Indianapolis — For the past several years, Indiana has dominated the boys side of the Indiana All-Star games with Kentucky, winning 35 of 40 meetings since 1999.
Zionsville grad Isaiah Thompson and this years crop of Indiana All-Stars made sure that domination continued. They capped off a dominate sweep of Kentucky with a 120-74 blowout at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Thompson scored nine points in the win Saturday, after scoring 17 on Friday. It was the perfect cap to a great All-Star experience for Thompson.
"It was super fun, starting on the first day Monday," Thompson said. "From the beginning we emphasized just going out there and competing and having fun. We knew we wanted to sweep Kentucky, and that's what we did. It's really like our last week of high school, so we just wanted to enjoy it."
The All-Stars didn't just sweep Kentucky, they demolished them.
Indiana won 97-64 on Friday night, and coupled with Saturday's 46-point victory, they averaged a 39.5 margin in the two games, which is a record. The 46-point win on Saturday was the second-largest margin in the 90-year history of the event.
"Kentucky has some really good players going to good schools, but our coaches came up with a great gameplan," Thompson said. "They emphasized defense, and our defense led to offense in both games. I am glad we were able to sweep Kentucky."
Sometimes in all-star events, it can take a while to develop chemistry on the court, because the players are unfamiliar with one another and are used to being the go-to option on their own team.
But that wasn't the case for this group from Indiana, who were familiar with one another and used that to their advantage. They had 31 assists on 43 made baskets on Saturday, after having 26 on 37 baskets on Friday.
"Everybody was the No. 1 or 2 option on their high school team, but we have played with each other for a while," Thompson said. "We all know each other on and off the court, we played AAU with each other, so the chemistry was there from the start. And when you have good chemistry like that, good things can happen."
With his prep career now behind him, Thompson will head up to Purdue on Sunday to start the next chapter in his playing career.
He said he knows he still has work to do, but he is excited for the next challenge.
"I am looking forward to going out there and competing with everybody and having fun out there and proving that I belong at the Big Ten level," Thompson said. "I am going to come in, work and play as hard as I can and show the coaches what I can do and what kind of leader I can be on the court."
There will be a familiar face on the Purdue staff for Thompson, as his brother P.J. joined Matt Painter's staff as a graduate assistant.
The younger Thompson said he is looking forward to gain even more knowledge from his older brother.
"I am super excited to have him on the staff now," Thompson said. "Any time you have someone with the knowledge he has, and him being my brother, it is really good for me and everybody else on the team. He has been there before, so that helps a lot too. He is going to help everybody and push me for the next few years."
As his time representing Zionsville on a prep level comes to a close, it was a memorable four years for Thompson.
He is the all-time leading scorer in Zionsville history with 2,139 points, tied for 27th all-time in Indiana.
The Eagles won 80 games in his four years, winning four HCC titles and two sectional titles. Thompson said he loved his Zionsville experience.
"I am going to remember how great of people everyone was," Thompson said. "They took me in as a freshman, and challenged me and pushed me. Overall, there is nothing but great people at Zionsville and I am forever grateful to be able to put on that jersey. I made memories that will last a lifetime and I thank coach Busick for that."