GRIFFITH | There can be only one.
Roosevelt and Griffith entered Friday night's Class 3A Griffith Sectional semifinals with a combined five sectional titles in the previous six seasons. Realignment, however, will rob at least one of the two storied Panthers squads of a regional berth annually for the foreseeable future.
On Friday the team accustomed to slowing the pace and playing a calculated chess game in Sectional 18 instead used the classic Sectional 17 recipe of fast breaks and timely 3-point shooting to advance.
The host Panthers had four steals in the first four minutes and led 13-2 after one quarter in an eventual 52-29 win over Roosevelt.
Griffith (17-6) advances to today's 7 p.m. championship to face Hammond, a 59-30 winner over Clark. After knocking off the defending Sectional 17 champs, the hosts are seeking a fourth consecutive sectional title.
"We have a tradition on our backs, and we're looking to keep it going," Griffith senior Brooke Brinkley said.
Brinkley did her best to maintain the tradition with a career-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead her team. Samantha Adams had nine points, eight rebounds and three assists, while Emma Blackard and Alyssa Gebo added eight points each.
"I was definitely feeling it, but I never would have had any of those shots if not for my teammates penetrating and drawing my defenders in," Brinkley said. "We knew what we had to get done to win this game."
Brinkley's final trey put Griffith up 48-12 in the third quarter.
Early leads of 13-2 and 21-6 were made possible by Griffith steals and a lack of transition defense by 'Velt (11-7).
"We tried to push it up the floor a little, because we thought we could beat them up the floor," Griffith coach Tom Golumbeck said. "Then we got patient and slowed it down."
Griffith destroyed Roosevelt's zone defense by shooting 8-for-12 from 3-point range.
"We did a good job penetrating and then making the extra pass," Golumbeck said. "We've been working hard on that, and that's important this time of year."
Golumbeck challenged every one of his players to deny Roosevelt star Kelly Moten as much as they could, but the senior star still managed a game-high 21 points with eight rebounds and three blocks.
Hammond (8-14) advanced to its first sectional title game since 2009 behind Dezier Jordan's 16 points, 10 rebounds, six steals and four assists in the 29-point drubbing of Clark.
"This is our first time being in this spot, and we have a lot of energy," Jordan, a senior, said. "We're going to use that energy (tonight). This is the real season. It feels good."
Dominique Coleman added 13 points and four steals, while Diamond White had all 11 of her points in the fourth quarter for the Wildcats.
Breann Legg paced Clark (1-20) with nine points and 15 rebounds.