Lawrence North's 5-2 freshman guard Lauren Dickerson came up big at the most crucial moments Saturday night.
Dickerson hit three free throws in the final 25 seconds to help seal the Class 4A No. 7 Wildcats' 47-43 victory over Roncalli in the Marion County high school girls basketball championship at Speedway High School. Both teams are now 7-1.
"I knew we didn't want to lose, so I had to buckle up and hit the free throws," Dickerson said.
Dickerson contributed nine points, three steals and three assists off the bench.
"That girl is as tough a girl as they come and competitive as they come," Wildcats coach Chris Giffin said. "To make the foul shots she made and the pass fakes she made to free up shots against the zone, little Lauren, Amani Ferguson and Lamina Cooper were our MVPs."
Ferguson, a sophomore, had a team-high 12 points, hitting three of her four 3-pointers in the first half.
"She's a streak shooter, but she has a beautiful shot," Giffin said.
Ferguson said she tries to supply a spark every game.
"We have a lot of players who can come off the bench and score," Ferguson said.
Cooper, a 5-8 sophomore, added seven points and eight rebounds.
With a 43-37 lead with 51/2 minutes left, the Wildcats went into a stall.
"The thing we struggle with more than anything else is valuing possessions and taking care of the basketball," Giffin said. "With that kind of lead and (the Rebels) in a zone and having five pretty good foul shooters, our situation was enhanced if we could kill some clock."
Giffin was second-guessing himself a bit when Roncalli's Bridget Perry scored four consecutive points to narrow the deficit to 43-41.
After Cooper hit 1-of-2 free throws, Roncalli failed to convert. Dickerson then hit two free throws to make it 46-41 with 25 seconds left.
The Rebels scored quickly, then Dickerson hit 1-of-2 free throws with 20 second left.
It was Lawrence North's second girls county tournament title. The previous title was in 2006. Ben Davis had won the past five titles but was eliminated by the Wildcats 40-25 in Saturday's semifinals. Mikale Rogers was high scorer for the Wildcats with 12 against the Giants.
Lindsey Corsaro hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 5 seconds left to lift Roncalli to a 45-44 victory over Pike in the first semifinal. Corsaro had a team-high 17 and Perry added 12 for the Rebels.
Perry, who has signed to play with Purdue next season, had a team-high 14 points in the championship game.
Roncalli first-year coach April (McDivitt) Schilling said her team faced constant pressure from Pike and Lawrence North in both games.
"I was proud of how our girls fought through fatigue and competed (against the Wildcats)," Schilling said. "At the end, it was a two-possession game and we'll learn from it. We get to see them again (on Dec. 18) and then we're in the same sectional. So we've got a few more chances."