Chelsea holds on to win second straight girls basketball district title
Terry Jacoby for AnnArbor.com
Jackson Lumen Christi coach Mike Wilson kept telling his players they had to play big against the bigger Chelsea Bulldogs. But Chelsea’s senior post players Bailey Darwin and Riley Singleton were the ones who came up biggest in a thrilling 44-42 win Friday in the Class B district title game at Onsted High School.
The Titans and Bulldogs lived up to their nicknames in a wild finish that wasn’t over until the final horn blew.
With a minute, 14 seconds to play in the game, Lumen Christi’s Olivia Lathers banked home a 3-pointer from the wing to tie the game up at 42-42. It was the first tie since the opening tip and brought the Titans back from a double-digit deficit.
Chelsea’s Grace Sauers knocked in two free throws at the other end to give the lead back to the Bulldogs.
After a steal, Lumen Christi had a chance to tie the game but a shot inside just rolled off the rim. It wasn’t their last shot, however.
The Titans fouled Sauers with 14 seconds to play, sending the senior to the free-throw line. She missed the first attempt and Lumen Christi chased down the rebound. Lumen Christi’s Angela Hubert got the ball and raced up the floor. The junior pulled up and fired a three-pointer but it was off line and the clock finally went off as the Bulldogs celebrated a district title.
“We were in shock at the end that it was this close,” said Singleton, who finished with a team-high 18 points. “They had a couple shots at the end of the game that went in and out and we were just in shock that we still managed to pull off the win after not playing well. It’s just a great feeling to win districts.”
It is Chelsea’s second straight district title.
“We knew they had two really good players we had to stop, but we knew if we played like a team we could do it,” said Darwin who had 15 points, including 11 in the first half. “Our strength is our post players so we focused on getting the ball underneath and we did that (Friday).”
But the Bulldogs are not satisfied - not in winning a district or in how they played Friday night.
“We played really well on Monday and Wednesday, a lot better than we played (Friday),” Singleton said. “We need to limit our turnovers and get the ball into the post. Just slow it down and get the shots we want.”
Hubert led Lumen Christi with 20 points while Rachel McDonald had nine.
Darwin and Singleton set the tone in the first half. The two post players had a combined 20 points to lead Chelsea to a 24-13 lead at the break. Back-to-back rebound baskets from the two seniors gave Chelsea an 18-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Darwin got the Bulldogs rolling early in the game, scoring the first five points, including a triple from the wing to give Chelsea a 5-0 lead. Lumen Christi answered with a 5-0 run of its own to tie the score at 5-5.
Chelsea then went on a 7-0 run to take a 12-5 lead with 46 seconds to play in the quarter.
After two free throws from Lumen Christi, Chelsea ended the quarter with a basket by Kerri Benjamin and a 14-7 lead.