CARMEL - The University boys' basketball team has enjoyed a string of success over the past three seasons. This includes two sectional championships, a regional title and three winning seasons. However, the team has struggled immensely against the powerhouse known as Park Tudor in those years.

On Wednesday night, in front of a capacity crowd inside the University High School Gymnasium, the struggles continued.

With two years of experience in facing the Panthers, the Blazers hoped to keep the game closer than in the past, but the Panthers' size was too much for the Trailblazers. The loss was the third consecutive to the Panthers by 30-plus points.

Led by seniors Bryce Moore and Dwayne Gibson the Panthers prevailed 77-40.

The Trailblazers struggled on the boards, grabbing only seven rebounds over the course of the game.

At halftime the team trailed 42-14 and hit only five field goals on 19 attempts. With their backs completely against the wall the team was able to come out in the second half and nearly match the Panthers on offense. The Panthers outscored the Blazers 27-26 in the half.

Second year University head coach Brandon Lafferman was pleased with the team's resilience in the second half.

"I was very proud of our second half," Lafferman said. "Our guys came out strong and didn't back down. And that is with missing a lot of free throws. I am proud of them."

The Blazers were led by junior Connor Holly and senior Tyler Diehl through the entire game. The combo scored 34 of the team's 40 points on the night and started by scoring all 14 of the team's first half points. Only two other players (senior Jacob Daniels and junior Ajay Wooden, Jr.) made a field goal and one player (senior Jazen Cosby) chipped in two free throws for the team.

As a team, the Blazers shot 41.9 percent from the floor. The Blazers struggled all night from the free-throw line shooting just 53.3 percent.

Lafferman said that he will tell his team that they will not face another opponent this season up to Park Tudor's skill. The Panthers are defending Class 2A state champions and the preseason No. 1 team in their class.

"I tell them that they're (Park Tudor) going to be the best team you face," Lafferman said.

Despite the big loss, Lafferman says the loss doesn't set the team back. They always maintain one goal and stick to it.

"Our goal is to always go out there and try to win the game," Lafferman said. "Always play hard and do not quit."

Moving forward the Class A Blazers hope to use their opening game loss to their benefit. The team features eight seniors, yet inexperience is an issue.

"We have a lot of seniors on our squad, but many of them don't have many varsity minutes," Lafferman said. "So we are a work in progress for sure. We will go to watch some film and see what we really need to work on, before we face another really tough opponent next week in Speedway."

Before their meeting with the Speedway Sparkplugs, the Trailblazers will have two games to prepare. They will host Indianapolis Lutheran on Saturday and travel to Baptist Academy on Friday, Dec. 5.



Park Tudor 77, University 40

Park Tudor 17 25 12 23 - 77

University 5 9 16 10 - 40

University (FG-Att./FT-Att./Totals Pts): Diehl 4-12 4-5 15, Holly 7-15 2-6 19, Daniels 1-2 0-0 2, Wooden 1-1 0-0 2, Cosby 0-0 2-2 2, Grumbaums 0-0 0-2 0, Tanner 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 13-31 8-15 40.

Rebounds - University 7. Fouled Out - Jacob Daniels.