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The Northern Lights · North Central High School • April 6, 2010 · Special Edition · Volume 54 ·

CHAMPIONS! Panthers win 4A title at centennial event


April 6, 2010


Savor championship, improve spirit The boys basketball team were no doubt the best in the state this year. They brought home a state championship and the Warsaw Tigers never had a chance. It was a great team that had great success. Each player commented on how they became a family. The team was united; they had a true sense of direction and pride. They achieved everything they set out for at the beginning of the season. For the Panthers, there was just one thing missing from the mix – the rest of North Central. At each game in the state tournament, North Central’s student section was outdone by the oppositions. Other schools brought out more people, more pride, and more support. At Conseco, NC’s crowd was miniscule compared to the sea of orange that Warsaw brought. Yes, it was spring break, but there were more people in town than there were at the game. For some reason, students and their families don’t see a reason to come to the games and support the team. It is something we should be proud of. The team gives North Central an opportunity to shine, and to

show we are best. NC couldn’t even have class when they did show up. As the Tigers ran to the court, they were greeted by NC boos. But on the Panthers entrance, not a Tips to improve spirit single Warsaw fan saw fit to boo our team. • Publicize who the players are, be it on There is a serious the announcements or posters. • Have a real pep rally for a championshipproblem at NC. As a bound team, not a before-school mess. school, we have no • Pump the student body up with hype community our identity. music throughout the day. Nothing unites us, not • Have administrators who put even minor even a state championeffort into building real, true school spirit. ship team. State cham• Make available special tournament pionships do not come clothing, like the sea of orange shirts the Warasw fans wore. along often. The student body should take pride in the team, and do everything it can to support it. When it comes down to it, North Central needs spirit. It needs something that unites it. It needs pride. It needs an identity. Who can help accomplish this?

Economic ignorance leads to championship Scott McAlister

At NC all students must take economics in order to graduate. It’s a fairly easy class. Much of the curriculum is common sense. Sometimes while taking it last semester I wondered why we are forced to take something that we already know most of. However, at the state

championship basketball game I found out the hard way why it is important to understand the value of a dollar. Warsaw, apparently does understand economics though and they used this to their advantage. Around the same time that NC took a commanding lead in the first quarter – keeping it for the rest of the game- what seemed like three fourths of Conseco Fieldhouse (roughly the size of the population of Warsaw) all collaborated in a full scale assault on NC fans’ intelligence.

It was a mean-spirited cheer. It was even worse than the cheers coming out of the NC student section. The Warsaw fans all sat down for the rest of the game as we continued to stand. It was as if they were laughing at our lack of caring of the price we paid for those seats. I have not seen a cheer so mean spirited since the Muncie Central debacle of 1952 and we all know how that ended. So there they were. The Warsaw fans all enjoyed their soft, padded seats that they paid $15 for as we con-

tinued to waste our money by standing the whole game. And to add insult to injury, they didn’t say much either. Now, not only were they making fun of our lack of economic know-how but they were making fun of our voices too. All this went right over our heads as we just kept standing and cheering our boys on to victory. We may not get economics all the way, but this kind of a cheer should not be aloud in an IHSAA event. It’s just too harsh to make fun of one’s voice and economic knowledge all at once, let alone

the entire game. All jokes aside, the NC student section should be praised just as much as the team for their support throughout this tournament. When the going got rough in the regional championship, NC fans continued to cheer and we rallied to win that game. When NC was up by over 20 points in the state championship we didn’t give up cheering either. It all paid off in the end. Our basketball team and our economic ignorance helped bring another state title home to NC.

