MaxPreps Special: Fairmont title caps OHSAA Girls Basketball Finals

Image

Maxpreps: America’s Source for HS Sports

Final seconds. State title on the line. Free throws. Enter Makayla “Ice” Waterman. The nickname is new. “Chelsea (Welch)
walked up to me before I shot those free throws and said ‘Just make
one,'” Waterman said. “That was the only thing in my head. One.” Swish.


_______________________________________________________________________

Kettering Fairmont beats Twinsburg in historic Ohio girls basketball final

Final seconds. State title on the line. Free throws.

Enter Makayla “Ice” Waterman. The nickname is new.

Chelsea (Welch)
walked up to me before I shot those free throws and said ‘Just make
one,'” Waterman said. “That was the only thing in my head. One.”

Swish.

Some games don’t survive hype. Saturday’s Fairmont (Kettering) vs. Twinsburg tilt did.

The
first two teams to meet in three straight state finals in Ohio history,
the Firebirds and Tigers staged a big school classic between nationally
ranked teams for the Division I state title at Ohio State’s
Schottenstein Center.

Fairmont, ranked No. 5 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, outlasted No. 12 Twinsburg 52-48.

Waterman’s free throw, with 6 seconds left, secured the victory by pushing the advantage to four.

“I
just told her to focus,” Welch said. “I told her it was just a free
throw that we do in practice. She needed to believe in herself. I’m so
proud of her. I’m so proud of my whole team.”

Welch should be. Twinsburg had won three straight against the Firebirds (27-1), including the two previous state finals.

It was Fairmont’s fourth-straight state tournament appearance. And first state title.

“Sometimes
things take a long time to come true,” Firebirds coach Tim Cogan said,
fighting back emotions. “I’m proud of our kids, our program. That’s a
great team we just played. Our kids kept their composure through some
difficult times and situations. I’m just happy as heck to bring this
championship back to Kettering.”

Twinsburg has nothing to hang its head about. Led by Ohio Ms. Basketball, Ashley Morrissette, the Tigers (29-1) fell four points shy of a perfect season.

“Our
kids knew whose hands the ball needed to be in,” Twinsburg coach Julie
Solis said. “That last effort by Ashley Morrissette was amazing. She
deserved that award. Her ultimate goal was to finish the season 30-0, so
I feel bad for her and the other seniors. These kids have nothing to be
ashamed of.”

Down
50-42 with 51 seconds left, Twinsburg countered a Fairmont free throw
with two Morrissette 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 51-48. With 15
seconds left, Fairmont turned the ball over and the Tigers had life. On
the inbounds, Fairmont’s Alona Skipper deflected the ball off a Twinsburg player. On the ensuing inbounds, Waterman was fouled.

“I
had to do something to get the ball back,” said Skipper, who added two
first-quarter 3s and four fourth-quarter free throws. “(Morrissette) was
feeling it and making all her shots and I knew we had to get the ball
out of her hands. I saw they were running out of time so I went up and
pressured. It was just a lucky reach. I’m glad I made it.”

Morrissette finished with a game-high 27 points and closed her career as
No. 2 all-time scorer in state tournament history. In six state games, the
Purdue recruit racked up 110 points.

Waterman, a junior, finished with a season-high 24 points. Classmate Kathryn Westbeld added a double-double (13 points and 12 rebounds). Both are highly ranked national prospects.

“Their big girls are both high-level division I players,” Solis said. “We didn’t do a good job defending them.”

Waterman made her first 11 free throws.

“I was making them all game and I really had confidence,” Waterman said. “That last one?”

She missed.

No one cared.

_______________________________________________________________________

Click Here to Read the Complete MaxPreps Report

_______________________________________________________________________

MaxPreps: Hathaway Brown, Anna and Fort Loramie add hardware in Ohio…

_______________________________________________________________________

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *