The Logansport girls basketball team’s semistate run ignited and brought together the town as much as a sports team has since perhaps the 2004 and 2005 LHS football teams.
The Berries had a huge following all season but especially at the regional and then the semistate, where an estimated 3,000-plus fans made the two-hour trip to Crown Point. In fact the Berry contingent of fans may have outnumbered Penn’s by 8-to-1.
The Berries erased an early 12-point deficit against the Kingsmen and took a six-point lead early in the fourth quarter. But they were unable to hold on in a 44-41 loss.
“It’s tough that it’s over and just the fact that we were so close to what ultimately our goal was, it’s sad to see it end but it’s all a part of it,” said star guard Whitney Jennings, one of the leading candidates for Miss Basketball this year.
No. 4-ranked Penn (25-1), which will play No. 2 Bedford North Lawrence (26-1) Saturday night in the Class 4A state championship game at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute, had a good game plan going in to face Jennings and the Berries (24-3).
The Kingsmen were very patient on offense and did their best to push the ball inside against the Berries’ packed-in 2-3 zone defense. On defense they utilized a high extended 3-2 zone to put at least two defenders up top against Jennings with all 10 eyes on her in the set, and they had the size and athleticism to make it effective enough.
Jennings still managed 23 points, six rebounds and five assists despite all of the attention. She was 7 of 8 from the foul line for the game and Berry fans probably thought she should have gone there more.
Her main running mate, Nakeya Penny, added 17 points and six boards.