MISHAWAKA – The Northridge girls basketball team ran into a buzz saw Saturday.
The Raiders, who relied on defense in a history making season, simply had no answer for Gary West Side star Dana Evans.
The West frosh tossed in 35 points to lead her team past the Raiders 72-56 in a semifinal game of the Class 4-A Penn Regional.
West Side (19-3) advanced to play host and No. 4 Penn in the regional title tilt Saturday night. The host Kingsmen topped No. 13 Merrillville 66-55 in the other semifinal contest.
Northridge, making its first-ever regional appearance, led 19-16 after a blazing first quarter. West Side rallied to a 36-31 halftime lead and stretched that lead to double digits in the third period. The Raiders rallied within 56-48 in the fourth quarter before West Side pulled away.
Evans also had six assists and seven steals to lead the fast and athletic West Side squad. Amari Ferguson added 15 points for the winners.
West Side was averaging 67.4 points-per-game entering play Saturday. The Raiders were only allowing 35.4 ppg. The most points allowed by coach Doug Springer’s team prior to Saturday was 57 in a double overtime loss to Fort Wayne South Side.
Mikaela Zook led the way for Northridge with 17 points. Morgan Miller scored 12 points and Kelly Miller added 11 for the Raiders, who finish their season at 18-5.
Northridge claimed the Northern Lakes Conference title this season at 6-1 and earned the program’s first-ever sectional championship with wins over NLC foes Warsaw (42-41) and Goshen (53-37) to claim its own sectional title.
The Raiders graduate four seniors in Zook, Morgan Miller, Brianne O’Dell and Molly Bontrager.