Local Sports from The Courier
Monday, March 18, 2013Girls state basketball: Hathaway Brown wins 5th straight championship
by the associated presS
COLUMBUS -- Nia Marshall and her teammates left the court in tears on Saturday, not because they lost, but because it was the last time they would play together -- as history-making champions.
Marshall, a second-team Associated Press All-Ohioan, scored 17 points and added 18 rebounds to lead Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown to a 56-44 victory over Millersburg West Holmes in the Division II final, giving the Blazers a record fifth consecutive state title.
"It was definitely different because even throughout warmups I was thinking, '(This is the) last 32 minutes with these girls,'" Marshall said. "It was really emotional at the end that we knew we had our fifth one in the bag. And that was the last time that we would ever be playing together as a team."
The Blazers were already assured of another record -- becoming the only team in the girls tournament's 38 years to make it to the final four in seven consecutive years.
Amazingly, they have now won 36 tournament games in a row. After losing in their first two trips to the state tournament, in the 2007 and 2008 title games, they haven't lost in tournament play since.
The Blazers (23-6) broke a deadlock with Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame and South Euclid Regina, which had each won four in a row.
Marshall, whose 18 rebounds was a Division II championship-game record, scored all five of Hathaway Brown's points over the first 4-plus minutes of the final quarter, enabling it to play keep-away with both the lead and the ball.
First-team all-stater Vanessa Smith added 11 points for the Blazers.
Rachelle Morrison had 13 points for West Holmes (28-2), which had beaten the Blazers on their home floor on Dec. 1. Paiten Strother had 10 points.
COLUMBUS -- Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel walked into her postgame interview session and offered an opening statement.
"My first comment is, 'Finally!'" she said, breaking into a wide smile.
After a quarter of a century around the program, her Redskins finally won a long anticipated title.
Second-team Associated Press All-Ohioan Darian Rose scored 19 points and seemed to be in the middle of every big play down the stretch, leading Fort Loramie past Berlin Hiland 57-42 in the Division IV final on Saturday.
It is the first girls state basketball championship for Fort Loramie and Siegel, who played for Fort Loramie, was an assistant coach for five years and the head coach for the past 14.
Rose, a junior, hit all eight of her free throws and also had five rebounds and five assists as the Redskins (27-3) finally finished on top in their seventh trip to the state tournament.
Regina Hochstetler poured in 23 points for Hiland (26-4), denied its fifth state title in a record 13 trips to the final four.
COLUMBUS -- It was a fitting finale for Associated Press Ms. Basketball Ashley Morrissette's career.
It just didn't end the way she wanted.
Makayla Waterman scored 24 points and hit a late clinching free throw and Kathryn Westbeld added 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead Kettering Fairmont to a 52-48 victory over two-time defending big-school champion Twinsburg, ending the Tigers' 42-game winning streak.
Morrissette had 27 points, including 15 of her team's 17 in the fourth quarter, for Twinsburg (29-1), which lost to an Ohio school for the first time in 73 games.
"I didn't want it to be over," said Morrissette, who's committed to Purdue. "If I was going out, I was going out on my terms -- shooting on my terms ... and fighting."
The victory allowed the Firebirds (27-1) to atone for a 57-41 loss to Twinsburg in last year's Division I state final. The title was the Firebirds' first after coming up short in four trips to the state's final four.
The Tigers still had a chance to tie in the closing seconds after some incredible shooting by Morrissette. She hit a jumper with 1:03 left and 3s with 41 and 24 seconds remaining to cut the Fairmont lead to 51-48.
After the Firebirds turned the ball over on a bad pass with 7.9 seconds left, Twinsburg set up for a possible tying shot, taking the ball out at the far end of the court. But Fairmont's Alona Skipper got a hand on the inbounds pass and it went out of bounds off a Tigers player.
Waterman was then fouled with 6 seconds left and made the first of two free throws to clinch the win.
COLUMBUS -- Cayla Bensman had 21 points, Natalie Billing 17 and Erica Huber 15 as Anna defeated Columbus Africentric 67-49 to win its second girls Division III championship in three years.
It was sweet revenge for Anna (26-4) against Africentric, which last year won its third title in six years with a 70-66 overtime win to snap the Rockets' 50-game winning streak. Anna, which also won a state title in 1981, is 80-6 over the past three seasons.
Marley Hill, the Associated Press co-player of the year for Division I, had 19 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks for Africentric (22-6).
Anna scored 147 points in two tourney games in Value City Arena without making a 3-pointer. Their only two attempts came against Africentric.
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