BY DEAN HOCKNEY
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – In the end, the best team won.
On a snowy afternoon in the land of Larry Bird, the Eastern Lady Comets dream ended with a 62-42 loss to defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Evansville Mater Dei in the championship game of the IHSAA Class 2A girls state finals. The Lady Wildcats pounded the ball inside time after time – something Eastern simply could not stop.
“That is something we could not simulate in practice,” said Eastern head coach Jeremy Dexter. “They were bigger than what we even thought they would be.”
The Comets held court early, trailing 5-3 but outplaying the Wildcats. But cold shooting proved to be fatal as they shot a chilly 21-percent and trailed 13-5 after one quarter and 35-14 at the half.
“Mater Dei played great in the first half; we just couldn’t hit our shots,” said Dexter.
The Comets shot better in the second half, but the 21 point deficit to the 2012 champions was too much to overcome.
Brittany Neeley led Eastern with 16 points, while Ally Oyler scored 12 and Bethany Neeley ended her career with eight. Mater Dei was led by the double-double of 18 points and 17 rebounds from Tori Schickel and 14 points from Beth Fischer.
MENTAL ATTITUDE AWARD
Eastern senior Brittany Neeley crowned her basketball career by being named the 2013 Class 2A Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award Winner. She is the first Lady Comet to ever win the award.
“It means a lot,” said Neeley. “This is a great way to end your career. Words can’t describe this. We have a great community!”
For more on the Lady Comets run to the state finals, see the March 5 edition of the Sports Journal of Central Indiana.