Penn falls in girls basketball state finals

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Senior Brittani Rizzi scored 17 points, and junior Jenna Allen added a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds to lead Bedford North Lawrence to its second straight Class 4A title as the Stars defeated the Penn Kingsmen 51-41 Saturday night in Terre Haute.

The defeat ends the careers for Kingsmen seniors Caroline Buhr, Jess Alexander and Maya Solomon, all three of whom were a part of the only two state title appearances for Penn in program history with the other also a loss during their freshmen seasons.

"These girls are my family and we are going to stay together win or lose," Alexander said after the game. "We win together, we lose together. These are my girls and I hate to see us down like this but everything happens for a reason and this year just wasn't our year."

"This was really special," added Buhr, who's sister Camyrn is a sophomore on the team. " Our last year all together--playing with my sister, playing with the seniors, playing with all the kids on our team--I'm just so proud of how far we went. We played our hearts out--that's all I could ask for."

"They have nothing to apologize for," coach Kristi Kaniewski said of her seniors. "Their entire heart was in it--they want this game more than anything, for themselves but even more for their teammates but obviously we came up short."

Bedford North Lawrence (27-1) led from start to finish, with Penn (25-2) managing to reach a tie at 5-5, 3:30 into the first quarter. The game remained nip-and-tuck until Rizzi reeled off nine points in less than two minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters to stretch the Stars lead to 40-29. The lead went to 14 in the latter stages of the contest.

Before Rizzi's run, neither team was able to string together a run or gain any momentum. Bedford North Lawrence committed 10 fouls and 10 turnovers in the first half, while Penn shot 1 of 17 to start the game and finished the half hitting 6 of 29.

"We're a great team and we work hard to get here," said Penn junior guard Lauren Ellenberger. "We came up short but we worked hard and showed we deserved to be here."

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