The Central Valley girls basketball team’s story didn’t end with a 4A state title in Tacoma last month.
Sights were set on a national championship – and that mission was accomplished in New York last Saturday, as early risers got to see a nationally televised game where the Bears defeated Hamilton Heights of Tennessee 66-61 to win the GEICO Nationals title game.
“It’s amazing,” CV coach Freddie Rehkow said after the contest. “So surreal.”
The win caps an undefeated season and the final game for twins Lexie and Lacie Hull, who are headed to Stanford next fall to continue to play ball. Fellow senior Hailey Christopher will play at Idaho State.
The Bears (29-0) have been used to winning in double digits all season and had to battle through a dicey third quarter to get past top-ranked Hamilton Heights at Christ the King High School. The Bears turned the ball over 10 times and were outscored 17-5 in the stanza.
The Bears were then up nine points with less than three minutes left, but the Lady Hawks persisted.
Then Hamilton Heights’ Jasmine Massengill grabbed a deflected inbounds pass and scored with 21.9 seconds left to made the score 63-61. A rarely used inbound play was then employed by the Bears, and Lexie Hull was fouled – she sank both free throws to seal the deal.
Lexie had 26 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and was perfect on 11 free throws in the game. Overall, the Bears were 21-for-22 from the line.
Camryn Scaife added 14 points and Lacie Hull had nine.
The day before, Central Valley got off to a fast start to take the down Westlake (Georgia) 70-57. The Bears converted 17 turnovers into 20 points, and Lexie Hull had 30 points, 13 rebounds and four steals.
Christopher had 14 points and seven rebounds, while Lexie Hull had 17 points.
This was the first trip for the Bears, who beat their opponents by an average of 44 points all season, to the title game.