Penn's shooting problems lead to loss in state finals

Lady Kingsmen keep it close, but cannot catch Bedford North Lawrence.

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 11:29 p.m.

TERRE HAUTE — Penn learned the hard way that the old sports cliché needs an addendum.

Defense wins championships — but not without a little help from the offense.

Despite steady pressure against a high-octane opponent, Penn couldn't jump start its offense to overcome No. 2 Bedford North Lawrence. The Stars (27-1) captured their second straight 4A state title with a 51-41 win Saturday, March 8.

"We forced them into the turnovers we wanted to, we did a lot of things we wanted to do," Kristi Kaniewski Ulrich said. "We weren't able to respond consistently on the other end from an offensive standpoint."

Penn grabbed 10 steals, forced the Stars into 18 turnovers and held a team accustomed to scoring 63 points a game to 37 after three quarters.

"We take pride in our defense," senior guard Jessica Alexander said. "We want every loose ball. Our defense is our bread and butter. Sometimes we just couldn't get it done tonight."

But all the forced turnovers, tipped passes and rebounds Penn racked up couldn't put points on the board — not with Bedford North Lawrence crippling their offensive strength.

The Stars' Dominique McBryde and Jenna Allen locked down the lane, swatting away eight balls and tangling up a dozen more. Penn's Caroline and Camryn Buhr battled for boards but couldn't out-muscle McBryde and Allen for points.

Penn, a team that averages 48.9 percent from the field, opened 1-of-17 until Claire Carlton came off the bench and knocked down a 3-pointer.

"A good shooter never stops shooting," junior guard Lauren Ellenberger said. "We had to keep it in our minds to keep shooting. It sucked that nothing was falling for us."

By the end of the half, Penn was shooting 21.4 percent from the field and Bedford North Lawrence was shooting 55.6 percent. Yet the Kingsmen still hovered within three to five points through the third quarter.

That's all on the defense.

"We were right there," Kaniewski Ulrich said. "That says so much about our defense and our heart for the entire 32 minutes."

But even the staunchest defenses can break down at times, and when that happened, Bedford North Lawrence's Brittani Rizzi made the Kingsmen pay. She nailed 5-of-6 shots from behind the arc en route to a game-high 17 points.

By the time Penn had to start fouling to stop the clock, the Stars moved to a double-digit lead.

Alexander led Penn with 11 points and seven rebounds, while Camryn Buhr added eight points and seven rebounds. Penn finished 13-of-55 from the field.

Penn wraps up its season 25-2 with its second state championship appearance in four years. Despite Saturday's results, Kaniewski Ulrich knows the Kingsmen exceeded outside expectations this year.

"I'm so proud of these girls," she said. "They should be proud of themselves and each other with what we've accomplished this season...At the end of the day, they'll remember this moment but they'll never forget what this team meant to them as individuals."


Bedford North Lawrence 51, Penn 41

Bedford North Lawrence — Dominique McBryde 4-8 3-4 12, Jenna Allen 5-8 2-4 14, Sammy Dillman 2-5 1-2 6, Alexa Bailey 0-6 5-6 5, Brittani Rizzi 6-8 0-0 17, Kennedy Wall 0-0 0-2 0, Whitney Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Loren Bailey 0-0 0-0 0, Emily Riley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-35 (.486) 11-20 (.550) 51.

Penn— Caroline Buhr 2-11 2-4 6, Camryn Buhr 1-9 6-6 8, Kaitlyn Marenyi 1-5 0-0 2, Lauren Ellenberger 3-8 0-2 7, Jessica Alexander 4-13 3-6 11, Casey Morton 0-2 0-0 0, Claire Carlton 2-4 0-0 5, Kamra Solomon 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 13-55 (.236) 13-20 (.650) 41.

Scoring By Quarters

Bedford North Lawrence — 10 14 13 14 — 51

Penn — 6 15 8 12 — 41

3-point goals: Bedford North Lawrence (6-9) — Rizzi 5, Dillman; Penn (2-12) — Ellenberger, Carlton.

Rebounds: Bedford North Lawrence (38) — Allen 14, McBryde 12; Penn (34) — Car. Buhr 11, Alexander 7, Cam. Buhr 7.

Assists: Bedford North Lawrence (13) — A. Bailey 4; Penn (7) — Ellenberger 3.

Steals: Bedford North Lawrence (4) - Rizzie 2 ; Penn (10) — Cam. Buhr 2, Car. Buhr 2, Marenyi 2, Ellenberger 2.

Turnovers: Bedford North Lawrence 18, Penn 8.

Total fouls: Bedford North Lawrence 19, Penn 14. Fouled out — Allen.

Officials: Stephen Marx, Nick Wininger, Mike Ward.

Records: Bedford North Lawrence 27-1; Penn 25-2.


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