Bedford North Lawrence’s inside punch of Jenna Allen and Dominique McBryde has proven too much for a lot of teams.
Center Grove was no exception.
Allen and McBryde combined for 47 points to lead the Class 4A No. 1 Stars to a 60-44 rout of the Trojans in a Class 4A regional semifinal at Bedford North Lawrence High School on Monday night.
The Stars (26-0) will now play No. 2 Columbus North (25-1), a 76-66 winner against Evansville Central in the other regional semifinal, in tonight’s 7 p.m. championship game.
The Stars have won the past two Class 4A state titles. Center Grove finishes with a 20-7 record.
The 6-foot-2 McBryde, who has signed with Purdue, finished with 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting. The 6-3 Allen, a Michigan State signee, finished with 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting.
“We had a game plan to stop those two,” Center Grove coach Shawn Sanders said. “But they’re going to be Indiana All-Stars, and both are Miss Basketball candidates. So they’re a handful. I don’t think it was lack of effort by our girls. They’re so athletic, and their size is such a hard matchup for us.”
Although Center Grove has 6-2 Ali Line and 6-1 Regan Wentland, the Bedford North Lawrence duo possesses more bulk and power.
“We tried to get to the rim and we couldn’t, and we were forcing up some bad shots,” said Sanders, whose team lost at Bedford North Lawrence 46-33 on Dec. 13.
The Stars led 20-7 after the first quarter. Allen expanded their lead to 31-11 with under two minutes left in the second quarter before Center Grove’s Jessica Norris sank two consecutive 3-pointers to narrow the Trojans’ halftime deficit to 31-17.
In the third quarter, Bri Gliesmann’s two 3-pointers narrowed the Stars’ edge to 37-28. Bedford outscored Center Grove 6-2 the rest of the quarter to increase the lead to 43-30 after three quarters.
“Bri did get us close there, but you can leave us out there all day shooting ‘3’s when they’re shooting layups,” Sanders said. “We made some ‘3’s, but you just can’t make enough. We were underdogs. We came without any pressure on us. They were just too good for us.”
The Trojans were 8 of 26 from 3-point range and 16 of 46 overall. Wentland led the Trojans with 11 points, and Gliesmann added 10.
With Bedford leading 50-32 with 3:46 remaining, Sanders was called for a technical for questioning a no-call.
“We couldn’t get to the foul line. We had 10 fouls to their two, so I got a little hot there,” Sanders said.
Alexa Bailey, a Butler signee, sank both free throws on the technical.
McBryde, Allen and point guard Alexa Bailey, daughter of former Indiana University and Bedford North Lawrence standout Damon Bailey, have keyed the Trojans the past three years.
This was the final game for four Center Grove senior starters — Norris, Wentland, Line and Gliesmann.
“This group of players put Center Grove on the map,” Sanders said. “We got to play in the Hall of Fame (tournament). We were top 20 most of the year and top 10 some of the year. We finished second in the MIC three straight years. It’s a group I’m really proud of, and I’ll always remember them.”
Center Grove had captured its first sectional title since 2011 by beating New Palestine in the final at Greenwood.
Jeff Allen is the Stars’ third head coach in three years. Bedford won the 2013 state title under Kurt Godlevske with a 28-0 record.
Godlevske left for a Butler assistant coaching job, and the Stars won the 2014 state crown under Damon Bailey with a 27-1 mark. Bailey left to join Godlevske after he was named Butler’s women’s head basketball coach last spring.