By Mark Ambrogi
This was a dream season for junior point guard Jeremiah Alexander and his Beech Grove basketball team.
The Hornets, who never won a boys basketball regional before, captured the Class 3A state title by beating Mishawaka Marian 53-43 March 26 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
“Winning state is just such a surreal feeling,” Alexander said. “It’s something not very many people get to experience in their lifetime.”
Alexander averaged nine points and four assists a game for the Hornets (22-6).
“Alexander is a really good kid on and off the floor,” Hornets coach Mike Renfro said. “He’s kind of the glue on the floor when things are going all crazy. He’s the one that calms us down. He’s made some big shots.”
One of them came in the state championship game when Alexander hit a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to give the Hornets a 43-38 lead.
“I think that 3-pointer did definitely help seal the deal,” Alexander said. “Cam Brown came in and hit some big shots and got our momentum going really good (in the third quarter). Then I hit a couple of shots in a row, and it had us rolling from there.”
Alexander led the Indiana Crossroads Conference in assists.
“He’s a guy who can get his own shot, but he can create shots for others as well,” Renfro said.
Alexander said having Anthony Ball this season made a big difference. The 6-foot-6 Southport High School transfer had 17 points and 20 rebounds in the championship game. Prior to the final, Ball averaged 15.1 points and 8.5 rebounds.
“Ant (Ball) takes a lot of pressure off us guards because he draws a lot of attention in the post,” Alexander said. “When he draws that attention, he allows us to have more space and get open shots off the back side. Knowing we had to lock in and focus on the bigger picture helped us with our success.”
Alexander said the team is close with several members playing together since middle school.
“We had time to build our chemistry,” he said. “Having Ant coming over this year, it took a minute to get our chemistry together because he was newer to us. We had to find our niche.”
With losing just two seniors in the 10-man rotation, Alexander said the tournament experience and success will help the Hornets next season.
Personally, Alexander said he has made the most improvement in shot selection and decision making.
“Last year I was very green,” he said. “I’ve developed on being smarter on the court. I’m understanding mismatches on the offensive and defensive end and figuring out what we have to do to win.”
In addition to basketball, Alexander is a left fielder on the Hornets baseball team.
“Growing up baseball was my favorite until I started playing basketball more and I fell in love with the game,” said Alexander, who is seeking to play basketball in college.
THE ALEXANDER FILE
NAME: Jeremiah Alexander
SCHOOL: Beech Grove
SPORTS: Basketball and baseball
POSITIONS: Point guard in basketball and left fielder in baseball
FAVORITE ATHLETES: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James
FAVORITE MUSIC: Older rhythm and blues
FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Stranger Things”
FAVORITE SUBJECT: English
PARENTS: Chianti Edwards and Russell Alexander