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"The Fulwiley Show" Leads Keenan To 53-33 Win Over Marion In AA Girl's Finals

“The Fulwiley Show” Leads Keenan Past Marion 53-33 In AA Girl’s Finals  

By Billy Baker


Columbia—To say the AAA SCHSL girl’s championship game between Keenan and Marion was the “MiLaysia Fulwiley Show” was just like saying it was indeed the “MiLaysia Fulwiley Show” as the freshman phenom led the Lady Raiders to a 53-33 win with 29 points at the USC Colonial Life Center on March, 7.

In the waning seconds of the first half, with her team leading 24-18 Fulwiley dribbled pass a double team near the top of the key, sidestepped another Marion defender with a head fake on the way to the basket, and then with a 360 degree spin move she banked the lay-up in at the buzzer as her adoring fan base from Keenan went wild giving this blessed player’s WNBA move loud approval. Her lay-up gave Keenan a 26-18 advantage at the half which included 18 points of her own contribution.   

In the third period the Fulwiley Show cooled off a bit as more of her teammates joined in the scoring, but she did convert three steals into coast-to-coast lay-ups and by the end of the third period Keenan enjoyed a 41-30 lead and number “23” had 24 points to her credit. Keenan won the final period 12-3 as the Lady Raiders won their second state AAA title in three years by a 20 point margin.

Marion, 29-2, hurt their chances for victory by making only 8 of 24 free throws and they had 27 turnovers in the game as well. Keenan played a full-court man-to-man defense the entire game and Marion made only one of 21 three point shot attempts. .

Keenan made 6 of 12 free throws from the line and they connected on five three point shots. Fulwiley hit a three from down town Columbia mid-way the final period that swished in like it had been dropped by a B-52.  

Keenan head coach Reggie McLain was all smiles after the game. “It feels good that the girls were able to come back, especially after losing last year, and I am so proud of the great effort they put in today,” he said. “Number 23 (Fulwiley) is very special player and a lot of what she does on the court we can’t teach it. She can run in space and create a lot of plays on her own. We are excited to have her for three more years.”

“This is number four for me and the program and the girls started working hard last summer and they know how it feels to be on the other side so they pushed themselves to get better this season. It feels great to be on the winning side this year. Our hustle and effort today was the difference in us winning.”

Fulwiley said she want three more state titles before she graduates. “I love being a good teammate and I knew what I had to do coming into the game and I put it all on the court,” she said. “We were so hurt when we lost last season and I didn’t want to feel like that again this year.

“I have always told myself I would wait until my senior year to commit to a college and I started playing with boy’s teams when I was four years old,” said Fulwiley. “I love the game and for the first time I looked at the career scoring record of Ivory Latta the other night and that might be a goal I set my sights on.”

(It will take 4,309 points to tie Latta’s record. Can Fulwiley do it?)     

    Keenan entered the fourth quarter ahead 41-30 and Fulwiley had 26 points entering the final period. No other Lady Raiders scored in double figures but Tamyra Davis had six points while Ashari Lewis and Vidasha Jones had four each and Brooklyn Woods had five points for the victors. Lewis owned the boards with 12 rebounds and Woods and Fulwiley each had 8 rebounds also. Fulwiley had an incredible 8 steals and she scored 10 points off of her defensive steals.

Marion had no one in double figures for the first time all season. Their top four scorers were Ka’Nyiah Davis with 7 points, Kimbrie’l Barnes and Keyla Britt each had six leading scorer for the season Yonaja Lester was held to just five points, her season low.     

Marion head coach Crasten Davis told the HSSR after the game, “We missed 19 free throws at Dillon a few weeks ago and do not know how many free throws we missed today but it came back and bit us again today,” he said. “If we make our free throws it is a different ball game. And I felt like we were doing what we wanted to do defensively. Our goal was to get to the free throw line and we did but we got to the line we could not make

“At the half we still felt like it was anyone’s game down only 8 and I think we counted like 11 missed free throws, many of them the front end of one-on-ones,” said Coach Davis. “We graduate four seniors but we have Lester back and we plan on being back here next year.”

During the season Marion had big wins but none bigger then their third round win at Bishop England on the road that kept the goals alive. “We had a great season and I I am kind of mad at myself because I need to figure out different ways to put the team in scoring position. I hate this lost for our seniors (Britt, Davis, Rogers, and Buey) but we will bounce back.”   

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