In a showdown of ESPN nationally ranked girls’ basketball teams, No. 13 Westridge upset No. 1 Hamilton Heights, 63-59, Saturday in the Title IX championship game in Washington, D.C.
It was the second straight year the same two teams played for the Bob Headen Bracket championship. The Golden Knights (15-1), out of Kernersville, North Carolina, won last year’s matchup as well.
It was the Golden Knights’ long-range assault that softened the Lady Hawks’ defense throughout the title contest.
Westridge outscored Hamilton Heights, 33-9, from 3-point distance. Jordan Tuff, who had 22 points, hit six of her team’s 11 3s and Kirsten Deans made two 3s among her game-high 28 points.
The Lady Hawks made three 3s, two by Elizabeth Balogun.
Hamilton Heights (13-2) jumped out to an 18-6 lead and stretched the margin to 27-10 late in the second quarter and appeared on a mission to reverse last year’s outcome at the DC Armory.
The Golden Knights closed the first half with an 11-4 run, including a desperation 3-pointer from half-court at the buzzer that cut the Lady Hawks lead to 31-21 at the break.
Westridge got another buzzer-beater shot to end the third quarter and tie the game at 40-all. At the same time, the Lady Hawks’ Jazmine Massengill and Elizabeth Balogun were battling foul trouble. Balogun eventually fouled out with five minutes left in the game.
The game was tied at 61-61, but Hamilton Heights was forced to foul and Westridge came through at the foul line over the final 80 seconds.
Kamilla Cardosa paced the Lady Hawks with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Massengill had 15 points and eight assists. Balogun finished with 11 points.
Hamilton Heights (59) – Jazmine Massengill 15, Elizabeth Balogun 11, R. Balogun, Hunt 5, Rodrigues, Kamilla Cardosa 20, Martinez 8.
Westridge (63) – Bailey 5, Jordan Tuff 22, Richardson 3, Kirsten Deans 28, McNear 3, Blanks, Moore 2, Richmond.
3-Point Goals – Hamilton Heights 3 (E. Balogun 2, Massengill 1), Westridge 11 (Tuff 6, Deans 2, Bailey 1, Richardson 1, McNear 1).
(Contact Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @larryfleming44)