Most people gave the 12th seeded Hamilton Huskies NO shot at beating the third seed, the St. Mary’s Knights in Saturday’s Division I Girls State Championship.
They were correct in that assumption, because the Knights took it to Hamilton early and often, and ran away with their second straight championship, 65-40 at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz.
Freshman guard Courtney Ekmark led all scorers with 28 points. Senior forward Shilpa Tummala chipped in with 17 points.
The Knights end the season a perfect 30-0, and have won 40 straight games dating back to last season.
The Huskies (27-7) were led by guards Lauren Evans and Kyndall Adams, who had 16 points apiece.
Hamilton was in trouble from the get-go, as St. Mary’s opened up a 20-4 lead after the first period, and never let up on the throttle.
The Knights looked like they were moving at warp speed the entire game.
An impressive sight to see if I may say so…
St. Mary’s defense threw the Huskies for a loop the entire game. They shot 29 percent in the first half, as they fell behind 38-19 at halftime.
Hamilton shot 31 percent for the game.
“Our defense feeds everything,” head coach Curtis Ekmark said. “If we’re aggressive on defense, our offense usually follows suit.”
With Saturday’s win, the Knights earned another dubious distinction.
Not only did they repeat as state champions, they are the first school from Arizona to be named high school national champions, as a result of being ranked No. 1 by ESPN, USA Today and MaxPreps.com.
The scary thing about this team is the fact that the Knights have six players returning next season, and they look poised to make another championship run in 2013.
“The future looks bright,” said Ekmark.