Girls hoops: North Central nabs first MIC title since '08 with win over Lawrence North

Girls hoops: North Central nabs first MIC title since '08 with win over Lawrence North


Girls hoops: North Central nabs first MIC title since '08 with win over Lawrence North


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FILE — Rikki Harris led North Central to a MIC title with Saturday's win over Lawrence North.

FILE — Rikki Harris led North Central to a MIC title with Saturday’s win over Lawrence North.

INDIANAPOLIS — Before Saturday’s game, Taylor Ramey told her North Central teammates she wanted to see them hyped after every basket regardless of the score. Rikki Harris didn’t really understand what she meant at first, but once the Panthers started scoring — smiling and cheering — she figured it out pretty quickly.

Harris, more than anyone else, felt the energy with each basket scored against Lawrence North. She connected on 13-of-15 shots, including another 6-of-10 from the foul line, for a game-high 32 points as she guided the Class 4A No. 1 Panthers (22-0) to a 73-53 victory over No. 8 Wildcats (11-8) for the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference title — the program’s first since sharing it with Ben Davis in 2008.

“That might have been the (most fun) game we’ve played all season,” said Harris, still smiling more than 20 minutes after the game ended. “We just keep each other up. We all know each other’s strengths and weakness. They know what I can do and I know what they can do, and we’ll put us in the best spots to win.”

Prior to the game, North Central coach DeeAnn Ramey stood on the court for Senior Day and talked up the leadership of her seniors, lifting them as high as No. 4 in the MaxPreps national rankings.

She also commended them for helping everyone maintain a collective 3.9 GPA, which falls in line with her regular praise to her girls’ basketball IQ. Those basketball smarts came to light in the first quarter as the Panthers figured their way around the Wildcats, jumping up by double digits early in the second quarter.

Wildcats star Destiny Perkins was stagnant from the floor, scoring 1-of-4 shots in the first half and finishing 3-for-11 for 12 points. Trinity Brady scored a team-high 16 points, helping pull the Wildcats within five before halftime.

But the Panthers were too much. If Harris wasn’t driving to the basket and scoring, she was dishing it out or passing to her teammates, who were equally as deadly when given their opportunities. Senior Ajanae’ Thomas scored 15 points in the Panthers’ final home game of the regular season.

As the Panthers built their lead in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats recognized the futility and pulled Perkins from the game with about three minutes remaining — an end result not so different from many of the Panthers’ games this season.

Is it possible, after seeing North Central bulldoze their way to a title in a conference stuffed with five top-10 teams, to even pinpoint what makes this team so special?

“Because they are unselfish, because they are united as a team,” Ramey said. “They have a little bit of a swag about them that they’re not going to lose. They’re going to do everything in their power to compete and not lose. That’s hard to teach, but this group has got it.”

But as Ramey cautioned, the Panthers still have a tough road ahead of them with more MIC matchups between them and a state title. In some cases — like with Warren Central and Lawrence North — North Central will be facing the same team three times, which Ramey insists is hard to do against any team.

“You just can’t say enough about this group of girls — they’re special,” Ramey said. “But they know that, as great of a year as this has been, if we don’t get one of our goals, if we don’t get state, this group will be sad. Because they have one goal in mind and, again, not to take anything away from what they’ve accomplished, but they want that prize.”

Follow IndyStar reporter Jordan J. Wilson on Twitter: @Wilsonable07.


Lawrence North       11 20 15  7   — 53

North Central           20 16 19 18  — 73

Lawrence North (11-7) — Destiny Perkins 3-11 5-6 12, Trinity Brady 6-13 3-3 16, Lauren Gunn 1-5 1-2 3, Mya Parker 3-6 0-0 6, Katie Davidson 2-7 0-0 4, Kristian Young 2-3 2-3 6, Ahsley Raines 1-4 3-3 6, Kalyn Ervin 0-1 0-0 0, Mackenzie Gore 0-1 0-0 0. 

North Central (22-0) — Rikki Harris 13-15 6-10 32, Taylor Ramey 5-7 1-3 12, Ajah Stallings 2-6 3-4 8, Andrea Robertson 1-7 0-0 2, Ajanae’ Thomas 7-10 0-0 15, Taylor Henry 0-1 0-0 0, Savaya Brockington 1-2 2-2 4. 


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