With a section title on the line and a boisterous crowd in the house for senior night, nothing was going to hold Chandler Seton Catholic back.
Feeding off the energy in the building, Seton Catholic stormed out of the gate Friday and overwhelmed visiting Tempe Marcos de Niza, closing out the regular season with a 51-34 victory.
“I’m just so happy we won,” senior post Heather Heild said, in between hugs and pictures with friends and family members.
“The crowd was amazing tonight. The atmosphere was just so great to come out with a win.”
In taking the Division II, Section IV crown, Seton Catholic (26-3) has now won 20 consecutive section or region titles in girls basketball.
Friday, it trailed Marcos de Niza (21-5) for all of 20 seconds, and after taking a 6-4 early in the first quarter, it never looked back.
“I just felt like our kids came out ready to play,” Seton Catholic coach Karen Self said. “I felt like they knew what we wanted to do defensively, and they really executed well.”
If Marcos de Niza looked out of sorts, it was for good reason. Just a couple of hours before the game, senior guard and leading scorer Sophia Anaya was ruled out for what coach Jermaine Whitaker called “precautionary” reasons.
Without Anaya’s 17.3 points and veteran leadership on the floor, Marocs de Niza looked rudderless, falling behind 19-6 after one quarter and 29-13 at the half.
“Not having her court awareness hurt us,” Whitaker said. “She’s a very smart player, and we missed that on the court. We just looked unorganized.”
Heild led the way for Seton Catholic, scoring 18 points. Fellow senior post Julia Barcello added 12, and the duo is the biggest reason Seton Catholic is in position to contend for the Division II championship.
“We’ve been here for four years,” Heild said. “We’re kind of used to it. We work together a lot, and that’s how we win games.”