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Charise Wilson paces seniors as St. Anthony's takes state CHSAA crown

The St. Anthony's Friars pose for a photo

The St. Anthony's Friars pose for a photo after defeating Nazareth for the CHSAA state Class AA championship at Holy Trinity in Hicksville on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Credit: Steven Ryan

We made it!

That's what the five St. Anthony's seniors -- Chastity Taylor, Charise Wilson, Tyla Parham, Kalifa Davy and Coulter Bowlen -- screamed as they posed for a team photo with their state championship plaque.

They made it and they upset a New York City powerhouse to get there.

Those five, who have been playing together since sophomore year, accounted for all but one of the Friars' points in a 60-47 win over Nazareth in the Class AA CHSAA state championship game Saturday night at Holy Trinity High School.

"We came and showed how good of a team we are," Davy said. "We had losses this season we shouldn't have had and people doubted us. They felt we wouldn't make it this far. But we made it."

The Friars (25-4) went on a 10-0 run late in the third quarter, capped by Wilson's step-back three from the right wing, then her steal and coast-to-coast layup for a 43-34 lead with 1:59 remaining in the quarter.

Wilson had 18 points and seven rebounds, including a straightaway three that opened the Friars' largest lead at 56-41 with 2:32 to go.

"We screamed we made it because most people never believed in us," Wilson said. "But we don't need people to believe in us. We believed in each other and here we are."

Taylor had 17 points and five rebounds and Davy 13 points, including a baseline drive plus the foul at the end of the first that put the Friars in front 17-14.

"Us five have been together for so many years," said Bowlen, who had four points. "To finish like this together is amazing."

Parham, who had seven points and three assists, grabbed a loose ball and flicked up a runner with 40 seconds remaining in the third to cap St. Anthony's key run and send it into the fourth with a 47-36 lead.

For Parham, the victory had added meaning because her coach is also her father.

"He's done me a favor by coaching us," she said of Ken Parham. "He watches film every single day at home. So this is my gift to him before going to college."

The Friars' zone defense packed the inside and dared South Carolina-bound guard Bianca Cuevas to shoot from the outside. Cuevas, who scored 50 points Friday night against Christ the King in the semifinals, was held to 16 points and shot 4-for-16 on threes.

"Those five seniors were a part of losing to Nazareth a couple years back," Ken Parham said. "We had the game won and we made some mistakes. Tonight, we finished what we almost had then."

Added Taylor: "It's going to be really hard leaving them, especially since we've been playing for so long. But it's nice to leave as a state champion."

They don't leave just yet. The Friars advance to the Federation tournament March 21 at Times Union Center in Albany.

"We had one team and one dream," Wilson said. "We accomplished it. We made it!"

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