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Central Noble Rallies for First State Championship in School History
Central Noble rallied from a six-point, halftime deficit to post a 46-42 win over Winchester in the Class 2A championship game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Cougars (23-5) roared back behind the scoring of Sydney Freeman, who scored 11 of her team-high 14 points in the second half to lead the school to its first state championship in any sport. The victory for coach Josh Treesh’s squad is the first of the tournament over a ranked team. Winchester (26-3) came in ranked second in the final state 2A poll.

After falling behind, 12-4, in the first quarter, Winchester used a 14-7 spurt in the second quarter to take a 25-19 lead into the break. Central Noble came out in the second half with a pressure defense that helped it force a 30-30 tie after three quarters.

The winners moved out to a 38-32 lead in the fourth, only to see coach Holly Gutierrez’s squad fight back within 44-42 on a three-point play by Maddie Lawrence with 1:11 left. Lawrence led all scorers with 20 points.

Central Noble held on, however, as Freeman clinched the game with a bucket after regaining possession of the ball near the baseline with :25 left. Central Noble’s Meleah Leatherman added 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Class 2A State Championship Records

Most Field Goals Attempted: 24 by Maddie Lawrence, Winchester Community.

Most Combined Blocked Shots: (Tied) 14 by Winchester Community (9) and Central Noble (5).

Central Noble’s Calista Rice named Mental Attitude Award winner
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Calista Rice of Central Noble High School as the winner of the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award in Class 2A 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.

Rice has been a varsity starter in soccer, basketball and softball throughout her high school career and has served as a captain in all three sports while earning All Conference and All Area honors.

She is the daughter of Trevor and Lori Rice of Kimmell, IN and becomes the first student athlete to win an IHSAA mental attitude award in any sport in school history. She is undecided on her college choice at this time.

The Indiana Fever and Indiana Pacers, the presenting sponsor of the IHSAA Girls Basketball State Tournament, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Central Noble High School in the name of Calista Rice. Since 1989, more than $840,000 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.