McFall has evolved from a trigger happy three-point specialist into a spectacular all around force; his strength and speed immensely better than given credit for. Altice has grown from a scrappy undersized guard, starting for a 9-11 freshman squad to a guard who has totally bought into Coach Mitchell’s system providing a spark off the bench. Bluitt perhaps has been through the most diversity, being dismissed from the team his

sophomore year, transferring schools, and re-joining the Panthers—all while improving and advancing his game. Four years ago Johnson was recovering from knee surgery. Now he’s the face of the state championship team. Who deserves the credit for the latest championship? Doug Mitchell. The man is a genius. Being one of the most competitive teams in the state year after year is no coincidence. Mitchell has

devised an effective playing style and, more importantly, convinced each and every player to buy into that style. Additionally, Mitchell knows the potential of every one of his players, and crafts gameplans that cater to their abilities. This is the key to Mitchell’s success. He knows that Micah Smith, an extremely hard working junior, will give him harassing defense, effectively taking away one

of the opposition’s perimeter players. He knows that the Panthers’ strength and speed will make up for their lack of size in the middle. And, most importantly, he has instilled a genuine “team-first” mentality that allows for the team to get the best shot possible on offense, regardless of who is taking them. Mitchell’s philosophy, along with exceptional, intelligent athletes was the recipe for a state championship.

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Joan Ong Andrew Perrin ISSUE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Beau Scott SPECIAL EDITION STAFF Cal Boots Jonathon McBride Jack Peck Will Staal ADVISER Tom Gayda EDITORIAL POLICY The purpose of the Northern Lights is to serve the school audience, including administrators, teachers, faculty and staff, parents, community members and most importantly, the students as an established open forum. Since this is a school newspaper, the content and character of the paper will cater to the student body’s interest and ideas by covering a wide variety of events and issues concerning the students of North Central High School. The newspaper will serve as a medium for student opinions and ideas. The staff strives to achieve objective, accurate content to cover and feature a well-balanced variety of different students and their viewpoints. Because school officials do not engage in prior review, and the content of the Northern Lights is determined by and reflects only the views of the student staff and not school officials or the school itself, its student editorial board and responsible student staff members assume complete legal and financial liability for the content of the publication. The views of columnists are not necessarily those of the newspaper staff. The goal of the newspaper is to have no errors; however, that goal is not easily accomplished. The staff apologizes for such errors and will run corrections whenever possible. Letters to the editor are welcomed and encouraged, but will only be published if they are signed. The Northern Lights reserves the right to edit letters for length, grammar and unacceptable content. Each issue will feature a lead editorial, which reflects the viewpoint of the majority of the staff. An editorial board consisting of the adviser, the editors-in-chief, the copy editor, the managing editors, the design editor and the photo editor will review the lead editorial and help edit it, especially in case of questionable material. Letters to the editor should be delivered to K634. For the entire Editorial Policy go to:

Team success belongs to ‘genius’ Mitchell Beau Scott

What a difference four years can make. No one has experienced more change in the last four years than our beloved state championship winning seniors: Terone Johnson, Trip McFall, Jack Altice, and Aaron Bluitt.

WEB MASTERS Sam Alderfer Nick Panyard NORTH CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL 1801 East 86th Street Indianapolis, IN 46240 (317) 259-5301 phone


April 6, 2010



Beau Scott Cal Boots

For the boy’s basketball team, this past season was a year focused on one thing—a state championship. With quick, intelligent point guards in Ronnie Johnson and Micah Smith, elite off-guards in D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Trip McFall, as well as a Mr. Basketball candidate in Terone Johnson, the Panthers were hungry for a title. McFall commented on the team’s lone goal. “Since the beginning of the season we knew we could win state, and any other result would have been falling short of our potential,” McFall said. The team started the year with wins against Pike and Lawrence Central, but then lost to both Carmel and East Chicago Central within the nex five games.

