You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

High Schools

  • Defense sends Cavaliers to state
      Who says good defense doesn’t produce drama?In the Class A semistate championship at Argos, the Canterbury and West Lafayette girls soccer teams played to a stalemate for 72 minutes before the Cavaliers’ Victoria Yanez capitalized in
  • Air attack stymied, Luers goes running
    The Bishop Luers offense is known for the passing combination of a pair of juniors – quarterback Noah Wezensky and receiver Austin Mack.
  • Spartans shot down in finals
    Homestead continued its streak of shutouts, but the season still came to an end Saturday in the Warsaw Class 2A Semistate finals.The unranked Spartans fell to No.
Advertisement
Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Norwell’s Laken Chaney, center, lunges between NorthWood’s Morgan Olson, left, and Tiffanie Alexander while taking a shot during the regional semifinal game.

Norwell captures 1st regional since 1977

– Norwell players, fans and coaches were still mingling on the Bellmont court for a while after Saturday’s Class 3A regional championship.

But it wasn’t nearly as long as it took Norwell to win another regional crown.

The Knights beat Muncie Central 61-52 on Saturday for their first regional championship since 1977.

Norwell coach Eric Thornton, 44, is in his 17th season with the program and has some perspective on the long-awaited regional championship.

“It means a lot to us because it came maybe when it wasn’t expected,” Thornton said.

“That makes it pretty sweet. We have had a lot good teams at Norwell that have come up short.”

Norwell (21-4), ranked No. 12 in 3A , plays No. 4 Western (21-3) at either Warsaw or Crown Point next Saturday in the northern 3A semistate.

Norwell has won 10 sectional titles, but only regional titles in 1976 and 1977. The Knights have won four straight sectionals.

“It’s been 37 years since our last regional title,” Norwell senior Kelsey Beer said. “The experience as a senior has just been great. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Muncie Central (18-7) was looking for its first-ever regional title after upsetting No. 3 Garrett (23-1) 48-35 in the regional semifinals Saturday morning.

The Bearcats had not let an opponent score more than 39 points in their last four games before the regional finals, while the Knights were coming off an emotional last-second win over NorthWood in the semifinals.

“We just had a lot of momentum after that,” Beer said of the semifinal win.

“Muncie Central wasn’t ready for us, and we were ready to come out and play and pounce on them. That’s what we did ultimately.”

Kaycee Strunk led Norwell with 20 points, while Mackenzie Sawyer had 17 and Stephanie Conrad 14.

“We just came out and did what we know how, and that’s play basketball,” Strunk said. “It’s just awesome.

“It was absolutely a goal for us. Everything clicked has for us, especially our pressure defense.”

Norwell trailed 14-10 early in the second before going on a 16-2 run to take a 26-19 halftime lead.

The Bearcats trimmed the margin to 39-36 in the third and to 44-39 in the fourth, but could not get any production from anyone other than Jayla Scaife (32 points).

Muncie Central led 11-7 after the first.

“Our kids just hang in there,” Thornton said. “There’s a different way that (the Bearcats) make you play that we didn’t adjust to it in until the second quarter. We settled for a lot of things in the first quarter because we were playing in a hurry.”

In the semifinals, Laken Chaney’s free throw with no time remaining lifted Norwell past NorthWood 55-54.

With the scored tied at 54, Chaney was fouled on a disputed call just as time expired.

Chaney was awarded two free throws in the double-bonus situation, but she needed only the one.

“To be honest, I wanted the ball,” Chaney said. “Being a senior, it could be my last play.”

Chaney finished with 21 points, while Conrad added 10.

gjones@jg.net

Advertisement