With his team down eight after missing countless opportunities from point-blank range in its District 5-A championship game against Silverdale Baptist, Arts & Sciences girls' coach Lee Ziegler started to question the Lady Patriots' chances to win. He found out they were more resilient than even he realized.
CSAS outscored the Lady Seahawks 13-5 in the final 3:08 of the fourth quarter, forcing overtime, and went on to claim its fourth consecutive district championship with a 56-51 victory Saturday.
The boys' championship went to Grace Academy, which defeated CSAS 39-28 behind 19 points and 11 rebounds from Corey Nelson and a stout defensive effort. It was the Golden Eagles' seventh win in a row.
Ziegler admitted a slight bit of frustration after watching eight missed shot attempts on one possession, which ended with a transition layup by Silverdale's Mariah Massengill. CSAS outrebounded Silverdale 56-29, with 31 offensive rebounds.
"I thought, 'What do you do?' We were playing volleyball and missing shots we've got to hit," he said. "Finally in that final three minutes, we were able to convert some shots."
The Lady Patriots also picked up in their full-court pressure defense, called "30." The press caused some turnovers, which led to some opportunities as well.
"We just needed one shot to get our confidence," Ziegler said. "We got the turnovers we needed, but after we hit a couple shots, the girls felt they were back in it."
A putback by Brooke Mitchell gave CSAS the lead for good in overtime. Silverdale had a couple of opportunities, but Abbie Alosi missed two free throws, then Sloane Woodard missed a 3-pointer.
Most valuable player Brianna Wesley had 19 points to lead the Lady Patriots (12-10). Massengill finished with 24 for Silverdale.
In the boys' game, a 3-pointer by Nelson put the Golden Eagles up 17-16. He had all but three of the first-half points, but only five in the second half as his teammates picked up the slack.
"We changed to a full-court man defense," said Grace coach Jon Mattheiss, who is celebrating his birthday today. "We've played CSAS so many times that there's just a familiarity. We can't run new stuff, so it comes down to who's going to execute? Who will make the fewest mistakes?
"We changed the tempo and got into a rhythm and that helped us."
Frank Brogden had eight points to lead CSAS (9-15).