Fishers High School seeks first boys basketball state title


The Fishers High School boys basketball team has the luxury of a productive rotation.

“Our depth has been our strength,” Tigers coach Garrett Winegar said. “Our guys are really unselfish. We have a lot of nine or 10 guys contributing and that’s been the key for us.”

The Class 4A No. 1 Tigers (28-1) will face No. 9 defending state champion Ben Davis (23-5) in the Class 4A state championship game at approximately 8:15 p.m. March 30 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships’ first and second round at Gainbridge created a two-week break from the March 16 semistate.

Winegar said it was a positive for the Tigers because their top two scorers, senior forward Keenan Garner and junior guard JonAnthony Hall, were dealing with lower leg injuries during the semistate. With the two weeks off from competition, Winegar said both should be in better shape for the championship game.

Garner averages 15.6 points per game and 8.2 rebounds. Hall averages 11.3 ppg.

This was the first boys basketball sectional title for the Tigers since the program restarted sectional play in 2006-07. The original Fishers High School won one sectional title in 1921-22. That school closed in the 1960s and consolidation made it Hamilton Southeastern High School.

“To get out of our sectional as competitive as it is, it was three grind-out games and you just have to find a way to win,” Winegar said. “Then we got to the regional and played really well against Kokomo.”

Winegar said the team didn’t play its best in a 48-37 semistate victory against Crown Point.

“But we came back and played well in the second half in the championship game (69-61 victory over Fort Wayne Wayne),” Winegar said.

FHS topped No. 2 Noblesville 49-47 in the sectional championship and No. 4 Kokomo 66-52 in the regional.

The Tigers defeated Ben Davis 74-61 Nov. 21 in the opening game this season.

Winegar said the Giants are a different team than the first meeting because Ben Davis’ junior guard Mark Zackery IV was still playing football at the time. The Giants won the Class 6A state football championship.

“(Zackery) does so much for them than scoring and getting his teammates open and how he impacts the game defensively and rebounding,” Winegar said. “He’s a really talented player. He makes them a lot better, and their other guys have gotten better. So, obviously, we’ve gotten better, so hopefully it will be a really good state championship game.”

Senior KJ Windham, who will play for Northwestern University next season, leads Ben Davis with a 16.3 scoring average, followed by Zackery at 10.3 ppg.

“(The Giants) have a lot of guys back who played on their state championship team last year,” Winegar said. “They know how to win. They expect to win. We talk a lot about getting our program to the point that we expect to win. In our time at Warren Central, we got to the point that winning becomes contagious.”

Winegar was an assistant coach for Warren Central for three seasons and the head coach for one season before taking the Fishers job before the 2020-21 season.

Fishers suffered its only loss to Carmel 54-46 Jan. 27. The Tigers avenged that loss by beating Carmel 54-41 in the sectional opener.

“I’ve always tried to push back on (the thinking) your team needs to lose when you are undefeated,” Winegar said. “I think it helped us. We have a really good group that works hard but we were 16-0 and I think you can get a little bit complacent. Sometimes, there are corrections you need to make, and when you are winning, it covers that up. After the Carmel loss, our guys bought into what we were trying to do. As a coaching staff, you let some things go when you’re winning. Since then, it woke us all up and we’ve really been able to lock in. Our guys have been able to focus on the game plan and we’ve gone on a run since that loss.”

Ben Davis beat Jeffersonville 52-51 in the semistate final. Jeffersonville had advanced by beating No. 5 Lawrence North 62-60 in a semistate opener. The Wildcats finished with a 25-4 record.