Pickerington now has company.
With a 63-48 win over Oak Hill in the Division III championship, Regina joins the traditional Central Ohio power as the only girls programs to claim six state basketball titles.
COLUMBUS – Pickerington now has company.
With a 63-48 win over Oak Hill in the Division III championship at the 34th Annual Girls State Basketball Tournament Saturday at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center, Regina joins the traditional Central Ohio power as the only girls programs to claim six state basketball titles.
The Royals, which have never lost a state championship game, won a record four straight titles from 2000-2003 and another in 2005.
They have made seven state tournament appearances with the only loss coming to Versailles last year in the semifinals.
Regina is the only team this season to go undefeated in winning a title.
“I don’t really look back but there is no question this team had all the elements,” Regina head coach Pat Diulus said. “It is very difficult to defeat a team that has the weapons and has the mindset to use those weapons. That is the kind of group we had all year long.”
Regina kept Oak Hill to its second lowest scoring output of the season holding the Lady Oaks to 37 percent shooting from the field.
Regina shot 50 percent from the floor but Oak Hill disrupted the Royals inside game.
“I thought Oak Hill did a great job all day,” said the 11-year veteran coach Diulus. “Give a lot of credit to Oak Hill. They played an outstanding game and had a good strategy offensively and defensively.”
With Regina having trouble on offense in the paint, the Royals moved their game to the perimeter.
Enter Evansville recruit Amber Boyd.
The senior guard set a Division III tournament record for three-pointers going 6-of-8 from beyond the arc and finished the game with 23 points and three rebounds.
“I just kept shooting the ball and it didn’t seem like I could miss,” said Boyd. “It is a great feeling. I waited all year to have this moment and it was the perfect game to have that moment.”
Added Diulus: “What was open today was the outside shot and Amber was able to handle that the right way. It was a career performance for her and I am not surprised. She has been a great shooter for us for the last two years.”
Toledo recruit Riley McCormick netted 12 points in the post and Old Dominion signee Jackie Cook added nine points in the paint.
Regina (27-0) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first quarter off the tip. Oak Hill (25-2) pulled within three points midway through the opening frame but that is as close as the Lady Oaks would get in the game.
Regina took a 37-21 lead into halftime after a Boyd three-pointer from near half court at the buzzer.
“Do you want to talk about how that play was designed right before the half?,” Diulus joked to Boyd after the game.
Oak Hill needed the break to catch its breath.
“We just knew Regina was just such an athletic team,” Oak Hill head coach Doug Hale said. “We got behind in the first half and at halftime I challenged the kids and the team to try and cut the lead down to under ten.”
Oak Hill indeed made it interesting in the fourth quarter opening up the final period with an 8-0 run to narrow Regina’s lead to 55-46.
“I felt at that time we had things rolling,” Hale said. “Our kids were back into the game but we just couldn’t convert.”
Royals junior guard Tay’ler Mingo sunk 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
She finished with eight points.
The Lady Oaks were paced by freshman forward Lakin Caudill with 16 points and seven rebounds while junior post Rebecca Puckett added 15 points and eight rebounds.
“Regina is an overall good team and it is not a team we are ashamed to lose to,” Puckett said. “But it is still a hard loss to take.”
For Oak Hill it was the second title game appearance in as many trips to the state tournament.
“I am super proud of our kids from Oak Hill,” Hale said. “They battled and got back into the game when they could have just rolled over and continued to get blown out.
“They really fought hard and I am super-proud of them.”