Warsaw — Gang Green refuses to lose.
Backed by a 2,500-plus-person fan cheer section, Eastern High School’s girls basketball team earned its first berth into the state finals after a 74-55 thrashing of Fort Wayne Bishop Luers Saturday afternoon in the Class 2A North Semistate at Warsaw High School’s Tiger Den.
The Comets trailed for the first 1:42 of the contest, but surged ahead and never took their foot off the gas, building the lead up to as much as 20 points before the 19-point final differential.
“It’s huge. I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” senior Brittany Neeley said. “We’re going to go crazy [Saturday] night on the town. Greentown is going to be set on fire [Saturday] night if it wasn’t robbed while we were gone, because it seemed like the entire town was here.”
Eastern improved to 22-3 on the season, matching the 1999 squad for the most wins in a single season.
Those ’99 Comets bowed out at the semistate level. This time around, the will to win will carry the Comets to the Class 2A state finals next weekend in Terre Haute.
In the process, the Comets denied Luers its fourth straight trip to the 2A state finals.
“It was hard to play that movie forward to that point, but now it’s just an unbelievable feeling,” Eastern coach Jeremy Dexter said. “These kids … they just put so much time into it and are so resilient. I just think they want to win really bad. They want to compete for that crowd and the support we had. It was a really neat day.”
Eastern’s mode of operation Saturday was similar to its Lapel Regional championship game victory.
The Comets pinched off Luers ability to score in the lane, forcing the Knights to win the game by hitting perimeter jump shots.