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Northwestern 63, Greensburg 42; Tigers win first 3A state title

Indianapolis- At Saturday’s Class 3A Girls’ Basketball State Championship inside of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, top ranked Northwestern defeated second ranked Greensburg, 63-42.  It was the first title for the Lady Tigers who finished the season 29-1.

Northwestern’s Kathie Layden became only the second head coach in IHSAA girls’ basketball history to win state titles at two different schools.  She won three championships at Tri-Central in 2002, ’03 and ’04.  The only other girls’ coach to claim that accomplishment is Donna Cheatham who won at both Scottsburg and Southwestern Hanover.

The 2017-18 Greensburg Lady Pirates achieved numerous firsts this season: first regional game win, first regional championship and first semi-state championship.  They also won the most games in program history with 23.

While the ultimate first of bringing home the state title eluded them, coach Jason Simpson and the Lady Pirates can claim, without dispute, the program’s best…season…ever.

The game started very slowly for both teams and a significantly favored Tiger team (by 18 points according to Jeff Sagarin’s computer ratings), led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter and just 15-13 early in the second.  But Winchester then exploded for a 3A state finals single-quarter record 24 points to go up 37-22 at half.

Greensburg never recovered.  Shots were not falling for the EIAC champions and losing the rebounding count by 17 limited additional opportunities.  Northwestern, located near Kokomo, had a 14-2 advantage in second chance points and a 28-18 edge inside the paint.

Make no mistake about it.  Northwestern was the better team and, for the Greensburg faithful, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “Congratulations Northwestern.  Well deserved.”

The Tigers placed three players in double figure scoring.  Stephanie Burns hit all six field goal attempts on her way to a game-high 17 points.  Kendall Bostic followed with 14 points plus had a game-best nine rebounds and three blocks. Madison Layden posted 13 points along with a game-high five assists and six steals.  Both Burns and Layden were also factors on the glass with eight caroms each.

Northwestern’s Sarah Vas was awarded the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award.  She shared game-high assist honors with Layden with five dishes plus added six points.

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