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Sunday, March 3, 2013 - Page updated at 11:30 p.m.
Big finish lifts Cleveland past Prep for title, 45-43 in OT | 3A Girls
By Sandy Ringer
Seattle Times staff reporter
TACOMA — One big shot. One huge block. One gigantic victory.
Cleveland High School came up with measurable efforts at both ends of the court in the final 18 seconds of overtime to edge rival Seattle Prep, 45-43 Saturday night, and win the Class 3A state girls basketball championship for the second time in four years.
"It feels amazing," said tournament MVP Makala Roper of Cleveland. "All our hard work paid off."
And the second-ranked Eagles (27-2) really had to work for this one — their 26th consecutive victory — after blowing a 16-point, first-half lead.
Junior Asiyah Davis scored her only basket of the game off an offensive rebound with 18 seconds to play in overtime to give them the 45-43 lead. Then 6-foot sophomore Joyce Harrell blocked a putback attempt by 6-foot-2 senior Michaela Carew with less than two seconds on the clock.
The 5-10 Davis came up with the ball after Harrell missed inside and she didn't hesitate to put it back up — only her second attempt of the game.
"I was determined to make that shot," she said.
And Harrell was determined to stop Carew from making hers. Carew, who had a monster game with 19 points and 13 rebounds, got the carom after Nicole Hall was long on a three-point try with five seconds left in overtime. She went up with the ball and was stuffed. The tie ball went to Cleveland with 1.8 seconds on the clock.
Harrell had four fouls when she took Carew on.
"I had to really time this one," she said.
For a while, it looked like this was going to be the Panthers' time after three earlier losses to their Metro League mates. After trailing 33-20, they scored the last 12 points of the third quarter and took a 37-36 lead — their first of the game — on a Carew free throw with 3:09 to play in the fourth. Hall made another free throw at 1:21, but Myzhanique Ladd tied it on a driving basket with 20 seconds left. She also had the tying basket in overtime.
"Myzhanique Ladd, wow! Wow!" Cleveland coach Stephenie Wheeler-Smith said before cutting down her piece of the net. "Asiyah Davis, wow!"
And Alexia Mefi, wow! The 5-10 junior led Cleveland with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Wheeler-Smith said she was proud of the way her team battled back after letting the big lead slip away.
"They've got a lot of heart and they have a lot of faith," she said.
Seattle Prep coach Michelle Hall was pleased with the way her team responded after a shaky first half.
"I'm very proud of our fight, our resilience," she said. "They have nothing to hang their heads about."
Carew wasn't hanging hers, despite the disappointment.
"We have five seniors on our team this year and we wanted to win it for each other," she said. "What's better than going out with a big trophy on a big team win? But you know what? I have to say I am so proud of how we played."
Holly Tonry, a senior who has battled a variety of injuries, contributed 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Carew explained the team's motto from the movie Lilo and Stich: "Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten, and I think that's what we saw tonight. We saw that we were a family and we saw we could get trough adversity and we could get through pressure and we could pull each other up and that's what we did."
And then the classy senior, who was named to the all-tournament first team, gave the Eagles their due.
"I have to hand it to Cleveland," said Prep's Carew. "They are a phenomenal team and they work really hard."
The Eagles, who won their first title in 2010, are young with just one senior — Donniesha Webber, another all-tournament choice.
Seattle Prep (23-6) captured its only championship in 2002, when assistant coaches Joy Hollingsworth and Kate Fitzmaurice were on the team. The Panthers placed second in 2003 and were sixth last season.
Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SEATTLE PREP — Maggie Downer 0-0 0-0 0, Holly Tonry 3-8 3-4 10, Nicole Hall 0-7 3-8 3, Mary Ann Santucci 3-13 0-0 6, Quinn Glosniak 2-2 1-2 5, Maggie McDonald 0-0 0-0 0, Andraya Flor 0-1 0-0 0, Michaela Carew 5-19 9-13 19. Totals 13-50 16-27 43.
CLEVELAND — Donniesha Webber 3-7 0-0 6, Myzhanique Ladd 4-12 0-0 9, Jayde Christopher 2-9 0-0 4, Alexia Mefi 3-10 9-15 15, Asiyah Davis 1-2 0-0 2, Makala Roper 2-9 4-5 9, Joyce Harrell 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 15-51 13-20 45.
Three-point shooting — Seattle Prep 1-9 (Tonry 1-1, Hall 0-4, Santucci 0-3, Carew 0-1); Cleveland 2-14 (Webber 0-1, Ladd 1-5, Mefi 0-2, Roper 1-6). Rebounds — Seattle Prep 46 (Carew 13); Cleveland 38 (Mefi 13). Assists — Seattle Prep 8 (Tonry 4); Cleveland 5 (Christopher 3). Steals — Seattle Prep 10 (Santucci 5); Cleveland 8 (Webber 2, Ladd 2, Mefi 2). Blocked shots — Seattle Prep 1 (Carew); Cleveland 4 (Webber 3).
Seattle Prep 8 6 18 6 5 — 43 Cleveland 16 13 4 5 7 — 45
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