Sunday, March 9, 2014
There’s a difference between making a championship run and dominating everything in your path.
In Class AA girls basketball, there’s a difference between Bishop England and everyone else.
The Lady Bishops trumped Andrew Jackson, 59-26, Saturday at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia to capture their second Class AA girls state championship in three years.
Bishop England (27-1) won its five playoff games by an average of 41 points per game this season. Seniors Mary Harriet Moore, Michele Boykin and Eran Artigues each scored in double figures Saturday. Moore turned in game-high 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks; Boykin added 10 points, six rebounds and four assists, and Artigues scored 12 with five rebounds.
“Winning a second championship feels awesome,” Boykin said. “It means a lot to finish with this team this way and I think it proves we’re a dominant team.”
After trading baskets through the opening minutes, Bishop England grabbed control, forcing four straight turnovers that Boykin and Moore turned into a 6-0 run.
Artigues then blew the game open, scoring eight straight, including three consecutive threes. Bishop England scored the last 15 points of the quarter to take an 18-point lead to the break.
“After the first one fell, I knew my shot was on,” Artigues said. “My teammates kept finding me and our defense stepped it up. Once our defense started clicking, I knew we had control of the game.”
The Lady Bishops defense allowed Andrew Jackson just one field goal the entire second quarter. Andrew Jackson went on a scoring drought that lasted nearly 10 minutes of game time, finally ending midway through the third quarter with Bishop England leading by 33 points.
The Lady Bishops forced 20 turnovers and limited Andrew Jackson to 18 percent (8-44) shooting on the night. Elizabeth Scott led Andrew Jackson with nine points. Dareisha Sowell managed just five on 1-9 shooting after scoring 40 in the Upper State title game.
“As the game went on, we felt very confident that we could wear them down,” Bishop England head coach Paul Runey said. “I was very impressed with our defense. You see them on film, but you don’t really know until you play them and I thought we did a great job of hammering them early and then finishing the game.”
With a 34-point lead early in the fourth quarter, Runey honored his seniors, sitting them down one by one to the ovation of the Colonial Life Arena crowd. The group won 98 games the past four seasons, including two state championships and a second-place finish.
“I’m going to miss them dearly,” Runey said. “They’re just hard workers. I couldn’t be prouder of those girls.
“They felt they left a little bit on the table by not winning in (last year). Every day that’s what they’d say ‘let’s get back to Columbia.’”