March 8, 2014

Western stuns Evansville Mater Dei in Class 3A Final
The Western Panthers found themselves in unfamiliar territory after the Class 3A title game. And they relished the feeling.

The Panthers' girls basketball team and its fans celebrated merrily following a stirring 38-35 victory over the Evansville Mater Dei Wildcats. It represented the first state girls basketball crown for Western.

Mater Dei, which had won 19 straight games, was seeking its third consecutive state championship and first in 3A after moving up a class due to the Tournament Success Factor.

A close game throughout, it boiled down to the final seconds. When Maura Muensterman sank one of two free throws with 23 seconds remaining, the Wildcats sliced Western's lead to 36-34.

But Western's Siera Daniel, attempting her first two free throws of the night, answered by hitting both with 21.2 seconds remaining.

Both teams played a disciplined offensive style and sound defense. Western's offense accomplished 40 percent shooting (14-of-35). Mater Dei connected on just 24.4 percent from the field (10-of-41). Western's largest lead was six points, Mater Dei's four.

Carly O'Neal led Western's scoring with 12 points. Coach Chris Keisling's Panthers, ranked sixth in the girls coaches' poll, finished 23-3.

Muensterman topped Mater Dei's scoring with 12. Tori Schickel totaled 11 points and added 15 rebounds, tying a 3A title game mark.

Coach Steve Goans' Wildcats, rated second in the coaches' poll, ended their season at 26-2.

Raven Black wins Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Raven Black of Western High School as the winner of the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award in Class 3A Girls Basketball.

The award is presented annually to a senior participant in each classification who was nominated by her principal and coach and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.

Academically, Black ranks among the very top students in her senior class with a 4.471 GPA through rigorous honors level and advanced placement classes. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the “W Club” at her school and has raised money to fund mission trips to New York following Hurricane Sandy and Joplin, Missouri following the tornadoes.

In basketball, she’s been named All-Conference twice and earned her team’s rebounding and mental attitude awards twice. Besides basketball, Black has also participated two years with the Western softball team.

She is the daughter of Richard Johnston and Vickie Dunker of Kokomo and plans to study Pre-Med at Indiana University in the fall.

The Indiana Fever and Indiana Pacers, the presenting sponsor of the IHSAA Girls Basketball State Tournament, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Western High School in the name of Raven Black. Since 1989, more than $800,000 in college scholarships have been presented to deserving high school athletes in Indiana.

The award is named in honor of the former IHSAA assistant commissioner Patricia L. Roy, who oversaw the girls basketball state tournament from its inception in 1976 until her retirement in 1999.