indianapolis - It was fitting that the final point scored in Saturday's Class-3A Indiana High School Athletic Association boy's basketball state championship game was by Delta's Kelly Robbins.
After all, Robbins had scored more points in a single game than any other 3A player in the short history of Indiana class basketball. His 38 points shattered the old mark of 27, set in 2000 by Shane Power of Andrean, and helped Delta win its first state basketball championship, 65-54, over Fort Wayne-Harding.
Head coach Paul Keller's Eagles used consistent shooting and a near-perfect performance from the free-throw line to keep the pressure on Harding throughout the game.
Delta shot 61 percent for the game and held Harding to 44 percent, including 0-8 on three-point shooting in the second half. Delta also converted 21 of 22 free throws, including 13 of 14 in the fourth quarter, to keep the game out of Harding's reach.
The Eagles also won the rebounding battle, 23-19, a factor that Harding coach Al Gooden said was critical to the game's outcome.
"They shot the ball well," Gooden said. "We did a good job on offense and after every timeout we played hard. We only got one shot because they blocked out on the boards."
Keller, whose team played in the final single-class tournament championship in 1997, agreed with his coaching counterpart.
"The kids did a great job executing what we had set up," he said. "I was really proud of the way they boxed out and screened."
But the story of the game was Robbins, who also picked up eight rebounds for the Eagles. His 38-point performance was the eighth-highest single-game total in IHSAA history, only one less than the 39 scored by Oscar Robertson in 1956 and Scott Skiles in 1982. Both Robbins and Keller credit the Eagles' screening performance for the scoring barrage.
"When he moves and gets off screens, he's going to convert," Keller said. "I thought he did an excellent job of curling screens and knocking down some threes. He moved so well without the ball and the others were looking for him."
Robbins said, "Ryan Rhodes and Brad Wilson were setting the best screens they have set all year. That opens them up and in turn opens me up."
Delta guard Joey Lynch, who will attend Ball State next year on a football scholarship and is the son of Cardinal football coach Bill Lynch, added five points and six assists for the Eagles. Harding was led by Adrian Greene and Courtney Reese, who both scored 15 points.
The championship is Delta's first, after a state runner-up finish in 1997 and an appearance in the 3A state finals in 2001.