INDIANAPOLIS – Kyle Mangas got to live out the boyhood dream of every kid in Indiana.
If anyone ever deserved to don an Indiana All-Star jersey for his final high school game it was the former Warsaw star guard.
Mangas did just that Sunday as he played his last prep game sporting a No. 7 jersey as the Indiana All-Stars lost to Kentucky 111-110 in double overtime in Frankfort, Kentucky.
“It really did live up to what I expected it to be,” said Mangas in a phone interview early Sunday evening as he headed back home to Warsaw from Kentucky with his parents Tim and Ann. “It was awesome to get to play with the best players in the state.
“It was just a really fun experience. To get to play in Bankers Life Fieldhouse was pretty cool. It was cool to get to wear that Indiana jersey and it was awesome to represent Warsaw.”
Mangas had four points in Sunday’s game as Kentucky snapped a 17-game losing streak to Indiana. He scored five points Saturday night as Indiana won 94-89 in the first game of the annual series at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Mangas, the ultimate team player, adapted to his role on a team filled with guys looking to get their shot attempts.
“Everyone wants to be a scorer because we all did that for our high school teams,” noted Mangas, who finished his Warsaw career fourth all-time in scoring with 1,450 points. “It took a little time to get to know the guys. But my role was as a facilitator. I just looked to take my scoring opportunities when they came to me.”
Mangas made 2-4 shot attempts Saturday night as he played 20 minutes. On Sunday, he was 0-0 from the field in 15 minutes of playing time. He had four assists and three rebounds in Sunday’s game, which saw Indiana rally from a 16-point deficit in the final 8:30 of regulation play to force overtime.
Mangas also got the chance to know a future teammate during his week with the All-Star squad. Grant Smith of Connersville High School will join Mangas at Indiana Wesleyan University to play for coach Greg Tonagel for the NAIA power Wildcats, who compete in the tough Crossroads League with the likes of Bethel and Grace. Smith, who roomed with Mangas during All-Star camp at Marian University, had 17 points and 10 rebounds in Sunday’s game.
“I liked playing with Grant,” said Mangas, who will report to IWU on Monday. “He’s really versatile and athletic.”
The game Saturday night proved just how much Mangas, the 11th All-Star in the storied history of Tiger basketball, meant to his community. A large contingent of Warsaw fans made the trip to Indy, sporting All-Star T-shirts with an image of their hometown hero on it.
The show of support was not lost on Mangas, who led his Doug Ogle coached Warsaw team to back-to-back Class 4-A sectional championships and three straight undefeated seasons in Northern Lakes Conference play, the first team in league history to accomplish that impressive feat.
“I want to give a big shout out to my friends and fans who came down Saturday night to support me,” said Mangas, who picked up his diploma at commencement at WCHS Friday night.
“It meant a lot to me to have all of those people there supporting me.”
As it had to mean a lot to Tiger fans to get a chance to watch one of the program’s classiest players ever get to live out his dream.