By RENALDO DORSETT
Add another milestone in the historic season for the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins girls basketball programme.
The Mystic Marlins became the first national champions with a 43-39 win over the CR Walker Knights at the St George’s Gymnasium last night.
Doris Johnson got 16 points from tournament MVP Antonique Young.
“I think we developed the right foundation early on, even before the season started and this team just grew together,” she said.
“We had a hard-fought game against CR Walker and a lot of the games in this tournament were hard so we felt we earned this. This is our fourth championship of the year, we know what we wanted and we went after it. We made history.”
Thyrell Thompson added nine points and eight rebounds while Brriontae Riley scored six and grabbed a game high 17 rebounds.
Terell Rolle led the Knights with a double double – 10 points and 15 rebounds – while Luicanna Miller added eight points and eight rebounds.
Mystic Marlins head coach Kevon Spence said it was a fitting way to end the year for his team that has elevated their game in each competition.
“We wanted to prove that there is no senior girls basketball programme in the country that is better than Doris Johnson and I think we did that,” he said.
“This team has played together from the beginning of the season and they continued to get better and better as the season went on.”
After establishing a big 11-point lead early in the first quarter, the Mystic Marlins nearly squandered the lead in the second. They led 15-4 at the end of the first and took a 21-19 lead headed into the half.
The Knights trimmed the defecit to just three in the third before Young’s floater gave her team a 25-20 lead with 4:50 left to play in the quarter. The Mytic Marlins would eventually take a 33-27 lead into the fourth quarter before the Knights made a final run.
The Knights came within one (37-36) before a Thompson layup gave the Mystic Marlins breathing room and a three-point lead. CR Walker missed several opportunities to score and Young made a pair at the line to give Doris Johnson a five-point lead (41-36) to put the game away.
The Mystic Marlins took the advantage in the latest chapter in this season’s rivalry. They completed a two-game sweep over the Knights in GSSSA Championship series and also won the Geneva Rutherford postseason tournament.
It was the second time the teams met in the National Championship tournament after the Mystic Marlins won 48-40 on day three.