INDIANAPOLIS — Mt. Vernon was playing its best basketball at the end of the season, taking a six-game winning streak into Saturday’s Decatur Central Regional championship game against No. 1 Lawrence Central.

Team depth —which hurt them earlier in the season when they had multiple injuries — and a Bears’ team well-deserving of the top ranking proved a little too much at Doc Rather Gymnasium.

Mt. Vernon’s girls basketball season came to an end with a 58-30 loss to Lawrence Central (27-1).

“We have five or six kids without [Reagan Britt, who missed Saturday’s game] and they were subbing eight-to-10 kids,” Mt. Vernon coach Julie Shelton said. “[It’s] the same thing that happens to us when we don’t have depth every time we come [to the regional], we just wear out. We can play a first half, then we get physically worn out and then we mentally make bad decisions when we are physically tired. But, I thought we played and competed really well in the first half.”

The Marauders trailed 33-22 at halftime. Lawrence Central hit 7 of 9 first-half 3-point field goal attempts, including a first-quarter buzzer-beater by Laila Abdurraqib.

“They battled,” Shelton added on her team. “LC hit 7 of 9 from 3 in the first half, that’s good for any team. When they’re good at driving and other things, I felt pretty good if we could make them continue to hit 3s and we could hang in there, but we just couldn’t physically get going in the second half.”

Mt. Vernon senior Indiana All-Star candidate Ellery Minch hit a 3-pointer to tie the game early, 5-5, with 6:36 left in the opening period. After seven straight LC points, Marauder frosh Gabby Thomas scored off a steal to cut it to 12-7 with 3:03 to go.

Thomas added a 3-pointer to start the second period to cut LC’s lead to 18-12. The Bears upped their lead to 15, 27-12 with 3:46 to go until halftime, but the Marauders battled back.

Kanyonrae Kenny scored off a rebound. And after a Bears’ free throw, MV senior Kaitlyn Laffey hit a 3-pointer. Kenny added another bucket on a strong drive to cut it to 28-19 with 1:22 left until halftime.

Lawrence Central’s Jaylah Lampley answered with her fourth first-half triple to give the Bears a double-figure lead again at 31-19.

A tired Mt. Vernon team that had only used one first-half sub, Addison Bucksot, was only able to score eight second-half points, four in each quarter. Five came from Kenny, who led Mt. Vernon in scoring with 10 points. Bucksot had the other three.

That’s the best ballgame she’s had,” Shelton said of Kenny, a junior guard. “She took the ball to the basket well, finished well, hit a 3, handled the ball. That was definitely a bright spot for the future as a senior-leader next year.”

Mt. Vernon came into the regional on a six-game winning streak. It won the sectional tournament for a fourth straight year, overcoming a stretch where it lost seven of eight games when dealing with three players, including Minch, out with injuries.

They finished the year 13-14, winning nine of the final 12 games. The losses came to No. 1 Lawrence Central, No. 13 Noblesville [both still in the tournament] and a nail-biter to a 20-win Mooresville team.

“We started off [the season] really strong, lost a couple games to Westfield and Warren Central and some other really good teams. They were single-digit losses,” Shelton said. “Then we had several injuries that really made the middle of the season tough. Coming off of that, everyone getting healthy, we were playing the best basketball towards the end.

“This is a great group. From top to bottom, a great group of kids. They want to win and be a part of the program and they’ve all hung in there and finished strong. I’m proud of them for that.”

It was the final game for five seniors, Minch, Laffey, Easton Wampler, Kaitlynn Hawkins and Aya Renforth. Minch has signed to play Division I basketball at DePaul.

“She’s had an amazing four years, four sectional titles, an (Indiana) Junior All-Star last year, and has averaged 15-16 points for four years for us and just an all-around great kid, even more than a basketball player,” Shelton added. “It’s been my pleasure to coach her, a great experience for four years.”

The senior class is one of Shelton’s largest in her coaching career.

“To keep five seniors is really good,” the coach said. “I think I’ve only had three classes in 23 years that had five kids make it all the way through, that says a lot for this class.”

After Kenny, Minch finished with nine points. Thomas had five.

LC was led by Jaylah Lampley with 20. Abdurraqib had 13 and Lola Lampley scored 12. All are underclassmen. With Saturday’s win, the Bears have won 22 straight game. Their lone loss was a one-point decision to George Rogers Clark High School out of Kentucky, on Dec. 2.

Lawrence Central 58, Mt. Vernon 30

Mt. Vernon;9;13;4;4;—;30

Lawrence Central;18;15;20;5;—;58

Mt. Vernon (13-14): Easton Wampler 0 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Laffey 1 0-0 3, Ellery Minch 4 0-0 9, Gabby Thomas 2 0-0 5, Kanyonrae Kenny 4 1-2 10, Addison Bucksot 1 1-2 3, Katelyn Hawkins 0 0-0 0, Aya Renforth 0 0-0 0, Marissa Miner 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 2-4 30.

Lawrence Central (27-1): Lola Lampley 5 2-2 12, Jaylah Lampley 7 1-2 20, Laila Abdurraqib 4 1-2 13, Melaya Hughes 0 1-2 1, Aniyah McKenzie 4 0-0 8, Mariah Kenter Garrett 1 0-0 2, Janiyah Russell 0 0-0 0, Katie Castro 1 0-1 2, Daneijah Wynn 0 0-0 0, Jessica Heavener 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 5-9 58.

3-point goals: Mt. Vernon 4 (Laffey, Minch, Thomas, Kenny). Lawrence Central 4 (J. Lampley 5, Abdurraqib 4).