The Panthers, however, responded with an eleven game winning streak, earning them a Marion County Championship as well as a MIC title. A loss to Center Grove was the only blemish in their last 20 games, leaving them with an overall record of 25-3. Before attaining their goal of a state championship, the Panthers had another obstacle in their path—winning Sectional 10. Talented programs such as Lawrence North, Lawrence Central, Warren Central, and Cathedral all are a part of Sectional 10, making it arguably the most difficult in the state. It was the difficulty of this sectional that tripped up last year’s squad, losing in the sectional championship to a talented Lawrence North team. This year however, the team was determined to

crack the sectional barrier and advance to Hinkle Fieldhouse for regional play. McFall commented on the teams focus throughout sectional play. “We have the best coacing staff in the state and they kept us on task and focused every day,” McFall said. The Panthers received a bye in the first round of sectional play and beat Warren Central by 21 points to set up a rematch with Lawrence North in the final. After a rocky start and lack of offense, the Panther defense kicked in and held the Wildcats to just 11 points in the last three quarters of play, giving the Panthers the sectional crown. Regional play featured the historic double header played at Hinkle Fieldhouse. After beating Ben Davis in the morning game,

the Panthers were slotted to play the Millers of Noblesville in the nightcap. The game was hard fought with the score close throughout regulation. A late streak of points by Johnson forced the game into overtime. Late free throws by McFall and sophomore Patrick Ingram allowed the Panthers to notch the one point victory. “I think the defining moment of our season was beating Noblesville in overtime,” Johnson said. Coach Doug Mitchell commented on the task of playing Noblesville. “The Noblesville game was the most difficult of the tournament because it was such a long day at Hinkle, and they were such a good team,” Mitchell said. Next the team made the trek down to Southport to play Jeffersonville, who were hot off just beating

LEFT: The team celebrates with the championship trophy at the conclusion of the game. ABOVE: Coach Doug Mitchell intently watches the game. JACK PECK PHOTOS

team, coaches, say special bond led to success the best team in the state, Bloomington South. The Panthers survived a late surge by Jeffersonville and finished them off with a score of 82-74. The Panthers season culminated at a packed Conseco Fieldhouse against Warsaw for the State Championship. Warsaw came out of the gates fast but NC quickly caught up and passed them and the game was over by the end of the second quarter. The final score was 9574, setting a state record for points in the state championship. “We have honestly not played anything like that. They are no joke,” Warsaw coach Doug Ogle said. After the team was awarded their medals at Conseco and the coaches cut down the nets, many players and their families and fans met back at the North Central gymnasium

to celebrate. Everybody celebrated their first championship since the 1998-1999 season. “I celebrated by spending time with my friends and family. It was great because my best friend from Portland came and surprised me, I smiled a lot the next few days,” Mitchell said. Many attribute the success of the team to the outstanding senior leadership by McFall, Johnson, Aaron Bluitt and Jack Altice, and also to the team’s unity. “Our senior leadership was a great bonus, we had great leaders. The thing is that they all led in different ways. Terone led verbally, Trip by example, Jack by example and by making his few minutes important and Aaron by sacrificing his role,” Mitchell said. “We all became a family,” Altice said.


April 6, 2010

a. Ronnie Johnson passes the ball to a teammate. JONNY MCBRIDE PHOTO. b. Terone Johnson looks for an open player to pass the ball to during the championship game. JACK PECK PHOTO. c. Players wait for the game resume. JACK PECK PHOTO. d. Terone Johnson prepares to shoot the ball during the game. Johnson scored 26 points. JACK PECK PHOTO. e. Ronnie Johnson waits to be called back into the game. JONNY MCBRIDE PHOTO. f. Trip McFall goes for a lay-up against a Warsaw player. JONNY MCBRIDE PHOTO.



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6 CELEBRATION LEFT: Carrie McFall watches her son, Trip, play. BELOW: Trip poses with father, Frederick and mom, Carrie. JACK PECK PHOTOS

April 6, 2010

Team celebrates second title

One proud momma Reporter Will Staal caught up with Trip McFall’s mother, Carrie, during the state championship game. How has it been seeing Trip progress from his freshman year to senior year? It’s been great. He made the tournament team as a freshman so it is really great to see him playing as a senior. What is the most memorable moment from NC basketball involving Trip? Right now. With he, Terone (Johnson), Jack (Altice) and Aaron (Bluitt) playing basketball since the sixth grade together it’s great that all four of them are here now together.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Coach Doug Mitchell cuts the net. Later, Mitchell addresses the fans at the post-game pep rally. Terone and Ronnie Johnson hold the trophy. Micah Smith and Jack Altice arrive back at school with the championship. JACK PECK/ JONNY MCBRIDE PHOTOS

