Girls Varsity Basketball
(Free Lance Star Photo by Peter Cihelka)
The two top seeds in the Girls Commonwealth District took to the court on Tuesday night with title dreams. The Eagles finished the regular season with a perfect 12-0 mark in district play, while the second seeded Black Hawks were 9-4 on the campaign. The Forge defeated the Black Hawks on the road in early December 56-52 but dominated the contest at the Forge, trouncing their Courthouse Road neighbor 78-48 a little over a month later.
Tuesday night's 59-54 championship clinching win was the Eagles 10th straight victory over Brooke Point and it gave the GREEN their 4th consecutive District/Conference crown. All good in Eagle Nation - but this one wasn't easy.
The Hawks jumped on the Eagles early using aggressive play that had the Forge on their heels. Two quick buckets by Brook Point sophomore Ayanna Parker (one from long range) answered the Eagles Keona Warmak's BULLS-EYE and gave Brooke point an early 5-3 lead.
The Forge then turned to their sharp shooting freshman Jenna Grey who went on a 9-1 run of her own, scoring eleven points in just 1:20 of game time. Grey hit three BOMBS on consecutive possessions and then followed up with a bucket that forced Hawks Coach Adam Brown to call a timeout to talk it over with the Eagles ahead 14-6 with 3:50 left in the opening quarter.
The timeout slowed the momentum for the remainder of the stanza as the Forge went scoreless, while Parker went on a personal 8-0 run to tie the game at 14-14 at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter the Black Hawks spread their wings as they got the GREEN to play their game. Brooke Point scored the first four points of the quarter before Riley Morrision buried a BULLS-EYE from deep to cut the deficit to 18-17 with 6:10 left until halftime. The Hawks responded with a 9-2 run to go ahead 27-19 with less than 3 minutes til the break.
After a Forge timeout, the Eagles would respond going inside the paint to their senior post Jamise Shellington who responded with two put backs inside to get the GREEN within six and when Nadia Capers scored with 1:01 left in the half the Hawks lead was cut to four at 27-23. Brooke Points sophomore Zamaria Hutchinson hit a couple of free throws with 36.6 seconds left but Cameren Downs would score her only two points of the half with .8 seconds left and the two teams wen to the locker rooms with the Hawks leading 29-25.
Out of the halftime locker room Downs started to take control, while the Brooke Point offense seemed to struggle a bit. The Black Hawks big struggle in the second half was poor free throw shooting at critical times. "We knew we had to come out a little bit stronger, and we had to start playting our game" said Eagles Head Coach Lashaun Cook post game.
Downs thirteen points in the frame gave the Eagles the life they needed. A Downs 3-pointer was wrapped around a driving lay up and another layup that earned the hoop and the harm for a 3 point play. She hit the free throw with 4:14 left in the quarter to give the Forge a 38-34 lead. Hutchinson and Parker did the Black Hawk damage the rest of the quarter and a Shellington free throw and a Grey basket sent this one into "winning time" tied at 41-41. "We needed to execute our press" said Cook. "and make sure we let our defense lead to our offense".
In the final quarter the "good gals" outscored the Hawks 18-13 as they went to Shellington in the paint and after Downs was fouled on her way to the tin, she buried the free throws to give the Eagles a 52-41 advantage with 4:34 left. Again Hutchinson and Parker provided the Brooke Point response as they tried to scratch and claw their way back into this one.
Missed shots and turnovers by the Eagles made this one a little interesting down the stretch. The Eagle defense was the star late as they got to the glass and turned up the pressure to wrap up the victory. "We had to be aggressive, stay in their face and play hard", said Cook. "We knew we had to get rebounds and take care of the ball to secure the win".
The team got on the bus for the short commute to Courthouse Road with the trophy that they expected to capture when the season began. Now the second season begins with a 6B Regional Quarter Final against Manchester to be played at home on Monday night.