Hathaway Brown makes it three in a row; Blazers edge Carroll 54-51

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HB’s nine losses are the most ever for a girls basketball state champion. (Gary Housteau)

Kelley Austria doesn’t say much. And the Carroll High
School junior doesn’t have to. Her game speaks for her and Saturday it
was screaming. Unfortunately the collective yell from Shaker Heights
Hathaway Brown was a little bit louder.


COLUMBUS – Kelley Austria doesn’t say much. And the Carroll High
School junior doesn’t have to. Her game speaks for her and Saturday it
was screaming. Unfortunately the collective yell from Shaker Heights
Hathaway Brown was a little bit louder.

The Blazers, playing in their fifth straight Division II state
championship, won their third straight state title with a 54-51 win
over Carroll before a crowd of 3,501 at Ohio State’s Schottenstein
Center.

Austria led all scorers with 26 points and had 45 in two state tournament games.

The contest was brutal.

“That was a war,” Hathaway Brown head coach Paul Barlow said. “That
was a flat-out war. This was by far the most physical of the three
championship games we’ve won.”

HB’s celebration was delayed a couple minutes as the referees sorted
out a situation similar to the one that transpired two weeks ago in the
Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament when a St. John’s player
celebrated prematurely and ran out of bounds with time still on the
clock. Hathaway Brown’s Beth Brzozowski did the same thing only this
time the officials made the call. Carroll was awarded the ball at half
court with one second left but failed to get off a shot.

“I don’t think you guys were out there but Brzozowski did a down and
back for stepping out of bounds,” Barlow joked. “When we got that
rebound and broke free of the trap (Carroll) was just kind of walking
to their bench and (Brzozowski) just kind of ran up and acted the fool.
Then it became the longest one second for us.”

All jokes aside, there wasn’t much for HB to laugh about at the beginning.

The Patriots (24-4) led 17-9 after the first quarter but HB (18-9)
used a 20-9 second quarter to take a 29-26 lead at the break. Carroll
cut the lead to 40-38 after three quarters and looked to regain
momentum when HB standout sophomore Vanessa Smith fouled out with 6:33
to play and the Blazers clinging to a 44-40 lead.

Too many wasted possessions (ones where Austria didn’t get a shot)
down the stretch, though, and enough timely buckets by HB spelled doom
for Carroll.

Hathaway Brown put four players in double figures and was led by
senior Molly Crosby’s 13 points. Smith and senior Tanisha Lawler each
added 12 and sophomore Nia Marshall had 10 (and 10 rebounds).

Collectively Carroll hit just 1-of-9 3-pointers and was 10-of-18 from the free throw line.

“I just told the team in the locker room that at some point during
the season free throws usually cost you a game,” Berry said. “That game
just happened to be our 28th.”

Austria was the only Carroll player in double-digits.

“It took (Hathaway Brown) a while to get here and then when they did
it took them a while to win it.,” Berry said. “We’re on the right path.
Next year we bring back our top three scorers. I think we’re an up and
coming team.”

Said Barlow: “Getting down here is such an accomplishment but trying to take that next step and win that first one is so hard.”

*Player of the Game: Kelley Austria, Jr., Carroll –
Despite the loss, Austria was clearly the best player on the court in
the D-II final. In addition to her game-high 26 points, Austria, a
Dayton commit, had five steals, four rebounds and two assists. She also
hit 10-of-16 shots.

“Kelley is our go-to player,” Carroll senior Molly McGloin said. “I
told her to take (the ball) every time. She’s unstoppable. We knew we
had to get it to her if we wanted to win.”

*Stat of the Game: HB’s nine losses are the most ever for a state champion. Twice previously teams with six losses have captured titles.


Division II JJHuddle All-Tournament Team

Kelley Austria, Jr., Carroll (Player of the Tournament)
Nia Marshall, So., Hathaway Brown
Vanessa Smith, So., Hathaway Brown
Molly Ritz, Sr., Cambridge
Amanda Cahill, Fr., Clyde

JJHuddle All-Ohio Teams (Coming the first week of April)

The first annual JJHuddle All-Ohio Girls Basketball Teams will be
announced the week of April 4. The teams will feature five-player
first, second and third teams and will have a 10-player honorable
mention. There will also be an “Also Receiving Votes” section. The
teams will encompass all divisions and will be selected by a panel that
includes the best in the business: Tom Jenkins (Ohio Girls Basketball
Report), Mark Lewis (ESPN HoopGurlz) and Dan Olson (Collegiate Girls
Basketball Report). A points system will be used and a player’s
collective career will be taken into consideration (i.e. high school
and club seasons).

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