PM Girls Win First State Championship

By: 
Jeremy S. Franklin

Thursday, March 9 -- The Parry McCluer High School girls basketball team claimed the program's first-ever state basketball championship with a 34-29 victory over George Wythe in the VHSL Group 1A title game in Richmond.

The Fighting Blues hit 5-of-6 free throws in the final 33 seconds to secure the win, sparking a massive celebration by PM -- and its legion of blue-clad fans -- at Virginia Commonwealth's Siegel Center.

The Maroons' Kaitlyn Poole had tied the game at 29-29 on a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining. But Hannah Craft was fouled on the ensuing PM possession, going on to hit both free throws to put the Blues ahead 31-29 with 32.8 seconds to play.

PM got another stop against GW, and Makenna Smith then hit the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 10.9 seconds left to make it 32-29. After Poole missed another potential game-tying triple, Peyton Mohler iced the victory by nailing two foul shots with just 0.6 seconds to go.

Mohler led the Blues (29-2) with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Madison Dunlap tallied eight points and six boards, while Hailey Huffman notched seven points.

Poole, Tianna Crockett and Elizabeth Jones scored nine points apiece for the Maroons (26-4), who had defeated PM 41-35 in the 1A West Regional final in Bristol on Feb. 25.

The state championship rematch turned into another tight defensive battle. PM held the Maroons to a 26 percent (12-of-46) clip from the floor, forced 12 turnovers, and outrebounded GW 35-27. The Blues finished just 9-of-35 (26 percent) from the field, but knocked down 15-of-16 free throws -- including the clutch shots in the final minute.

For a full story and additional photos from PM's state championship victory, check out our March 15 print edition.

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