Shakamak has been part of the Classic line several times over the years and is one of the smaller schools in the business.
And while the school is best known for its baseball successes, the Lakers have also had many great basketball moments.
Here are five things to learn about Shakamak:
5. Loyalty – Is the Shakamak like the California hotel? Can you leave at any time, but never leave?
Current Shakamak athletic director Jon Miller graduated from the school in 1988 and current coach Brodie Crowe graduated in 2013. Former Shakamak head coach Steve Brett is on his team as volunteer.
Brett was the coach when Crowe was a player, and during that time the Lakers had their two best classic performances: third place in 2009 (Crowe was a freshman) and the consolation group champion in 2010.
Crowe, if you do your math, was also among the 2012 Lakers who were Class A finalists in baseball.
4. Other Achievements – Shakamak has won eight men’s basketball championships in its history, last year’s victory being one of the most surprising.
Coach Nate O’Neall’s last Laker team was only 8-12 in the 2020-21 regular season, but got a first-round bye and beat White River Valley then North Central – which had beaten tournament favorite Bloomfield – in the Championship Game. The Lakers then clashed with a great team Tindley and lost at the Regional.
3. Best Classic Performances – Shakamak’s great offensive games were handed over by Billy Newton in 2009 and Tanner Yeryar in 2015, each scoring 34 points (Newton vs. Linton, Yeryar vs. Cloverdale).
Both were also part of the all-tournament squad during those years, as was Justin Crody in the 2010 Classic.
2. Win it big or come home – The Lakers started their last pre-classic game against Linton with a 2-3 record, while outscoring their opponents by an average of nearly 10 points per game.
Two of the Lakers’ losses were close, including a last-second loss to Sullivan. Shakamak also suffered just a five-point loss to North Knox despite the unavailability of a few key players.
But his victories were huge: 57-15 at Vincennes Rivet in the first game of the season and 52-13 against Washington Catholic.
Shakamak’s only decisive loss came against Bloomfield.
1. Stars – Sophomore JT May looks set to be one of the best players in Shakamak history and helped keep the team together when they were shorthanded.
Coy Gilbert, a handyman in the mold of his older brother Lane, is set to return for the Classic and is capable of big games as well, while Oscar Pegg is another key player.