Ursuline’s Maggie Connolly calmly sank all six free throws in the final 30 seconds as the Raiders defeated Sanford 39-34 to claim their second straight DIAA Girls Basketball State Championship.
Ursuline seemed to be in control as they extended their lead to a game-high 11 points on a Connolly driving layup with 30 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Sanford’s Chrishyanah Alston sparked a furious comeback however, getting two quick layups, and then a three-point play by Kendra Warren to get Sanford within 30-24 with 6:47 left to play.
(VIDEO: Sean Greene has your highlights of Ursuline’s Championship) Two more Alston baskets sandwiched another Connolly layup to slither the lead down to three after a free throw. Sanford’s Lauren Park and Ursuline’s Alisha Lewis traded free throws, and a Taylor Samuels jumper in the paint made the game 33-32 with 1:11 left. Ursuline would struggle mightily to inbound the basketball, having to burn three seperate timeouts before finally getting Connolly to the line with 28 seconds left to go for a 1-and-1 bonus situation. Connolly connected on both free throws, which proved important when Alston again drove around the defense for a layup to bring the game to 35-34.
(VIDEO: Kara Pokropski has Maggie Connolly and Coach John Noonan after the victory)
Ursuline’s sophomore then extended the lead to three with a pair of free throws, but Sanford would still get another chance.
A missed three-pointer bounced off the rim, and Connolly hit two more free throws to set up the final score.
Connolly’s eight points in the 4th quarter finished off a 12-point evening, where she also contributed two steals.
Olivia Mason came off the bench for nine points and eight rebounds for Ursuline.
Alston scored 11 of her 15 points in the final quarter for Sanford, but it wasn’t enough for the Warriors.