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March 5, 2005
Shenandoah Wins Second Class 2A Championship in Three Years
Shenandoah out-scored North Judson-San Pierre, 21-9, in the fourth quarter to earn its second IHSAA Class 2A state in title in three years with a 54-49 victory. The Raiders also won the 2003 title under current coach Todd Salkoski.
Senior forward Chelsea Miller scored a game-high 17 points for Shenandoah (22-5). The Raiders’ Kara Keesling, the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award winner, added 13 points, with two of those coming on key free throws with 18.7 seconds remaining. Junior center Jasmine Rogers had 10 points and a game-high three blocked shots, going a perfect 6-6 at the free throw line.
North Judson-San Pierre (22-4) was paced by senior forward Nicole Dobson with 16 points and eight rebounds. Junior forward Miranda Howard scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds for coach John Hampton’s Bluejays.
Both teams shot well in the second half, with Shenandoah hitting 12-20 from the field (4-6 treys) and North Judson-San Pierre going 10-19 (.526). The Bluejays used a 13-0 run late in the first quarter and early in the second to take their biggest lead at 19-8 with 4:20 until halftime. North Judson-San Pierre kept the lead, taking a 40-33 advantage into the final quarter.
Shenandoah scored seven straight points to end the third quarter and start the fourth to pull to within 40-38 with 6:34 left. The Raiders tied the contest at 44 on a lay-up by junior guard Amber McKinley with 3:43 to go and they took the lead for good at 47-45 on a three-pointer by McKinley at the 1:14 mark. Those five straight points by McKinley were her only points of the contest. Shenandoah made all six free throw attempts in the final 28 seconds to preserve the victory.
Shenandoah’s Kara Keesling wins Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award
Shenandoah High School senior guard Kara Keesling is the 2004-05 recipient of the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award for Class 2A. Keesling sealed her team’s second state championship in three years with two key free throws with 18.7 seconds remaining, finishing the contest with 13 points.
Keesling has helped the Raiders to three state championship game appearances in her four-year career. She was named to the 2003 All-Tournament Team after helping Shenandoah to a state title. Keesling became the sixth player in school history to score 1,000 points, earning all-county and all-conference honors.
Keesling has earned 10 varsity letters in basketball, volleyball, and track. She is a Wendy’s Heisman state finalist.
Keesling ranks third in a senior class of 84 with a 12.74 weighted cumulative grade point average on a 12.0 scale. She is a National Honor Society Scholarship nominee.
She is a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, and the National Society of High School Scholars. She is active in the Henry County Teens About Serving the Community Force. Keesling also has volunteered with a National Honor Society Toy Drive, Senior Day of Caring, Pennies for Patients Leukemia Society, and Meals for the elderly. She has served as a nursing home volunteer and as an IHSAA Ambassador.
“Kara does the very best that she can in all that she does, whether on the athletic court, in the classroom, or the community,” said Shenandoah principal Charles Willis. “Kara has demonstrated these qualities throughout her high school career.”
Award recipients, nominated by their principals and coaches, must excel in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership, and athletic ability in basketball.
A member of the IHSAA Executive Staff beginning in 1972, Ms. Roy was responsible for girls basketball from the inception of the tournament series in 1976 until her retirement in 1999. Regarded both statewide and nationally as a pioneer in girls athletics, Roy served on the IHSAA Executive Staff longer than anyone in the history of the Association.
Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA corporate partner, presented a $1,000.00 scholarship to Shenandoah High School in the name of Kara Keesling.
Keesling becomes the second Shenandoah player to receive this award, with Amanda Norris winning it in 2002-03.
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Class 2A Game Quotes
North Judson-San Pierre Coach John Hampton
“We came out and got them down a little bit. They fought back like I knew they were going to and it came down to the end. We had a great effort and I’m proud of our team. We lost to a very good team in Shenandoah.”
“Both teams are coached well defensively and we knew it would be a defensive battle and that’s what we had in the first half. In the second half, both teams played better offensively.”
“We just wanted to be patient and put on defensive pressure. We weren’t getting to the offense like we wanted to until late.”
“We led by five at halftime and when we extended it to seven, we felt pretty good. Shenandoah has battled back all year and they hit a lot of shots in the second half. That’s a credit to them because I thought we played pretty good defense.”
“In the second half, Shenandoah made its shots and was able to press us. In the first half, they missed a lot of shots and couldn’t put pressure on us defensively.”
(On Nicole Dobson’s three-point attempt with nine seconds left)
“We got a
good look. It was exactly what we wanted.”
Shenandoah Coach Todd Salkoski
“We were very lucky today. We saw a very good North Judson team control the game, having us down for most of the game. We were just fortunate to have some great kids who work their tails off…and they had to.”
“Jessica Green’s (#12) defense was great. Tyla Warner’s (#21) defense was great. We got out-rebounded again. Six times in seven tournament games we have been out-rebounded. Amber McKinley (#33) reminded me in the hallway, ‘It’s okay if you get out-rebounded if you outscore the other team.’ I appreciate Amber’s help.”
“I thought our girls fought hard and down the stretch we came up with some big plays. It doesn’t matter if it is the first or the fourth quarter, all plays are the same. I thought our defense played great. I sat down last night to write down the scouting report but it was not about them, it was about us. I love all these girls dearly.”
On Amber McKinley
“Amber really responded to the challenge. We told her at halftime she really needed to step up her game, and she did. And in turn, so did all our other girls.”
On Chelsea Miller (#23)
“She’s been our leading scorer the last two seasons but she had a tough first half even ending up on the bench. She was running over people so we told her to stop and take a jump shot instead. She hit a couple of short jumpers as North Judson was packing the lane. She also hit some big threes for us.”
On the experience of the team
“You’re looking at four seniors that just won their 91st game. They know what it takes to win, they know how to win, and they would do anything to win.”
Kara Keesling (#30)
“It seems we always find ourselves in a position to have to comeback at the end of a game.”
“I realize I hadn’t done anything in the first quarter and I knew I needed to get some good shots in the second. I realize someone had to step up in the second half and I took some good shots.”
Chelsea Miller (#23)
“(Talking about 2003 Mental Attitude Award winner Amanda Norris) She’s a great player but I was more worried about winning this game. It is exciting to become the school’s leading scorer but it just has not set in yet.”