Number three for the Irish — St. Joseph won its third straight Class A state championship Saturday, knocking off the top seed St. Mary’s 56-49.
St. Joseph didn’t lead for the entire opening quarter until just before the buzzer as a two point bucket put the Irish up 10-8 heading into game’s second stanza.
The Irish, however, took control in the second quarter behind freshman Mychal Johnson who added 13 early Irish points to jump her team’s lead out to 20-11 with about four minutes to go until the break. A Griffin Dempsey three just a couple of minutes later jumped the Irish lead out to 12, 27-15. At the end of the first half, it was St. Joseph on top 28-17.
St. Mary’s started the first minute of the second half, meanwhile, with a 7-0 run to quickly close the gap down to 28-24. The Irish steadied their four point lead throughout the rest of the quarter and held a 38-34 advantage heading into the fourth. St. Joseph then quickly scored six straight and jumped out to a 44-34 lead just a couple of minutes into the final stanza.
The Irish, however, closed the gap back down to just three, 46-43, in the final few minutes of the contest. With 59.5 seconds to go, a St. Mary’s bucket from freshman Kendra Walker closed the gap to just two, 51-49.
However, the Blue Devils couldn’t get any closer as St. Joseph hit its free throws and held on for its third consecutive state championship.
"Three is nice," said St. Joseph head coach Shannon Lewis. "It’s not easy up here. We feel like we’ve come in with a ton of talent…We feel like if we played well we would win this basketball game and that’s what happened."