Northwood girls’ basketball team celebrates state championship
NAPPANEE, Ind. – Northwood High School brought a state championship back to northern Indiana on Saturday for the first time in 21 years.
The Northwood Lady Panthers Basketball Team was welcomed by family and supporters at a celebration held at the high school in Nappanee on Sunday.
It was the lowest scoring 3-A Indiana Title Game in recent years, but at the finish the girls came out on top which is the only thing that matters.
The community honored the Northwood Panthers on Sunday for doing just that. This year’s March Madness tipped off in Nappanee with elation.
“We got some nice messages from them, how they were all rooting for us. It’s so cool to be mentioned among that team’s level, cause they were just unbelievable. We found a way to get it done too,” said Adam Yoder, Lady Panthers Head Coach.
Yoder, the coach behind it all, is a history teacher who never thought he would be responsible for a celebration this grand.
“It means so much, especially with the people we did it with. The certain leaders we had with our kids and our coaches that kept grinding all year and kept finding a way to get the wins. Even when people thought ‘okay that was probably our last victory,’ they just kept finding ways to get it done. And the way that game went last night, it was kind of just the epitome of our team,” Yoder said.
Yoder gives credit to the scoring and rebounding power of Senior Forward Maddy Pane, who finished her high school career by receiving the Indiana Patricia Roy Mental Attitude Award.
“This award, it means a lot. And I know that it’s a really high honor, and I just can’t put into words how much it means to me because this is how my parents raised me. I’ve worked in this program for four years to just be kind to people and to do everything I can to just lead for other people and be a role model and it feels like it’s paid off finally. I will remember this team for the rest of my life. Our connection and our chemistry is just like no other,” Pane said.
Northwood beat Salem, which was the number one team in the state that was favored to win coming into the title game.
But in the end, it was the Michiana community that was able to celebrate after enduring those 21 years without a state win.