Second-ranked Bedford North Lawrence will meet No. 4 Penn in the Class 4-A girls’ basketball state championship game Saturday night in Terre Haute’s Hulman Center.
The Stars (26-1) are chasing their fourth championship overall and the first back-to-back titles in school history. They would join Ben Davis (2009-10), North Central (2004-05), Ben Davis again (2000-01) and Martinsville (1997-98) as repeat champions in the class-basketball era.
Penn (25-1) is making its second state final appearance, having lost to Jeffersonville in 2011.
BNL, as the defending champion, would be considered the favorite.
“I would definitely rather go in as the favorite than the underdog, that’s for sure,” Stars coach Damon Bailey said. “We have a group of kids that understand that and handle that. The kids have responded.”
Penn’s leader is senior Caroline Buhr, a University of San Diego recruit averaging 11.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. Younger sister Camryn is averaging 10.6 points and 5.4 boards. Senior forward Jessi Alexander, headed for Saginaw Valley State in Michigan, contributes 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Penn ranks seventh in the state in fewest points allowed (33.5 per game) and ninth in margin of victory (26.0). The Kingsmen do a lot of things well.
BNL is powered by Purdue-pledged junior forward Dominique McBryde (15.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.1 blocks), 6-foot-3 Indiana University recruit Jenna Allen (15.0 points, 8.6 rebounds) and Butler recruit Alexa Bailey (23 points in the semistate win over No. 1 Lawrence North).
Penn’s only loss came against Class A state finalist Oregon-Davis, which pressed and forced turnovers. The Kingsmen have won 16 straight since. BNL’s defeat was at No. 1 Lawrence North during the regular season. That was avenged in the semistate with a 62-54 overtime victory.
BNL, the Hoosier Hills Conference champion, will be the first ranked opponent Penn has faced in the tournament. The Stars are No. 1 in the Sagarin computer ratings at 109.94, while Penn is seventh at 98.94.
* Floyd Central’s Madison Kaiser, Brooke Hinton and Riley Kaiser were named to the Hoosier Basketball Coaches Association’s District 4 first team.
Others honored were Corydon’s Taylor Fredrick and Aly Chambers, Eastern Pekin’s Katie Ernstberger, Silver Creek’s Alexis Barnett, Borden’s Shelby Kirchgessner, Jeffersonville’s Aurreeshae Hines, North Harrison’s Kendra Lambert and New Washington’s Ashley Johnson.
Borden’s Terry Rademacher was named the district’s Coach of the Year.
Jeffersonville hired Chelsea Jordan as its head coach on Tuesday night.
She was a star at New Albany before going to the University of Louisville, where she played three seasons. She transferred to Indiana University Southeast last year.
Jordan succeeds Jodi Bradley, who resigned after going 14-9 last year.