Multiple Teams · Sports Journal Story of the Year – By Dean Hockney

As many of you know, the Sports Journal of Central Indiana is just finished its fourth year of telling the tales of the local sports scene through stories and vivid pictures. As we look back fondly on 2014, we thought long and hard as to what the top story of the year was. But in the end, there was only one squad that climbed to the top of the food chain in IHSAA sports – and that was the Lady Panthers of Western High School. So its run to the IHSAA Class 3A state championship earns our Story of the Year designation for 2014.

“This is going to be a memorable moment for all of us,” said senior Kiersten Durbin. “This is what we have been working for since the fifth grade in our very first game together.”

When the final horn sounded at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute, the sixth-ranked Lady Panthers found itself on the victorious side of a 38-35 stunning victory over the heavily favored and No. 2-ranked Lady Wildcats of Evansville Mater Dei in the Class 3A championship game.

“The support we received from the community has been tremendous,” said head coach Chris Keisling of the Panthers sixth-man in the stands – the fan support. “It was two great crowds tonight, but ours travels very well. We just had great backing tonight.”

The afternoon was capped by Raven Black earning the prestigious Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award for Class 3A.  “I am humbled by this,” said Black. “I know what this award means and the honor of winning it means so much to me.” A shocking state championship win over a state power – that is enough to earn the Lady Panthers the top story of 2014.

The Western Athletic Department would like to thank Dean Hockney for providing the article and his continued support of High School Athletics in Howard County.