Shadow Mountain girls basketball had not played the first half it had hoped for in the 4A state championship game against Seton Catholic. After outscoring opponents 213-134 in their three previous games this postseason, the Matadors started slow offensively and were tied with the Sentinels 16-16.
Then came a mental reset at halftime.
“At halftime, we had to dig deep,” Shadow Mountain head coach Erica Farnsworth said. “We play off such energy, and we didn’t have it in the first half. I saw long faces, and it wasn’t us. Once we turned that in halftime, you saw what you saw in the second half.”
What followed was dominance from the Matadors, who shot 55.7% in the second half and scored 38 points to Seton Catholic’s 15. They won the 4A state championship 54-31. Zhane Jordan and Dyamon Worley-Butler led the way with 12 points and 11 rebounds each. Senya Rabouin added 10 points and 4 assists. Forward Heavenly Greer had 9 points, 5 rebounds and 6 blocks. Kayla Pettet came off the bench to score 11 points.
“I’m excited,” Butler-Worley said. “I’m glad it was this team this year. They are my family and it always will be.”
They may be called the Matadors, but their defense this year resembled anything but. That was especially true when it mattered most on Saturday night. Shadow Mountain held the second-seeded Sentinels to under 10 points in each quarter and 22.7% from the field.
“It’s all mental, it’s all heart,” Farnsworth said of their defense. “When we have it, we’re flying, we’re getting interceptions, we’re deflecting and we come up and that’s what creates our offense.”
And unfortunately for the rest of the state, the Matadors return every one of their starters next year, as well as key members who came off the bench.
“The hope was to win this one so when we go into next year, we have that maturity, we have that experience,” Farnsworth said. “We had the semifinal experience last year, so we made it past that round this year and came up big in this final round.”
While the Matador boys basketball team also won their fourth straight state title on Saturday, the girls team seems primed to start a streak of their own.