The first Frontier Athletic Conference girls basketball title was sorted out on the final game of the regular season.
Miami Trace came into the game at 9-0 and host Washington was 8-1 as the teams set for battle in front of a near sell-out crowd at Washington High School Saturday night.
Washington won the first half, but Miami Trace won the second half, and by virtue of that, the game, 45-34.
Both teams enter the tournament with identical 19-3 overall records.
Miami Trace gets its first gold basketball in six years under head coach Ben Ackley.
Washington finishes second in the FAC at 8-2 under second-year head coach Samantha Leach.
Miami Trace senior Tanner Bryant was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points. She led her team with nine rebounds.
Sophomore Shay McDonald scored 13 for the Lady Panthers.
Junior Olivia Wolffe scored seven, junior Cassidy Lovett had four points and senior Morgan Miller scored three.
Junior Hannah Haithcock led the Lady Lions with 12 points.
Junior Kassidy Hines scored six points; sophomores Rayana Burns and Shawna Conger each had five points; junior Bre Taylor had four points and junior Tabby Woods scored two.
“We made a lot of over-anxious (plays) early on,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “And it hurt us. Our bench came in and kept us right where we needed to be. We did have a couple of breakdowns.
“Tonight was a total team effort,” Ackley said. “When Vic (Victoria Fliehman) went out, a lot of people doubted these kids. They doubted their make-up. We get everybody’s best shot. I thought our kids really stepped up.
“I thought our defense in the third quarter was smothering,” Ackley said. “Olivia Wolffe played like a First Team, all-league player tonight. Hannah’s going to make plays, you’re never going to shut her completely down.
“Morgan Miller, she didn’t get heavy minutes until Victoria went down,” Ackley said. “If she came out in the second half, I don’t remember. We didn’t sub a lot because we thought our flow was so good.
“Tanner scored the ball, Shay scored the ball,” Ackley said. “Cass (Cassidy Lovett) handled the ball. Everyone contributed. That’s what we talk about every day — be ready when your number is called.”
“I was very impressed with the way we came out,” Washington head coach Samantha Leach said. “On both ends there were a few jitters. This crowd was amazing. I just want to thank everyone for coming out and supporting both teams. The girls work so hard all season and it’s amazing to see the amount of support that was here tonight.
“We talked all week about how we had to come out fired up,” Leach said. “We could not afford to get off to a slow start. The last time we played them, our second quarter killed us. Tonight, we did a lot of self-destructing in the third quarter. We made a lot of mental mistakes and turnovers killed us. We just couldn’t buy a bucket. Congratulations to Miami Trace.
“I thought our effort in the first half was very good,” Leach said. “No matter what the score is, I know my girls are going to play hard. They are not going to quit. But, the third quarter defined the game for us tonight.”
The game was tied three times in the first quarter until Haithcock converted a free throw after a basket and foul with 1:11 to go to give Washington its first lead, 9-8.
The quarter ended following a bucket from Bryant, 10-9 in favor of Miami Trace.
Washington’s best quarter of the game was the second as they outscored Miami Trace, 11-4.
A 7-0 run with scoring from Woods, Haithcock and Conger gave the Lady Lions a 16-10 lead with five minutes remaining in the first half.
After two free throws by Conger, Hines scored to give Washington a 20-12 lead.
McDonald scored the final basket of the first half, sending the teams into the locker room with the Lady Lions on top, 20-14.
The turning point in the game was the third quarter, in which Miami Trace outscored Washington, 17-2.
Washington was 1 of 8 from the floor in the third quarter, along with six turnovers.
Miami Trace was in front, 31-22 after three quarters of play.
Washington could draw no closer than eight points in the fourth quarter as Miami Trace completed the undefeated FAC run with a 45-34 victory.
“The one thing that we haven’t had in six years is a gold basketball,” Ackley said. “We’ve been to a Final Four, we’ve won a District championship, we’ve done a lot of good things. But we’ve always stubbed our toe at least once in the league. This was big for us.
“Congratulations to both teams,” Ackley said. “Everyone competed and this atmosphere was awesome.”
“Last year, we won 11 games,” Leach said. “This year, we’ve finished the regular season with 19 wins. It just says a lot about our girls. I’m just really proud of them. They play hard all the time.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 10 4 17 14 — 45
W 9 11 2 12 — 34
MIAMI TRACE — Olivia Wolffe 3-1-7; Cassidy Lovett 2-0-4; Becca Ratliff 0-0-0; Shay McDonald 5 (1)-0-13; Tori Evans 0-0-0; Olivia Fliehman 0-0-0; Tanner Bryant 8-2-18; Gracee Stewart 0-0-0; Morgan Miller 0-3-3. TOTALS — 18 (1)-6-45. Free throw shooting: 6 of 12 for 50 percent. Three-point field goals: McDonald. Combined field goal shooting: 19 of 45 for 42 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 1 of 11 for 9 percent. Rebounds: 22 (9 offensive). Turnovers: 7. Assists: 13. Steals: 10. Fouls: 12.
WASHINGTON — Rayana Burns 1 (1)-0-5; Maddy Garrison 0-0-0; Bre Taylor 2-0-4; Kassidy Hines 3-0-6; Tabby Woods 1-0-2; Halli Wall 0-0-0; Shawna Conger 0 (1)-2-5; Maddy Jenkins 0-0-0; Hannah Haithcock 4-4-12. TOTALS — 11 (2)-6-34. Free throw shooting: 6 of 6. Three-point field goals: Burns, Conger. Combined field goal shooting: 13 of 42 for 31 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 2 of 7 for 29 percent. Offensive rebounds: 9. Turnovers: 18.
Washington wins j-v game over Miami Trace
In the j-v game Saturday, Washington edged Miami Trace, 21-20.
Abby Tackage led the Lady Lions with six points.
Taylor Brown and Cloe Copas both scored five points, Emily Semler and Corynn Chrisman both had two points and Mallory Hicks scored one.
For Miami Trace, Gracee Stewart led with eight points, including hitting one three-point field goal.
Addy Little and Mararah Bloom both had four points, Krissy Ison scored two and Grace Bapst and Aubrey McCoy each scored one point.
Miami Trace finishes the season 12-7 overall, 6-3 in the FAC.
Washington finishes 8-12 overall, 5-4 in the FAC.