Fantastic crowd supports team

Next stop: Boilermaker Stall also caught up with Matt Painter, head coach of the Purdue Boilermaker men’s basketball team. “The thing that jumps out with him is his competetive nature. Winning state and everything. Whenever I showed up his drive to win was always impressive.” —about what Painter looks forward to from Terone Johnson next year

Tournament roster NC’s state championship team included the following individuals: Players Aaron Bluitt, Ronnie Johnson, Jack Altice, Micah Smith, Trip McFall, Jordan Williams, Tim Bass, Wade Stallings, Anthony Bradley, John Murry, Patrick Ingram, Darius Latham, Terone Johnson, Dedric Griffin, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Anthony Massengill. Coaches Head coach Doug Mitchell, Walt Morris, Fred Andrews, Michael Elliot, Jeremy Simpson, strength coach Marc Anderson and athletic director Chuck Jones.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Graduates Jeff Hasser and Brian Eckstein watch the game. NC fans do the “roller coaster.” Math teacher Leanne Kabrich waves her rally towel in support of the team. JACK PECK PHOTOS



April 6, 2010

Jack Altice is attending Miami University of Ohio after a year of varsity experience. Altice would like to thank former teammate Derek Thiems for his success this season.

After playing for the freshman team, Aaron Bluitt played one year at Bishop Chatard before transferring back to NC to finish his career. Coach Mitchell noted how much Bluitt sacrificed for the team’s success this season.



Trip McFall leaves NC with three years of varsity experience as a guard for Coach Mitchell. McFall was a vocal leader for the Panthers. Although his plans for next year are not final, he would like to continue to play basketball wherever he goes.

Terone Johnson will play at Purdue next season. Johnson is a candidate for Mr. Basketball and has averaged over 20 points since his sophomore year. He would like to thank the NC coaching staff and his family for the teams success.


April 6, 2010 The Panthers first won a state championship in 1999. Top: 1999 state champion players pose with their medals. Bottom: Jason Gardner takes a jump shot during the semi-state game at Hinkle Fieldhouse. FILE PHOTOS

North Central has three former Indiana Mr. Basketball’s — Jason Gardner (top); A.J. Ratliff (right) and Eric Gordon (above, with his father). All three went on to play basketball at the collegiate level. While Gardner has found success playing basketball overseas, Gordon currently plays for the NBA’s L.A. Clippers. PHOTOS COURTESY THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR

Panther’s have long tradition of excellence COACH MARVIN WOOD (92-104) 1956-57 3-19 1957-58 13-11 1958-59 8-11 1959-60 13-10 1960-61 16-6 1961-62 11-9 1962-63 5-16 1963-64 8-13 1964-65 15-9 Wood was the former Milan head coach, popularized in the movie “Hoosiers.” COACH ARLAN LICKLITER (216-170) 1965-66 8-12 1966-67 11-9 1967-68 20-4 1968-69 13-10 1969-70 15-7 1970-71 10-11 1971-72 10-12 1972-73 18-7 1973-74 14-8 1974-75 19-8 1975-76 7-15 1976-77 12-10 1977-78 12-11 1978-79 22-7 1979-80 9-12 1980-81 12-11 1981-82 4-16 Lickliter’s son, Todd, is the former head coach of the Butler and Iowa basketball program.

