GRIFFITH | Even though it’s been an up-and-down season for an inexperienced Griffith squad, the Panthers still came into Tuesday’s Class 3A Griffith Sectional opener as the favorite to win their sixth straight sectional championship.
At 9-10 coming into the sectional, the Panthers are looking at the postseason as a clean slate following their 48-19 win over Lighthouse CPA.
“Those were all just practice games for this,” Griffith’s Taylor Strauch said of the regular season. “This is where it really matters.”
Strauch led Griffith with 14 points and 15 rebounds, headlining a board-crashing effort for the Panthers.
“She has improved a great deal,” Griffith coach Tom Golumbeck said. “She’s had a couple double-doubles for us. We talked about how we need to get some offensive rebounds in the sectional and get some easy baskets, and the kids responded.”
After a sloppy start to the first quarter, Griffith clamped down and got some easy buckets underneath to take a 18-4 lead going into the second.
Courtney Bell’s nine first half points -- including a 5-for-5 effort from the free throw line -- helped the Panthers take a 24-8 lead at halftime.
“Courtney has been our leader all year,” Golumbeck said. “She scores a lot of points for us. She did a good job taking care of the ball in the first quarter, and I think that propelled us through the rest of the game.”
Griffith will advance to play Hammond on Friday. Should the Panthers win, they will advance to the 7 p.m. championship game Saturday.
“A lot of our kids haven’t played in this environment,” Golumbeck said. “Even our older kids didn’t play a lot last year. It would be nice to get some of those kids a sectional championship.”
Lighthouse (6-9) was led by Kennesha Trambles’ eight points. The Lions were held to single-digit scoring in all four quarters.