Pan­thers de­feat Saints, earn 11th straight crown

The Washington Post Sunday - - ALLMETSPORTS.COM - BY JESSE DOUGHERTY jesse.dougherty@wash­post.com

Paul VI beat St. Anne’s-Belfield, 70-49, on Satur­day, giv­ing the Pan­thers an 11th straight Vir­ginia In­de­pen­dent Schools Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion Divi­sion I girls’ championship.

“Eleven,” Paul VI Coach Scott Allen re­peated while driv­ing the bus back from Rich­mond af­ter the game. “It’s pretty crazy.”

The No. 2 Pan­thers (32-2) were tested by the Saints and star guard Bri­anna Tins­ley, who is signed to play at Vir­ginia next sea­son. Paul VI led by just six at half­time be­cause of Tins­ley’s perime­ter shoot­ing, and Allen said his team was sim­ply not lo­cat­ing her on de­fense.

But the Pan­thers snapped into fo­cus out of the break and started sprint­ing past St. Anne’s-Belfield. Mikalya Vaughn scored 10 of her team-high 17 points in the third quar­ter. Amira Collins had eight of her 16 in the fourth. Once Paul VI started work­ing the ball in­side in the sec­ond — Vaughn is 6 feet 4 and Collins is 6-3 — the lead kept bal­loon­ing.

“You know we didn’t win the WCAC championship, and I had per­son­ally never won a championship in high school, so I think this was re­ally im­por­tant to us,” said Vaughn, a se­nior com­mit­ted to Notre Dame. “We re­al­ized that if [Tins­ley] hit two more threes, the game would have been tied, and we were let­ting them hang around too long, so we stepped it up.”

In the first half, Paul VI was paced by guards Ash­ley Owusu and Hon­esty Scott-Grayson. Owusu scored eight of her 14 points in the sec­ond quar­ter, and Scott-Grayson scored eight of her 12 in the first half. The Pan­thers also got an early lift from Kate Klimkiewicz, who net­ted seven in the first quar­ter.

Then the Pan­thers rolled once their for­wards got go­ing. Tins­ley had a game-high 29 points for the Saints (24-4) but couldn’t out­shoot Paul VI’s dy­namic of­fense. The Pan­thers’ only losses this sea­son have come against No. 1 St. John’s — on the road Jan. 24 and in the Wash­ing­ton Catholic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence championship — and they will not end it with­out a ti­tle.

“I feel like win­ning two straight, three straight is re­ally hard to do,” Vaughn said. “But 11 straight? That’s ex­tremely hard to do, and it’s re­ally cool to be a part of a tra­di­tion like that here.”

Paul VI boys fall in ti­tle game

Paul VI never cooled off Trin­ity Epis­co­pal in a 95-78 loss in the VISAA Divi­sion I boys’ championship Satur­day.

“Un­for­tu­nately, de­fense wins cham­pi­onships,” Pan­thers Coach Glenn Farello said. “If you can’t find a way to get stops, the other team is go­ing to kind of pre­vail.”

Trin­ity Epis­co­pal shot 70 per­cent from the field, in­clud­ing 10 for 15 from be­hind the three­p­oint line. Zach Ja­cobs, a 6-7 se­nior com­mit­ted to play at James Madi­son, scored 38 by mak­ing 16 of 20 at­tempts. The No. 4 Pan­thers (28-6) trailed by just six at half­time be­fore the Ti­tans scored 53 sec­ond-half points to pull away at Vir­ginia State Univer­sity.

Bran­don Slater led Paul VI with 18 points, point guard Jeremy Roach fin­ished with 16, An­thony Har­ris net­ted 15 and Pittsburgh com­mit Aaron Thomp­son notched 12. But Farello noted that the Pan­thers — who fell to No. 2 Gonzaga in the WCAC championship Mon­day — were well be­hind be­fore any of their play­ers stood out of­fen­sively.

“The way I kind of de­scribe it as that in a championship game, you have to raise your game to an­other level,” Farello said. “Trin­ity Chris­tian did, and we did not have an an­swer for it.”

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