through Greensburg and again once they arrived in Indianapolis.
Center Court Tip Off
With Eaglemania alive and well and fully in surround sound, the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis was rockin’ with JCD hype. Solidly ready for the task at hand, the Class 1A Championship battle began with the center court jump on the hardwood at around 10:30 a.m.
After one quarter of action, JCD led by a mere point, 6-5. Mere, but a lead none the less. Unknowingly, they had already experienced the only time they would trail for the rest of the game at the score of 5-4, just a few minutes earlier.
The Eagles opened up in quarter two to lead at halftime 27-11. Continuing dominance in the third quarter, the Eagles led 42-27. Closing the biggest deal of their young lives, the Eagles slammed the door shut in the fourth quarter, finishing with an 11 point edge at 66-55.
Eagle Gerald Hardesty is named 2009 Trester Award Winner
If claiming the State Basketball Championship is not enough to make your heart skip a beat or two, Eagle senior Gerald Hardesty also brought home the elite Trester Award and along with it a check from Farm Bureau Insurance, corporate sponsor of the IHSAA, made to JCDHS on Hardesty’s behalf.
At the state finals, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee presented the Trester Award to the outstanding senior participant in each classification of the boys basketball state finals. The recipients of the award, who were nominated by their principals and coaches, must excel in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership, and athletic ability in basketball.
Hardesty’s Trester Award presentation makes him only the third Ripley County man to achieve this high honor. He joins Bobby Plump of the State Champion Milan Indian 1954 team and Class 2A Batesville Bulldog runner-up team's player of 2001, Matthew Robbins.
The Parade Home
Coming south from Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis after defeating last year’s State Champion Triton Trojans 66-55, the Eagles rode the bus tucked away in a caravan led by police cars, volunteer fire department vehicles and a host of celebratory followers. The convoy took more than an hour to pass by the Jac-Cen-Del High School.
They traveled through the streets of Osgood where they were welcomed home amidst balloons, signs and screaming fans. The entourage turned around at the Southeastern Indiana REMC office building where fireworks were displayed by Negangard Enterprises on the lawn of the Manderley Health Care Center.
The Victory Celebration at JCDHS
Opening the State Championship victory celebration in the standing room only filled Jac-Cen-Del High School gym, Athletic Director Mark Meyer spoke for a brief time before the team entered. Eagle cheerleaders led the awaiting crowd in cheers before Meyer announced the entry of the newly crowned State Champion team, where they took center stage under the north basket of the gym.
One by one the victorious team, managers and coaches, took a seat as the surrounding supporters stood in praise of their awesome feat. Meyer then continued as he hit some of the highlights of their marvelous run through a superb regular season finish. The season included a 6-0 ORVC Championship, a Sectional Championship at South Decatur High School in Sectional #60, Regional Championship acquired at Martinsville High School gym, the Semi-State Championship played at Seymour High School, culminating the outstanding finish at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis where they captured the 2009 Class 1A Indiana Boys State Basketball Championship Title.
Principal Johnny Budd offered words of praise to the Eagles for their excellent regular season and extended season performance, while reminding them of his challenge he had given them at the community pep rally held Friday evening, March 27, at JCDHS.
“You hold the keys to a State Basketball Championship Title tomorrow at Indy and a Championship ring with a blue set or one with a red set as a runner-up. Only you will determine which one you earn.” Continuing, he added, “I’m very proud you chose the high route and I am very pleased with all your performances.”
A long standing and loud ovation erupted as the microphone was turned over to Coach David Bradshaw. The coach revisited a former talk about “Good, Better, Best,” that he had in the early season about this ’08-’09 basketball team. He reflected on how they have progressed in stages over the season to become their absolute best at the right time, heading into extended season competition.
Coach Bradshaw spoke of how over the years past he had avoided certain things as he found himself a little superstitious. He said this year he threw superstition out the window and met the challenges as he faced them. At this time he gave each individual involved with the team the opportunity to say how they felt about their ultimate win.
Senior player Blake Sutton thanked the community for their support saying he was pleased to see people from both the Milan and South Ripley schools supporting their team. “I really didn’t know there were 2000 people in our area - thanks for the support!” he commented.
Coach Bradshaw thanked the team, assistant coaches, Steve Narwold, Roy Thomas, David Espinda and Travis Rohrig, team trainer Michelle Sebastian, the girls who had kept stats all season, the cheer block and the cheerleaders, the band and school staff for their support. He also thanked his scouting sources along with the parents and fans for their support as well saying, “Kudos to all.”
“An amazing, amazing year with a phenomenal group that enjoyed strong senior leadership and desiring underclassman who were dedicated and eager to do whatever was required to see the job done right,” Coach Bradshaw commented.
The four senior varsity cheerleaders, Jaime Lunsford, Rachel Brown, Tanaha Simon and Audrey Huffmeyer, shared some thoughts with the crowd.
Simon reminded the boys of how she taught them to play basketball way back when they were in grade school during recess, drawing many laughs from the players.
Senior Huffmeyer read a rhyme she had written about the day’s adventurous events and the pride they had brought JCDHS.
Underclassmen Erica Hicks thanked all who helped to make this season so special with Renee Meister expressing her gratitude to the senior cheerleaders for making JCD’s cheering section “loud and proud always.”
Coach Bradshaw closed his portion of the celebration thanking the teachers at JCD, saying JCD athletes are among the highest GPA holders.

Athletic Director Meyer closed reminding that the JCD Winter Sports Awards Program is set for Monday, April 6 in the JCDHS gym.
See today’s special section for more photos and details of the game.

The 2009 IHSAA Class 1A Boys State Basketball Champion Jac-Cen-Del Eagle Team are pictured front from left: Megan Gunter, Allie Shinkle, Renee Meister, Rachel Brown, Jaime Lunsford, Tanaha Simon, Audrey Huffmeyer, Erica Hicks, Megan Joseph, Lacey Derringer, Kayla Kohlman and Torie Gilland. Second row: Spencer Purdy, Derek Lunsford, Shane Adams, Brandon Wilhoit, Daniel Harlemert and Clay Comer. Standing: Varsity Coach David Bradshaw, JCDHS Principal Johnny Budd, Video Technician Ethan Hess, Athletic Director Mark Meyer, Freshman Coach Roy Thomas, Gerald Hardesty, Tim Arnett, Matt Gehl, Blake Sutton, Trevor Arnett, Ethan Harmeyer, Student Manager Jim Dobbs, Joe Abplanalp, Dalton Garnett, Jr.-High Boys Coach Travis Rohrig, JV Coach Steve Narwold, Athletic Trainer Michelle Sebastian and Jr.-High Boys Coach David Espinda.