The girls of St. Mary’s and coach Kevin White were called one by one from their row on the court to come over to athletic director Patrick Welsh near the scorer’s table and receive a really nice reward for winning first prize last season — a championship ring.
“It meant a lot because we put in a lot of hard work last year,” senior guard Taylor Barbot said.
After Tuesday night’s pregame ceremony to commemorate their CHSAA Class AA state basketball title, the Gaels went out flashed some signs why they are a threat to repeat, beating St. Anthony’s, 60-33, to move to 11-4 overall and 5-0 in the NSCHSAA.
Almost all of last season’s core has returned. So indeed what’s the chance of this group collecting another ring?
“I think it’s very high,” said senior guard Taryn Barbot, Taylor’s fraternal twin and fellow Charleston commit. “I think we’ll get another one.”
There was another ceremony less than 2 1⁄2 minutes into the game. Taryn came in two points shy of 1,000 for her varsity run. She hit a three from the head of the key to push past the milestone. The game was briefly stopped. She was given flowers, then posed for photos with a couple of signs to mark the occasion.
“It meant a lot to me,” she said, “because that was one of my goals this year, to get a thousand points.”
Taryn finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Taylor delivered seven points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Tara Murray led St. Mary’s with 12 points. Kayla Solomon contributed 11 points and nine rebounds. Cayla Williams had 10 points and seven rebounds.
“They’re very unselfish and they play well together,” White said. “They always make the extra pass . . . They’re a good group of young ladies.”
White wasn’t thrilled that they missed 27 layups. But he liked the defensive effort.
The Gaels forced 18 turnovers in the first half. They jumped out to a 19-7 advantage after one quarter and led 32-11 at the intermission.
Solomon scored nine points in the third. The margin was 35, at 54-19, heading for the fourth.
Shani Clark scored nine of her team-high 11 in the fourth for the Friars (8-4, 3-2).
“We’re good,” coach Hugh Flaherty said. “I mean, they’re the best team in the league. No doubt about it. After that, it’s everybody else for themselves.”