The Eastview girls’ basketball team lost its only game this season to Bloomington Kennedy, setting up the preferred Class 4A state tournament championship game.
Neither team disappointed Saturday at Williams Arena. Eastview was determined to put the final touch on a special season while Kennedy was hungry to avenge last season’s runner-up finish.
Score one for revenge. Eastview won 64-61 and captured its first-ever girls’ basketball state championship after runner-up finishes in 2000 and 2003. Melissa Guebert is the first woman to coach a big-school champion since the tournament added Class 4A in 1997.
Leading 37-32 at halftime thanks to superior play from standouts Kenisha Bell and Tonoia Wade, Kennedy turned to less-heralded players in the second half.
A pair of Eagles forwards, senior Isieoma Odor and sophomore Lashayla Wright-Ponder, gave Kennedy an advantage inside.
Wright-Ponder scored to give her team a 42-36 lead. Then Odor got the hot hand, scoring the Eagles’ next nine points. When Bell added a layup, Kennedy held a 53-43 lead.
Bell got Kennedy off to a 6-0 start by scoring all six points. She and Wade combined for all the points as the Eagles soared to a 16-6 lead. Bell later stretched the lead to 20-9 with a layup.
But top-ranked and No. 1 seed Eastview (30-2) fought back. A Madison Guebert three-pointer ignited a 10-0 run and cut Kennedy’s lead to 24-22. Another Guebert three-pointer tied the score 26-26.
No. 2 seed Bloomington Kennedy (26-6) led 37-32 at halftime on 18 points from Bell.