If Saturday's state championship games in Terre Haute were any indication, Indiana girls basketball has a brilliant future.
Start with Class 4A champion Bedford North Lawrence (Bedford, Ind.)
. The Stars defeated tenacious South (Fort Wayne) 54-51 before a crowd of 6.918 to complete a perfect 28-0 campaign and, perhaps, increase their No. 24 ranking in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25. It marked their third state title, but the other two were in a single-class system.
Most remarkably, they accomplished so much without a single senior starter. Alexa Bailey
, a 5-foot-7 sophomore point guard, is a tremendous leader, especially for one so young. She definitely is a chip off the old block, being the daughter of assistant coach Damon Bailey, Indiana's all-time boys scorer and a true Hoosier legend.
It was heartwarming to watch father and daughter embrace following the state-wide televised victory, because Damon Bailey was in an identical situation in 1990 after sparking the Stars to a boys championship.
Having been satisfied just to run the offense and coming into the game with a modest 6.8 scoring average, she broke loose for 19 points when all the chips were on the table. Two other sophomores also contributed mightily to the victory. Dominique McBryde
, a 6-2 forward, also scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds even though saddled with fouls. Six-foot-three center Jenna Allen
overcame a lot of defensive pressure to account for nine points and 11 rebounds.
*The Class 3A title game produced the high scorer from the four-game set and she's just a freshman.
Sydney Shelton, a 5-8 guard, lit up Indiana State University's Hulman Center with 29 points as Mt. Vernon (Fortville, Ind.)
defeated Hamilton Heights (Arcadia) 61-47 for its first 3A crown. The niece of head coach Julie Shelton, she drilled 8-of-14 shots, including five 3-point baskets. Junior forward Erica Moore added 14 points and a 3A-record 15 rebounds.
The victory was especially sweet for assistant coach Tom Kirby, who suffered a heart attack during Thursday's practice, but following surgery was able to attend Saturday's game and sit on the bench.
*One of Indiana's premier junior boys, 6-9 Trey Lyles
of Arsenal Tech (Indianapolis, Ind.)
, injured his left knee during the sectional semifinals and was unable to play in the championship game, which his team lost to Indianapolis Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.)
. Doctors will take a hard look this week to determine the extent of the injury.
*Turning to Washington, Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.)
defeated Lakeside (Seattle) 62-59 in overtime in the Class 3A finals, enabling Mike Bethea to become the first coach in Washington history to notch six state championships.