ANDERSON, Ind. — Like all good legends, this one is still growing.
Liberty Christian won its first boys basketball regional championship Saturday by scoring 50 points in the second half, overcoming a 14-point halftime deficit and exorcising the ghosts of a fourth-quarter collapse in last year's final against the same Lafayette Central Catholic team.
The night was filled with heroes — seen and unseen — and it's taking awhile for it all to sink in.
Head coach and athletic director Jason Chappell celebrated his birthday Monday at the doctor's office, receiving treatment for strep throat. But little of his excitement had been drained.
"I just had too much fun this weekend," he joked during a phone interview. "But I'll take that every time."
No. 10 Liberty Christian (20-6) quickly got back to work preparing for its Class 1A semistate battle against third-ranked Marquette Catholic (18-6). The Lions will travel to practice at Lafayette Jeff — the semistate host — on Tuesday, and their thoughts have again turned toward a journey they hope will end in two weeks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
But memories of that magical regional final are hard to shake.
Liberty Christian trailed 29-15 at halftime and had shot just 5-for-22 from the field. In the second half, the Lions shot 17-for-27 and outscored the Knights by 24 points.
They tied the game with 46 seconds remaining in the third quarter and took the lead for good on a free throw less than one minute into the fourth. Liberty Christian scored just six points in the paint against a stout Lafayette Central Catholic defense in the first half. After intermission, they scored 26.
Junior Quincey Hyatt scored all eight of his points in the second half, to go along with five rebounds and three steals. He made so many plays in such short succession, some suspected divine intervention was at work.