GOSHEN – Penn started strong and finished fast Friday night to earn the opportunity to play for yet another girls basketball sectional championship.
The No. 10 Kingsmen turned back Elkhart Central 45-28 in the first semifinal game of the Class 4-A Goshen Sectional.
Penn, now 20-4, will meet No. 7 Northridge (25-1) Saturday night at 7:30 in the sectional title game. The winner advances to the LaPorte Regional Feb. 11 to play the Lowell Sectional winner.
The Kingsmen, who were Class 4-A state champions a year ago, are shooting for their seventh straight sectional crown.
Penn handed Northridge its lone loss of the season, a 50-44 final in Middlebury back on Dec. 13. The Raiders, who have won 13 in a row since then, beat Warsaw 54-27 in the second sectional semifinal game Friday night.
The Kingsmen, who have just one senior, led 6-0 on Central at the end of the opening quarter. Central’s first point came at the 6:38 mark of the second stanza on a free throw. Penn led 17-1 before Central hit its first shot of the night with 1:44 to play before halftime. The Blue Blazers missed their first 17 shots from the field in the contest.
Penn led 23-6 at halftime as Central shot 2-21 from the field in the opening half. The Kingsmen led 33-18 at the end of the third period. The Blue Blazers, who lost 44-35 to Penn on Nov. 26, cut the lead to single digits in the final period, but Penn pulled away late.
Lindsy Kline, Penn’s lone senior, led the winners with 19 points. She was 14-17 from the free throw line.
Junior Sara Doi finished with 13 points for coach Kristi Ulrich’s team. Penn hit 20-25 free throws in the win.
Central, which finished at 12-11, was just 6-15 from the line.
Sophomore Trinitee Harris led the Blue Blazers with 11 points. Junior Krisen Hunt had eight points and senior Tylar Roberson seven for Central.
Coach Will Coatie’s Central squad loses just two seniors in Roberson and Jordan Ware.