COACH STEVE COFFMAN (131-112) 1982-83 7-14 1983-84 14-9 1984-85 13-10 1985-86 18-5 1986-87 10-13 1987-88 17-6 1988-89 14-7 1989-90 10-11 1990-91 12-11 1991-92 13-9 1992-93 3-17 Coffman’s son, Bob, is a successful high school basketball coach in Illinois. This year, Bob coached the 2A state champions. COACH DOUG MITCHELL (287-124) 1993-94 7-15 1994-95 12-11 1995-96 14-10 1996-97 22-4 1997-98 14-7 1998-99 25-5 1999-2000 6-15 2000-01 10-12 2001-02 18-4 2002-03 15-6 2003-04 21-4 2004-05 17-9 2005-06 20-4 2006-07 21-5 2007-08 17-8 2008-09 23-2 2009-10 25-3

More than 40 of Mitchell’s former players have gone on to play at the collegiate level. He is the 1999 Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Class 4A Coach of the Year. Mitchell is a former Butler assistant basketball coach. COUNTY CHAMPIONS: 1961, 68, 70, 72, 75, 79, 97, 09, 10 MIC CHAMPIONS: 1996-97, 99 SECTIONAL CHAMPIONS: 1973, 75, 79, 91, 95, 97, 99, 2004-05, 07-08, 10 REGIONAL CHAMPIONS: 1979, 99, 2007, 10 SEMI-STATE CHAMPIONS: 1999, 2007, 10 STATE RUNNER-UP: 2007 STATE CHAMPIONS: 1999, 2010 TOURNEY OF CHAMPIONS: 1999 1956-2010: 726-510 BEST RECORD: 2009 (23-2), 2010 (25-3) HALL OF FAME INDIANA ALL-STAR BASKETBALL TEAM 1975 Kyle O’Brien

1979 1998 1999 2004 2004 2007

David Bastain Kyle Black Jason Gardner A.J. Ratliff Anthony Passley Eric Gordon

GATORADE INDIANA PLAYER OF THE YEAR 1998 Jason Gardner 1999 Jason Gardner 2004 A.J. Ratliff 2007 Eric Gordon INDIANAPOLIS STAR MARION COUNTY ATHLETE OF THE YEAR 1998 Kyle Black 2007 Eric Gordon INDIANA MR. BASKETBALL 1999 Jason Gardner 2004 A.J. Ratliff 2007 Eric Gordon MCDONALDS ALL-AMERICAN 1999 Jason Gardner 2007 Eric Gordon HOOSIER BASKETBALL’S TOP SENIOR BOYS 2010 Terone Johnson AP All-State Team 1999 Jason Gardner 2004 A.J. Ratliff 2006 Eric Gordon 2007 Eric Gordon

Indiana All-Star Team: 1979 David Bastain 1999 Jason Gardner 2004 A.J. Ratliff 2004 Anthony Passley 2007 Eric Gordon Associated Press Indiana All-Century team 2007 Eric Gordon 2009-2010 Results 11/25 W Pike 94-79 12/5 W Lawrence Central 87-50 12/11 L Carmel 79-83 12/18 W Frankfort 86-50 12/19 W Hamilton Southeastern 88-61 12/29: NC Holiday Tourney W Campagna Academy 112-27 12/30 NC Holiday Tourney L East Chicago Central 78-82 1/2 W LaPorte 92-52 1/8 W Ben Davis 84-54 1/12: Marion County W Roncalli 69-47 1/13: Marion County W Speedway 80-37 1/15: Marion County W Lawrence North 59-55 1/16: Marion County

W Warren Central 71-52 1/22 W Lawrence North 99-55 1/23 W Muncie Central 65-50 1/30 W Warren Central 82-55 2/11 W Terre Haute North 60-41 2/13 W Terre Haute South 98-47 2/19 L Center Grove 67-69 2/20 W Danville 76-63 2/24 W Brownsburg 80-51 2/26 W Fort Wayne Harding 97-64 3/5: Sectional W Lawrence Central 68-47 3/6: Sectional W Lawrence North 41-30 3/13: Regional W Ben Davis 77-67 3/13: Regional W Noblesville 54-53 3/20: Semi-state W Jeffersonville 82-74 3/27: State W Warsaw 95-74

Basketball Special Issue  

The Northern Lights presents a special issue on the boy's basketball team's state championship title.