Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Sports

February 17, 2013

PREP GIRLS HOOPS: Comets dance on

Eastern beats Wabash for first regional championship since 1999

— LAPEL — Eastern High School’s girls track and field squad is inching closer to the start of a much-anticipated season in the spring.

Preseason workouts will have to wait at least another week.

Eastern’s girls basketball program claimed its second Class 2A regional crown Saturday night, strangling the life out of Wabash’s offense in a 48-32 victory in Lapel High School’s Dog Pound. The Comets’ other regional title came in 1999.

“This means a lot to coach [Jeremy] Dexter and the basketball program,” Eastern senior Bethany Neeley said. “They’re newbies to this championship thing. We forgot to bring the [sectional] trophy. We told coach, ‘With the cross country team, that wouldn’t have happened.’ This is a ton of fun right now. The fanbase is incredible.

“We’re glad to be playing another week. With the speed of the game right now, I think it’s actually helping the basketball players who run track. The farther we go, the more the speed of the game will pick up, so it’s a win-win situation.”

The Comets (21-3) will move on to the semistate round for the first time since 1999. Eastern is one of four teams left standing in Class 2A and will face six-time state champion Fort Wayne Bishop Luers in the north semistate at either Crown Point or Warsaw. The game’s location and time will be announced today.

The Comets’ 21 wins are one shy of the school record. The 1999 team won 22 games.

“These kids are simply winners,” Eastern coach Jeremy Dexter said. “You go through every game and put so much effort into it. As a coach, I don’t want to see this season end. I don’t want these seniors’ careers to end. They are such winners that I’ve told them they could sustain this as long as they want. The sky is the limit for them. I can’t measure what they mean to me as individuals.”

After exerting a high level of energy in pulling out a 72-70 overtime win over Winchester in the afternoon semifinal, Eastern was content to play at Wabash’s slow, deliberate pace early in the contest.

The Comets’ enterior defense was outstanding throughout, limiting the Apaches’ opportunities in the paint.

Eastern held Wabash to a 3-for-14 performance from the field in the first eight minutes  as it grabbed a 12-6 lead at the first stop.

The Apaches hit more field goals that the Comets in the first half, 8-7, but Eastern held Wabash with out an attempt from the free throw line while conneting on 6 of 10 charity tosses, taking a 23-18 lead at the half.

“They were able to hold the ball and prolong possessions, but we were able to stay the course,” Dexter said. “We kept gapping and didn’t let them get to the basket. They were going to have to prove to us that they could hit some outside shots.”

The Comets began the second half on a 7-2 run to stretch the lead to 30-20 on Bethany Neeley’s long rebound and transition bucket with 4:12 remaining in the third quarter. Wabash got no closer than eight the rest of the way.

Wabash junior Kyleigh Hampton scored a team-best seven points in the first half but was held to two in the second half on 1-of-4 shooting. She did not attempt a field goal in the fourth quarter.

“Hampton was lighting us up a little bit in the first half, so Bethany and I switched on her, and she only scores two points in the second half,” Brittany Neeley said. “Coach told me she didn’t attempt a shot in the fourth quarter, and that’s huge because that’s who they run their offense through. I think that made the difference.”

For the night, Wabash attempted just one free throw and didn’t have much better luck outside the paint, either, connecting on just 2 of 15 attempts from beyond the arc.

“We attacked the basket in the first half and didn’t finish, and just kind of went away from it,” Wabash coach Scott Bumgardner said. “There were lanes open. We did a very poor  job of attacking, and settled for jumpshots all night long. Winning two games in one day is going to be tough when you’re settling for jumpshots.”

Brittany Neeley led the Comets with 15 points and eight rebounds, connecting on 7 of 11 attempts from the stripe. Bethany Neeley added 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while sophomore Taylor Holliday chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds. Eastern went 15 of 22 from the foul line, and outrebounded Wabash 34-21.

Sophomore Sarah Puckett led the Apaches with 10 points while Hampton finished with nine points and eight rebounds.

Fort Wayne Bishop Luers (14-11) defeated Boone Grove 67-40 Saturday night to win the Rochester Regional.

“We’ve built a mentality that we believe that we can win when we step on the floor, and these kids will walk in Saturday believing they can win the semistate, Dexter said.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • SPL - KT041814 - Prep roundup - pic Prep roundup for Friday, April 18 Tanner Guyer and Sam Seagrave led the way as Kokomo's boys golf team scored a win in its season opener Thursday at Kokomo Country Club.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs for Friday, April 18 Kokomo High School will host the 2014 Howard County free physicals from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on May 14.

    April 18, 2014

  • SPL - KT041714 Kokomo-Western baseball - pic 2 Kats top Panthers in baseball Since the inception of class sports, the annual early-season baseball matchup between Kokomo and Western had been solely for in-county bragging rights. With Western moving up to Class 4A for the next two seasons because of the IHSAA's new success factor, the rivals met up Wednesday as potential sectional opponents for the first time since 1997.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prep roundup for Thursday, April 17 Eastern junior Caleb Aaron tossed a four-hitter to lead the Comets past Northwestern 3-1 in a Howard County baseball clash Wednesday at Greentown.

    April 17, 2014

  • SPL - KT041714 - B1 briefs - Edwards mug Sports briefs for Thursday, April 17 The North Central Conference on Wednesday announced Indianapolis Arsenal Tech will join the conference on April 1, 2015.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPL - KT041614 - Boys golf preview - secondary pic BOYS GOLF: Howard County preview Western's boys golf team is thinking big this season.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPL - KT041614 Girls tennis Preview - pic GIRLS TENNIS: Howard County preview After 39 seasons and counting as the boys tennis coach at Taylor High School, Dave Wise is entering his 24th season leading the Titan girls.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT041614 - Western hires coaches - mug Western hires football, volley coaches Western High School's search for a new football coach is over. Western on Tuesday named Ron Jankovich its new coach during a board meeting. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for Bethel University in Tennessee. He was the Wildcats' co-offensive coordinator.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT041614 - Brett Bowman column - Bowman ID BOWMAN: Abreu shines in Kokomo GP Although he might be short in size, California's Rico Abreu was tall in stature after dominating the two-day Kokomo Grand Prix for the USAC Honda National Midget Series and the Lucas Oil Powri National Midgets over the weekend at the Kokomo Speedway.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT041514 - Kokomo girls BB coach - mug Cusick is Lady Kats' new coach Heather Cusick is enjoying a pretty good month. Kokomo High School on Monday selected Cusick as its new girls basketball coach. Three days earlier, she became engaged to Michael Mygrant.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

NCAA Men's Basketball Poll
Featured Ads
SportsKT twitter
More kokomotribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.