Depth leads Fishers High School boys to state basketball title

CIF COM 0409 Fishers state title head shots 1
Keenan Garner, left, and JonAnthony Hall

The Fishers High School boys basketball team’s depth made all the difference. 

“Our practices are ridiculously competitive,” Tigers coach Garrett Winegar said. “Our second group kicks the first team’s butt all the time. We got guys that are not playing that are really good.”

The Class 4A No. 1 Tigers topped No. 8 Ben Davis 65-56 March 30 in the IHSAA Class 4A state championship game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Fishers, which won its first state boys basketball title, finished with a 29-1 record while the defending state champion Giants ended with a 23-6 mark.

Tigers junior JonAnthony Hall had team highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds and senior Keenan Garner was right behind with 19 points and nine rebounds.

“I really didn’t think I was going to come out here and do all this,” Hall said. “But I really felt confident going into the game. Once I got it going, it just felt really good to take over the team when we needed it most.”

Hall is a top wide receiver for the Tigers with college football offers from Indiana University and Purdue University, among others.

“I know JonAnthony has a lot of football offers, but if I’m any mid-major (program) in the country, I’m trying to talk him into playing basketball because that dude is a winner,” Winegar said.

Hall hit only eight 3-pointers this season but was 2-for-4 from 3-point range against Ben Davis.

“We had a scrimmage (March 23) against our second team, and I think he hit five 3s, so he was feeling good,” Winegar said. “I told him if he steps into it and is open, I want him to catch it and shoot it. If he can shoot like that, I think he’s one of the best players in the state of Indiana.”

The Tigers lost what most considered the best returning player in the state when junior Jalen Haralson left FHS to attend La Lumiere, a prep school in LaPorte.

“This is the most unselfish group of kids I’ve ever been around,” Winegar said. “All they cared about was winning.”

Winegar said Millen McCartney did a great job defensively on the Giants’ KJ Windham, who was held to 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

“Millen was a warrior,” he said. “Different guys have stepped up. Justin Kirby came off the bench and his defense was huge. Parker Perdue getting that big stop at the end was huge. Jason Gardner got to the rim and hit his free throws.”

The future looks bright. The Tigers will return seven of their top nine scorers. Fishers will graduate top scorer Garner, who averaged nearly 16 points per game, and Taden Metzger, who averaged nine points.

Hall said no one expected Garner to play like an Indiana All-Star going into the season.

“He proved everybody wrong,” Hall said. “I think the whole team proved everybody wrong. With Jalen leaving, it was expected we would drop, but I had no doubt we could do what we did.”

The Tigers also graduate Perdue and Bryson Seymour

“We have really good players coming back,” Winegar said. “I think this should give them confidence coming into next season that we can do this again.”

Perdue received the Mental Attitude Award for Class 4A following the game.

“I think anyone that has watched our team knows he deserves it,” Winegar said. “There are games he doesn’t play until the fourth quarter and then he comes in and makes defensive stops. If you are a senior pouting that you’re not getting minutes, you’re not ready to come in and make those big plays. But he’s consistently done it all season. He’s a great kid in the classroom and a great teammate.”