CROWN POINT — It was certainly fun while it lasted, but all good things must come to and end. The historic season that the Northridge girls basketball team had been putting together came to a screeching halt Saturday afternoon. The Raiders, No. 7 in the state, were stonewalled by No. 2 Homestead 63-40 in the Class 4-A North Semi-State at Crown Point.
Homestead played air-tight defense through the majority of the game, a trend that started right away as Northridge was unable to get the ball inside of the perimeter on several early possessions. The Raiders hung tough for a while, but it was short-lived. Back-to-back threes from Brooke McKinley tied things up 11-11 in the first quarter but the Spartans went on a 6-0 run to end the frame and would outscore the Raiders 27-10 for the remainder of the half.
Homestead hit five threes in the first two quarters to help build its lead. The Spartans also shot 60-percent from the floor before the half, 51-percent for the game. The Raiders never gave up, Homestead was just far and away the better team, which was to be expected in a lot of ways.
The Spartans have four seniors, all of which are moving on to play college ball next year. Three of those senior will be suiting up for NCAA Division 1 programs. Karissa McLaughlin will continue her career at Florida, Madisen Parker moves on to Bowling Green and Jazmyne Geist will play for Northern Kentucky. The fourth senior, Teryn Kline, will play for NAIA D-II program Lawrence Tech.
Those four players combined for 58 of the team’s 63 points. McLaughlin led the way with 30, Geist had 15, Parker tallied eight and Kline scored five. Geist led all players with 13 rebounds, Homestead had 25 boards as a team to Northridge’s 22.
While Homestead’s senior class is certainly a rarity and one that Spartan fans will hate to see leave, they still have another week to enjoy the special foursome. Northridge fans, however, are stuck waving goodbye to their decorated senior class right now.
The Raider seniors, Melinda Bontrager, Julaine Miller, Marci Miller and Kelsey Brickner have had a very special stint in Middlebury. In the four years the foursome was on campus Northridge compiled an 84-20 record as well as earning the first two sectional titles in program history (2014, 2017) back-to-back Northern Lakes Conference titles (2016-17) and the school’s first-ever regional title in either boys or girls hoops history (2017). That’s a legacy that will never be taken away.
McKinley led Northridge with 19 points, Marci Miller had eight, Brickner tallied five, Bontrager scored four while Meghan Cawood and Morgan Litwiller each had two points. Brickner also set a new school record for free throw attempts in a season. She finished her year with 137 attempts from the line.
Northridge closes the season at 28-2.
No. 2 Homestead (27-2) moves on the the 4-A championship game for the first time since 2015 and will take on No. 4 Pike (24-3).