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WARRIORS PULL OFF IIAAG CROWN

IIAAG Girls Basketball Championship

By Patrick Lujan

The St. Paul Warriors defended their IIAAG Girls Basketball League crown by doing just enough to pull away late against their arch-rival Academy Cougars 43-35 Tuesday night at the UOG Calvo Field House.

The Warriors lost both times to the Cougars during the regular season, so it was sweet revenge.

“Losing to them twice during the regular season made us even more hyped for tonight,” said Warriors forward Gabby Hahn, who led St. Paul with a game-high 16 points.

Hahn came up huge just when her team needed it, putting in an offensive rebound to put the Warriors ahead 36-32 late in the game and then sinking a pair of free throws to seal things as she emphatically jumped for joy at the free throw line upon making them.

It was the sixth straight year the two teams met in the IIAAG title game and this is the second straight championship for head coach Derin Stinnett, who now will focus on the upcoming Far East Tournament. Upon returning after the new year, the Warriors will take on the ISA champions in the GSPN Champion vs. Champion Game scheduled for the first week of January.

“I’m extremely proud of my team, we struggled with Academy losing twice in the regular season, but with the adjustments we made and a lot of practice and determination we were able to finally get the win over the Cougars and defend our title,” Coach Stinnett said. “We have a young team with no seniors, I look forward to what’s ahead for the girls and us coaches.”

The following is the flow of the game that was provided as live updates…

1st Quarter

Tip Off Time: 7:01 pm (Referees Spencer Steffy, Robert Tamondong, Mike Rosario)

St. Paul out to a 7-2 lead on a Sazzy Quintanilla 3-point play.

Fast tempo on both sides. Halfway through the quarter it’s 9-2 Warriors.

Gabby Hahn layup gives St. Paul an 11-2 lead.

Two minute mark, Academy misses numerous layups and shots under the basket. Still 11-2.

A couple of steals and missed fastbreak layups by the Cougars. Tori Rapadas hits two free throws. 11-5.

Maddy Ada hits a three for Academy to shrink the lead 11-8. Brings life to the Cougar crowd. Quarter ends with a missed 3 pointer by Academy. 12-8 Warriors

2nd Quarter

Same fast pace as the first quarter. Cougars Maria Paulino with a two-handed block on a layup attempt.

Hahn with an offensive put back, but Paulino comes right back with a steal and a coast-to-coast layup and a 3-point play. 14-11

Rapadas for 3 from the top to tie the game 14-14!

Hahn and Paulino trade baskets under 5 minutes to go 16-16. Ryanna Ngirchomlei layup puts the Warriors back in front. Hahn with another big bucket for St. Paul, 20-16.

Nearing the 2 minute mark, 20-18 after a Rapadas layup. Ada drops 1 of 2. 20-19 St. Paul 1:30 left

17.3 seconds, Rapadas 1 of 2 frees. 20-20

Ngirchomlei with the offensive put back at the buzzer. 22-20 Warriors at halftime.

3rd Quarter

Paulino scores underneath on Academy’s first possession to tie the game once again. Fastbreak open layup from Rapadas to Ada gives Academy its first lead of the game 24-22. St. Paul calls timeout.

Almost halfway through the third and Warriors still scoreless. Hahn with a long jumper finally puts St. Paul back on the board, but Ada answers with a 3. 27-24 Academy 3:20 left

Warriors Bella Brub layup cuts the lead to 28-26.

1:37 mark, Quintanilla shooting 3 free throws and makes 2 of them to tie it once again.

Sassy Quintanilla with another Warriors buzzer beater layup. 30-28 Warriors

4th Quarter

Hahn with a tough shot from the left baseline to extend the St. Paul lead.

Kaeden Canovas drops a three-pointer for Academy to cut the deficit to 32-31.

Ada hits a free throw and we’re tied at 32-32. Timeout St. Paul 4:54 left

Numerous misses on both ends before Ngirchomlei’s layup puts the Warriors back in front with the 2-minute mark approaching.

Hahn with a huge offensive put back with under two minutes for a 36-32 lead. Timeout Academy.

Cougars now forced to foul with under a minute to go. Rapadas fouls out with 50.8 seconds left.

Hahn drops two free throws for 38-32 lead. Warriors can taste victory.

Ngirchomlei with two more free throws for a 40-33 lead. 35 seconds left.

ST. PAUL ARE CHAMPIONS 43-35!

Warriors: Hahn 16 pts, Ngirchomlei 12 pts, Quintanilla 11 pts

Cougars: Paulino 14 pts, Ada 10 pts, Rapadas 8 pts

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