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Lawrence Central completes 30-win season, rolls to 4A title

Lewis Bagley, Special to
Posted: February 24, 2024
2023-24 4A GBB Photo 1
Photo Credit: Double Edge Media @demllc

INDIANAPOLIS - One thing you have to say about the now first-time Class 4A state champion Lawrence Central Bears is they never flinch.

That became very apparent midway through the second quarter of the title game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse against Lake Central. After falling down, 11-4, the Bears responded by scoring the next 23 points in the contest to run away with a 55-28 victory.

The Bears thus become only the third team in IHSAA history to record 30 victories in a season. Lawrence Central (30-1) joins Class 3A Princeton (2015) and Class 4A Ben Davis (2009) as the only 30-game winners in state history.

Lawrence Central had won only one sectional title previously and that came back in 1987. In the semi-state round, the Bears had fallen behind by nine points in each game before rallying to earn its spot in the finals.

In the title game, as in the semi-state, coach Jannon Lampley’s squad put on a lethal display of taking control of a contest and crushing its opponent.

After the first quarter, that is.

“I wish we didn’t fall behind like that,” said Lampley, only in her second year as head coach. “We have great respect for all our opponents and know they are capable of delivering blows to get us down. We figured that would happen with Lake Central, but we withstood it and had a heck of a fight back.”

That’s a world-class understatement.

After Lake Central’s Nadia Clayton converted a lay-up to give her team the 11-4 lead with 7:49 left in the second quarter, the Bears simply flipped the switch.

Jaylah Lampley spurred the rally by canning a 3-point shot to give her team a 12-11 lead and it was off to the races. Lake Central didn’t score again the rest of the half and didn’t dent the scoreboard until the 6:07 mark of the third quarter. By then, the Bears had a 16-point lead and the outcome was never in doubt.

“We just couldn’t score,” Lake Central coach Joe Huppenthal lamented. “They are so good on the defensive end and have so much length. I did think we’d have stretches where we’d have a hard time scoring.”


2023-24 4A GBB Photo 3
Lawrence Central's Laila Abdurraqib (44) with a jumper over Ayla Krygier of Lake Central (Photo credit: Double Edge Media @demllc).


The Bears led by as many as 21 points (40-19) in the third quarter and extended its advantage right up to the end with the final score serving as their largest lead of the night.

Jaylah Lampley, a 6-1 junior, led all scorers with 19 points and Aniyah McKenzie and Lola Lampley each added 12. Jaylah Lampley and McKenzie each had a game-high nine rebounds.

Vanessa Wimberly led Lake Central with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting. The rest of the Indians combined to shoot 5-of-31 from the floor.

Perhaps the scariest part of the domination by Lawrence Central is that all five of its starters will return next season. In fact, on the 11-player roster, only two are seniors who combined for four points per game this season.

“This was our dream to be state champions and I’m thankful to be part of it,” Jaylah Lampley said. “Nothing is guaranteed,” she continued, referring to next season. “We have to work harder because it will get harder for us from here. We have to keep that chip on our shoulder and play like there is a target on our back.”

With the victory, Jannon Lampley became the first African-American woman to coach a girls state championship team.

2023-24 4A GBB Photo 4
Vanessa Wimberly (23) of Lake Central is closely guarded by Lawrence Central's Laila Abdurraqib (44) (Photo credit Double Edge Media @demllc).


Class 4A State Championship Records

Fewest Points Allowed: 28 by Lawrence Central

Lake Central's Kennedie Burks earns Roy Mental Attitude Award
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Kennedie Burks of Lake Central High School as the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award winner in Class 4A 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.
Kennedie has a 3.91 weighted GPA, been on the honor roll all four years of high school, is a scholar athlete, and received the sportsmanship award. She is very active in the community and officiates for Lake Central Youth Basketball and local gym leagues, as well as assisting with basketball and cheer clinics.

She was a member of Lake Central’s semi-state team last year and helped the Indians reach the state championship game for the first time since 1998. Burks joins former Indian Kelly Kuhn who also won this award in 1998.

She is the daughter of Shani and Neddie Burks of Schererville, IN, and intends to major in nursing but is undecided on her college choice. 

The Indiana Fever and Indiana Pacers, the presenting sponsors of the IHSAA Girls Basketball State Tournament, presented a $1,000 scholarship to the general scholarship fund at Lake Central High School in the name of Kennedie Burks.

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

2023-24 4A GBB Photo 2
Lake Central's Kennedie Burks was named the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award recipient (Photo courtesy Double Edge Media @demllc).