It was the matchup that most were not expecting as the Wabash and Northfield girls battled for the sectional title. Wabash was 17-5 and the three time defending sectional champion and had advanced to the final game defeating Oak Hill and Lewis Cass. Northfield was 10-12, defeating North Miami and upsetting Manchester.
The Lady Apaches were in familiar territory and expected to be there, while the Norse, although winning 8 of their last 12 games were still considered a dark horse.
The game was up for grabs the first three quarters with just a Wabash six point lead before the Lady Apaches used a 15-4 fourth quarter to win their fourth straight sectional 44-27.
Northfield would strike first with a Kylie Echard bucket that was answered by a Kelsey Cromer three to give the Apaches a 3-2 lead. Kyleigh Hampton connected to make it 5-2 before Sydney Eltzroth dropped one from behind the arch to tie the score at 5. Cromer would hit her second bucket of the quarter, then Arie Kennedy tied it with two free throws. Tied at 7, Hampton would drain a three to put Wabash up 10-7 and was follwed by two Claire Cromer free throws to extend the lead to 12-7. Echard would score the last two points of the quarter on free throws and Wabash led 12-9 after one.
Katie Stephan would get things started in the second with a bucket that cut the Wabash lead to 12-11. Kelsey Cromer would then hit back to back three pointers to quickly open the gap to 18-11. An Echard free throw and an Eltzroth bucket trimmed the lead to 18-14 when Cromer hit again to make it 20-14. Cromer would then pick up her third foul, forcing her to the bench and the Apaches were without their leader. Kalie Obenour would convert two free throws to stretch the Wabash lead to 22-14. With a Stephan free throw and an Eltzroth three the Norse came right back, making it 22-18. Kyleigh Hampton would then hit a big three to increase the lead to 25-18 before Cherish Leming ended the quarter with two free throws, making it 25-20 at the half and it was game on.
The third quarter would see just 7 total points as strategies began to take place. Sidney Reed would hit a free throw and then miss the second, grabbing her own rebound and putting it in for a layup and the Wabash lead was just 25-23. To make things even worse for the Apaches, Cromer picked up her fourth foul and was forced to the bench again. Wabash would then put the ball in the freezer, holding it without a shot for over three minutes. Marin Hill finally connected with .35 seconds to go, making it 27-23 and then would hit at the buzzer to give Wabash a 29-23 lead with a quarter to go.
Claire Cromer would score the first point in the fourth with a free throw to make it 30-23 when both teams would hit a drought. For nearly 3 1/2 minutes neither team could find the bucket until Kelsey Cromer hit with just under four minutes to play to make it 32-23. Free throws would become the name of the game the next 1 1/2 minutes. Sidney Reed hit one, followed by two from marin Hill, one from Kylie Echard and two from Claire Cromer to make it 36-25 with 2:10 to go. Wabash would extend the lead to 38-27 when Claire Cromer fouled out with 1:22 to play. With Northfield fouling to get the ball, Hill would hit two more free throws and was backed up by a Kelsey Cromer bucket and two free throws for the 44-27 final.
Leading Wabash was Kelsey Cromer with 19 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assist and 3 steals. Marin Hill had 10 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assist and 3 steals. Kyleigh Hampton had 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Claire Cromer had 5 points, 1 assist and 1 steal. Kalie Obenour had 2 points. Katelyn Vogel had 2 rebounds, 2 assist and 2 steals. Charlie Pardo had 1 rebound. Sarah Puckett had 1 rebound.
Leading Northfield was Sydney Eltzroth with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal. Kylie Echard had 6 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Sidney Reed had 6 points, 8 rebounds and 1 assist. Katie Sephan had 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. Cherish Leming had 2 points. Arie Kennedy had 2 points and 1 assist.
Wabash will now play in the Tipton regional Saturday vs Winchester. Wabash is 18-5. Winchester is 18-5.