The Sandwich gymnasium's championship board just got a big addition.
Josie Ness scored 19 points, Ezbeydy Rivera added 13 and the Indians beat Manteno 54-29 on Thursday to clinch the first conference championship in the 40-year history of the program.
"Our theme this year on our shirts was '40 years in the making. Time to make my mark,'" Sandwich coach Chris Johnson said. "That is exactly what these young ladies did. I cannot express my gratitude and share how proud I am of them in words that would really express how I feel."
Ness scored seven of her 19 points in a second quarter that saw Sandwich (15-8, 10-0 Interstate Eight) outscore Manteno 13-5. Rivera added nine of her total in the third quarter. Sarah Ness added eight points, Jaylynn Vana had five points, Maddie Dawson four points and Cheyann Mitchell four points.
"This group really does exemplify what a team is, and what a team can do when they all buy in together and trust each other."
Sandwich (15-9) lost to Marian Central 47-24 on Saturday. Sarah Ness scored six points, Rivera four and Mitchell.
The Indians wrap up the regular season Thursday at Plano, then play the Reapers to open regional play next Monday.
Sandwich: Jimmy Braddish hit five 3-pointers and poured in 30 points, leading the Indians past Manteno 58-41 on Feb. 2.
Mike Frieders added 15 points and Derek Murphy seven for the Indians (10-11, 3-3 Interstate Eight).
"They let Jimmy get open quite a big and he made them pay for it," Sandwich coach Brennan Callahan said. "They came out in a zone and he scored our first eight points. Mike Frieders had a nice game which took some pressure off Jimmy."
Sandwich has a tough week ahead, with a home game with Herscher and a game Friday at Lisle. Herscher is unbeaten in conference play, while Lisle won the conference tournament two weeks ago.
"We'll have our hands full," Callahan said. "Herscher's got really good length, two all-conference kids back from last year. It will be a physical game. Lisle is very big, they are long at every position with four or five guys 6-foot-5. We have to match their intensity, manage our things and execute."