MIDDLEBURY – The hardware got to stay at home for the Northridge girls basketball team Saturday night.
The host Raiders made program history by topping Goshen 53-37 in the Class 4-A finale of the Northridge Sectional.
Northridge started strong and went on to claim the first-ever sectional championship in school history for the girls’ program.
The Raiders (18-4) advance to play Gary West Side (17-7) on Feb. 22 in the second semifinal game of the Penn Regional at approximately 12:30 p.m. Host and No. 4 Penn (22-1) faces Merrillville (16-6) in the regional opener at 10:30 a.m. The winners then return to Penn Saturday night to play for the regional title.
Gary West Side topped Lowell 66-30 Saturday night to win the Lowell Sectional title. Penn defeated rival Mishawaka 49-37 in the title game of the South Bend Clay Sectional and Merrillville upset N0. 6 LaPorte 56-49 in the finale of the Hobart Sectional.
Northridge had enough left in its tank Saturday to beat the Northern Lakes Conference foe Redskins for the second time this season. The Raiders, who beat Goshen 50-32 during the regular season, had rallied from a seven-point deficit in the game’s final minute Friday night to edge NLC foe Warsaw 42-41 in a classic semifinal game.
The Raiders, who claimed the NLC title earlier this season, made sure they did not need any late-game heroics Saturday night. The hosts bolted to a 12-4 lead after the opening period and led 25-15 at halftime.
Junior Taylor Miller canned a game-high 14 points to lead the champions, who lost to Warsaw in the sectional finale a year ago.
Brianne O’Dell, one of four seniors for coach Doug Springer’s squad, had 13 points and senior Morgan Miller 11.
Sophomore Elle Lengacher and Baleigh Carithers each had six points for the Raiders, who hit 14-18 free throws in the win.
Olivia Love scored 13 points to lead Goshen, which finishes at 11-11.