The Penn Kingsmen are sectional champs for the first time in five years, and are now getting ready to take on Chesterton in the regional semifinals.
The Kingsmen ran through the regular season and were co-champs of the NIC, but faced several stiff tests in the sectional round.
They faced co-NIC champ Riley in the first round, and escaped with the 50-48 win. In the sectional title game, Penn had to rally to beat Adams 63-60.
The Kingsmen said facing those challenges early will help them as they go deeper into the state tournament.
"It reminds us that it won't be easy," Penn senior Noah Applegate said. "It reminds us that it won't be easy at all. We beat Riley and we beat Adams before in the season, and they really took it down to the wire. It's just a whole different tension, whole different game. In the tournament, everybody is fighting for their lives."
"Every time that you play a close game and you make the right choices to be successful, it's going to add confidence to your team," Penn coach Al Rhodes said. "It's going to be a great one, and I'm just looking forward to the challenge."
The Kingsmen will take on Chesterton in the regional semifinals Saturday morning at 11am at Michigan City. Should they win, Penn would play in the regional championship Saturday night.