When each member of the St. Anthony’s girls basketball team puts on her black-and-gold uniform, they are making a sacrifice. It is simply the nature of playing on such a talent-ridden team. Senior guard Taylor Goode knows this.
“Coming to St. Anthony’s, everyone definitely made a sacrifice with their points and some of their stats,” Goode said. “But that doesn’t even worry us, because we all have the same main goal.”
At St. John Villa Academy (Staten Island) on Saturday, Goode and her St. Anthony’s teammates saw the sacrifice pay off. In a gritty contest in which the Friars stepped to the free-throw line 39 times, they defeated Monsignor Scanlan, 57-43, in the CHSAA Class AA championship to claim the team’s second state title in three years.
“This one feels a little bit better,” senior Allyson Murphy said, “because this year, especially as seniors, we really got our time to shine.”
St. Anthony’s has five seniors committed to Division I college programs, all of whom have been comfortable sharing the spotlight.
Goode (who is committed to Central Connecticut State University) had 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. Jayla Jones-Pack (University of Central Florida) had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Murphy (Sacred Heart University) had 11 points. Etalyia Vogt (Townsend University) had seven points and four rebounds, and Sarah Edmond (Howard University) had six points and four rebounds.
Though the Friars led 27-21 at halftime, they were not content.
“We knew what we were capable of,” Jones-Pack said. “Coach told us we needed to pick it up, and that’s exactly what we did.”
With 6:30 left in the third quarter, Jones-Pack pulled down two offensive rebounds before hitting a layup to make it 33-21.
With 7:03 remaining, Murphy stepped to the line having made all six of her previous free-throw attempts. Her seventh attempt left her hands awkwardly, and she immediately yelled “off!” But even that shot went in, giving the Friars their largest lead of the game at 43-28. That’s how “on” she was.
“Down the stretch, a free throw made or a free throw missed could make or break a game,” Murphy said. “If our shots weren’t falling, we figured let’s drive and make some contact.”
When the final buzzer sounded, the usually resevered Friars erupted. They celebrated at center court before sharing hugs and taking photos with each other.
“It felt great,” Goode said, “especially because we all fought for the same goal together, and we all played for each other.”
St. Mary’s falls. In the CHSAA Class A final, St. Mary’s fell to Sacred Heart (Buffalo), 61-53.