COLUMBIA — Briefly, Terita Brown and the McCormick girls controlled the Class A state championship game against Hemingway on Saturday at Colonial Life Arena.
Brown sparked the Chiefs on a 5-2 spurt to start the game, but a quick 8-0 run gave Hemingway control for good.
The Tigers proceeded to rout McCormick 61-38 to win the state championship.
“It’s real tough, but we’re still, hey, we’re still happy we made it this far,” Brown said after accepting the runner-up trophy. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to get here, so we’ll be all right.”
After the Chiefs’ quick start, Hemingway settled into its 2-3 zone and shut down McCormick’s offense. The Tigers gave up only four points after allowing five in the opening two minutes, taking a 14-9 lead after one.
McCormick could not solve the zone in the second quarter, either. The Chiefs scored six points in the second quarter, while Hemingway added 13 to lead 27-15 at the break.
“They came in with a desire to win, we came in with a desire to win, but they outshot us,” McCormick coach Gena Wideman said. “They had some good shots, their shots were falling, ours were not.”
Behind Iresha Cooper and De’Ja Woodberry, Hemingway methodically pulled away in the third quarter.
Woodberry scored four points and grabbed three steals in the quarter, while Cooper scored seven points as Hemingway stretched the lead to 20.
McCormick never threatened in the fourth, and Hemingway cruised to the win.
Cooper and Woodberry finished with 15 points each.
“There was some things they wanted to accomplish (this year),” Hemingway coach Chakaris Thomas said. “They wanted that jacket, they wanted that ring, so they did everything to get it.”
Brown, the lone senior on the McCormick squad, scored 23 points.
“I’m proud of the Lady Chiefs and myself, and my coaches,” she said.
Wideman echoed Brown’s sentiments. No matter how the game ended, Wideman said her team had every reason to be proud after becoming the first McCormick girls team to reach the state finals since 1961.
“I’m am extremely proud of our season,” Wideman said. “I’m not going to take anything away from them. I don’t care how much I look at the game, how much I look at how many errors we committed, the bottom line is that they worked hard and deserve every ounce of praise they get.”