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Defense propels Bishop England to second AAA crown in three years

Columbia – Bishop England fell behind 25-24 in the third quarter before they outscored Keenan 12 -3 to end the quarter, they then withstood a Keenan rally in fourth quarter to the win their second AAA girls’ basketball title in three years and their sixth overall, 54-46.

“Our girls just played a heckava defensive second half. We were nervous coming into the game because they had two of the best outside shooters, we have seen all year. We knew it would be a chess match, with us trying to pound it inside to offset their outside game,” said Bishop England head coach Paul Runey.

Bishop England ends the year with 28-1 record and send their senior out with a state title and while seniors Katie Brooks, Josie Dennis and Kelly Drummond all played major roles in the victory it was the defensive intensity of sophomore tennis standout Lily Woods on Keenan’s eighth grade phenom Milaysia Fulwiley that made a huge impact on the outcome.

“Lily is our number one tennis player and she did a great job on defense. She plays a mile a minute. She has great feet and we put her in to stay in front guard their shooters,” Runey Said.

The Lady Raiders finished the year at 17-8. They won the AA crown last year and moving up to AAA had little effect on them. They did not graduate anyone so they will be one of the odds-on favorites to get back to Columbia next year.

“First of all, Bishop England played good defense and we had trouble getting the shots we wanted,” said Kenan head coach Reggie McClain. “We made a run, but we fell too far behind to finish the comeback.

Bishop England opened-up the game on a 4-0 run before Keenan followed it with a 6-0 run of their own. Teams went back and forth with BE taking a 3-point lead on Woods three-point play before Keenan’s Fulwiley hit a three-pointer to tie the score at 11 after one.

The second stanza neither team was able to establish their game and play was back and forth with the Lady Bishops taking a 22-20 halftime lead. Bishop England’s Brooks had 8 points at the hale going 6 for 6 from the line.

In the third quarter each team came out throwing body punches at each other and points were at a premium, until Bishop England’s Dennis scored on a shorts jumper to start a 6-0 run to end the quarter to give BE a 36-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Bishop England extended their lead in the first minute of the fourth quarter after Brooks and Drummond had back to back baskets inside.

Coach McClain called a timeout with 7:28 to go to settle his team down. After the timeout the Lady Raiders when on an 8-0 run punctuated by back to back threes from Dyani Burke and suddenly the Lady Bishops lead had shrunk to 7 at 43-36.

At which point coach Runey called a timeout for Bishop England. Woods then scored on a layup and then the Lady Bishop’ Brooks stole the ball and was fouled by Keenan’s Courtney Jones, who did not like the call. She then slammed the ball down and received a technical foul. Brooks sank the two technical free throws and she knocked down the one and one opportunity and the lead went back to 11.

Keenan could get no closer than the final margin after that.

Brooks led the Lady Bishops with 20 points while Dennis and Woods each scored 10. They were 20-26 from the line.

Keenan was led by Fulwiley with 18 and Burke added 17.

BE   11   11  14  18  54

K     11     9    8   18  46


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