KOKOMO - The wait is finally over for the Sheridan girls' basketball team.

Led by a season-high 32 points from sophomore sensation Brittany Welch on Saturday night, the Class 2A Blackhawks won their first-ever sectional championship by defeating Elwood 67-52.

Freshman Audrey Reed followed up her 23-point semifinals performance against Tipton with a 24-point effort in the Sectional 39 finale as Sheridan fended off a late rally by the Panthers to secure the crown.

A rematch of an earlier game on Nov. 22 during the regular season, the Panthers challenged the Blackhawks in the second half in an attempt to avenge their previous 59-41 loss.

Elwood (9-17) surged to a 45-42 lead in the second half but couldn't keep up with the torrid pace of Sheridan's prolific scoring duo.

The tandem helped push the Blackhawks ahead for good in the fourth quarter behind a decisive 10-2 run to increase their margin to five points while Elwood's offense nearly fell silent.

Sheridan outscored Elwood 15-5 in the final eight minutes to counter Panthers' trio of double-digit scorers and earn the right to cut down the nets.

Taylor Noone led Elwood with 17 points while Kenzie Wilson and Tenasha Stephens had 12 and 10, respectively.

Welch scored a team-high 17 points against host Taylor on Wednesday during the Blackhawks' 47-28 quarterfinals victory.

On Friday, the Blackhawks inched one step closer to their goal with a 60-44 win against Tipton in the semifinals behind 18 points from Welch and 23 from Audrey Reed. Tipton beat Sheridan 54-53 in the regular season on Jan. 10.

Reed has scored 20 points or more seven times this year with her season-high at 25 against Tri-Central on Dec. 20.

Welch has never eclipsed 30 points in a game this year. Her previous high was 29 against Eastern on Nov. 15. A 20-plus point scorer 15 times this year, she leads the team with nearly 20 points per game.

The Blackhawks (20-6) will now advance to the Class 2A Lapel Regional to face No. 10 Fountain Central (20-3) at noon on Saturday, Feb. 21.

No. 9 Shenandoah (22-3) will play either Northfield (12-12) or No. 4 Wabash (21-3) in the other regional semifinal at 10:30 a.m. The championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m.