Cleveland finishes stunning run to title | 3A Girls Championship
Cleveland beat top-ranked Holy Names, its Metro League rival, for the first time this season, 47-44, to capture the Class 3A girls basketball state championship.
Seattle Times staff reporter
TACOMA — They wanted the one that counted.
And the Cleveland Eagles got it on the biggest stage.
After two earlier losses to Metro League rival Holy Names, Cleveland beat the Cougars in the championship game of the Class 3A state girls basketball tournament Saturday night in the Tacoma Dome, 47-44.
Cheyenne Wilson delivered 20 points and was voted tournament MVP. Cahla Scott added 10 points, six in the fourth quarter.
Holy Names reserve Alexis Reichelt, who had hit three big three-pointers in the second half — including one that cut what was once a 10-point deficit to three with 28 seconds left — had a tying attempt rim in and out just before the final buzzer.
Unranked Cleveland (22-7) ended the top-ranked Cougars' 19-game winning streak and is the only 3A team to beat them. The other Holy Names losses came against Newport and Issaquah, both 4A state qualifiers.
Holy Names (26-3) played without junior sharpshooter Claire Conricode, their leading scorer. She injured an ankle in Friday's semifinal win over Mercer Island. She tested it during warm-ups wearing a brace, but couldn't go. Teammates wrote her number, 25, on their shoulders and she wound up on the all-tournament second team.
Erika Johnson led Holy Names with 13 points and was a first-team choice.
Cheyenne Wilson had 18 points in the first three quarters as Cleveland opened up a 10-point, 35-25. Then the Eagles withstood a furious comeback try by Holy Names.
It was 35-27 when reserve Alexis Reichelt opened the fourth period with a three-pointer and Johnson followed with a basket off one of her patented spin moves. That made it 35-32, but Cleveland wouldn't crumple.
Olivia Smith scored on a fast break and Calah Scott added a jumper. Cheyenne Wilson's basket gave the Eagles a 41-34 lead with 3:24 left in the game.
Holy Names answered with six straight points before Whitney Wilson sank two huge free throws with 1:30 on the clock. Chelsea Gonzalez followed with 1 of 2 free throws to put it at 43-41, then Scott — who had been banged her head on the court earlier in the quarter — nailed a clutch baseline jumper to push it back to 45-41 with 1:03 to go.
The Cougars turned it over and Scott came through again, this time with two free throws for a 47-41 lead with just 37.2 seconds showing. Then Reichelt drained another three to give them a chance. Scott misses a free throw with 13.8 seconds to go that left the door open.
It was a ragged first quarter for both teams and ended in a 10-10 tie. Then the start of the second quarter was worse.
After Christian Savini gave the Eagles a 12-11 lead a minute into the period, they went scoreless for the next three-plus. But Holy Names couldn't capitalize, settling for just three free throws during the span.
Calah Scott finally hit a big-time, fallaway jumper to get Cleveland started again with 3:42 left in the half. The Eagles closed with a 10-5 run to lead 22-19 at the break. Holy Names made just 2 of 9 field goals in the second period and 5 of 25 for the half, 20.8 percent.
Holy Names beat Cleveland by 26 and 19 earlier this season.
Coming into the game, Cheyenne Wilson said this game would be different in large part because the Eagles were playing with a different attitude.
The Cougars have been ranked No. 1 in the state all season, even though Kennedy Catholic was still loaded after winning last year's title. Kennedy wound up going 2-2 in this tournament to finish seventh.
Cleveland started the season just 6-4 before picking up steam. The Eagles came out on the court with new white T-shirts with a large red "7" on the front — the total of the numbers in the date of the championship game 3-1-3 (3-13).