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South Bend’s Washington High School Panthers celebrate state girls basketball championship title

The Washington High School Panthers and coach Steve Reynolds pose with their 2022 championship trophy.
Jakob Lazzaro
The Washington High School Panthers and coach Steve Reynolds pose with their 2022 championship trophy.

South Bend’s Washington High School Panthers are the 2022 Indiana state girls basketball champions, and the school hosted an assembly Friday to celebrate.

Last year, the Panthers faced off against Silver Creek High School for the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s 3A state title. But the South Bend girls team came in as the runner ups.

This year was a rematch. But this time, the Panthers won 93-35 — the largest margin of victory in state finals history.

The win means Washington High School is bringing home a state basketball championship for the first time since 2007. And on Friday, the school’s gymnasium was packed with students, community members and local officials for a celebration.

“I’m honored to say this — congratulations to the best girls basketball team in the state of Indiana,” South Bend Community School Corporation Superintendent Todd Cummings said.

“We’re also proud of the support that’s gone into it — the cheerleaders, the teachers, our support staff, how hard our students have worked to get their credits, to get to a 90 percent graduation rate — we’re proud of everyone at Washington High School today,” he added.

Coach Steve Reynolds said the win is a win for the city and the community, and that the trophy is for everyone who works hard without recognition.

“This trophy is for anyone who has found a way to love people despite being ridiculed, misunderstood, or cast aside,” Reynold said. “For all of you who understand what it means to persevere, to keep going, to overcome difficulties.”

As part of the festivities, Mayor James Mueller awarded the team a key to the city.

“We know that the Panthers are known as the pride of the west side, and now they’re the pride of South Bend,” Mueller said. “They’re inspiring our community with the way they played and their resilience and determination, and that’s worthy of the highest honor of the city.”

The South Bend River Lights will be turned green this weekend in honor of the team.

Contact Jakob at or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.