Adrianna Hahn saved the best for last.
Caravel pushed Ursuline to the limit Friday night in the championship game of the DIAA Girls Basketball Tournament. The Buccaneers forced Hahn to call on every ounce of her will, grit, determination and talent.
And she loved every second it.
“It was exactly how I wanted it to end,” the senior said. “This has been our goal since the first day of the season, and all 15 of us and the coaching staff, we worked so hard. We accomplished so much. I’m so proud. This is the way to end it.”
Hahn scored 29 points – every one more important than the last – as the Raiders outdueled Caravel 53-41 for their 15th state championship. Every time the Buccaneers made a run, Hahn had an answer in front of a passionate crowd at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.
Ursuline celebrates their 53-41 win in the tournament final.
“She kind of put us on our back,” Ursuline coach John Noonan said. “She’s confident in her abilities. She trusts in her abilities, and when she feels like she needs to take over, she does that.”
Hahn scored all 10 of Ursuline’s points in the first quarter. When the Buccaneers ripped off 10 straight to take a 14-13 lead, Hahn got into the lane for a 3-point play to put the Raiders on top again.
She had 18 points at the half as Ursuline led 23-17. A Caravel fan yelled, “Get the ball out of her hands!” Every team in Delaware has been trying to do that for the past five years, and we’ve seen the results.
“I’ll tell you this. She didn’t have one easy bucket tonight,” Caravel coach Kristin Caldwell said. “There was a hand in her face all night. She had to earn it.”
The Buccaneers put up a valiant fight in the final game for superb seniors Ky’Asia Stanford, Micah Morgan and Caroline Davis. When Stanford drove into the lane and scored with 1:42 left in the third quarter, Caravel was within 30-29. And then …
“They come down, and she hits a 3,” Caldwell said of Hahn. “So it goes from one to four that quick. To me, that was the bucket of the game.”
It was, because despite all of their effort, the Buccaneers would never get closer again. Ursuline junior Kailyn Kampert – the Raiders’ second-leading scorer with nine points – has seen the reigning two-time Delaware player of the year do things like that for the past four years.
“She was just amazing,” Kampert said. “I’m so thankful that I got the chance to play with her, and I’m so sad to see her go.”
The Raiders (23-1) were ranked first in Delaware all season, 13th nationally by USA Today. Their only loss came in the Diamond State Classic to Cumberland Valley, which was 30-1 and ranked 11th nationally going into its Pennsylvania Class AAA quarterfinal game Friday night.
Ursuline defeated Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.), which was ranked 11th nationally at the time. The Raiders also took down Cicero North Syracuse (N.Y.), which is 20-1. They defeated Cardinal O’Hara (Pa.), which is 21-3. And they went 6-0 with an average winning margin of 16.3 points against Caravel, St. Elizabeth and Sussex Central – the other three teams in Delaware’s final four.
“I think when you look at record, getting some national attention, those types of things, it’s hard not to say this team is going to rank pretty high in Ursuline’s history books,” Noonan said.
Hahn knew exactly how special it was.
“The last practice, she started crying,” Kampert said. “Ursuline basketball definitely has meant a lot to her, and we’ve loved having her.”
She didn’t want it to end, but she knew this was it.
“It has gone by so fast,” Hahn said. “I remember my first game as an eighth-grader against Charter, and now I’m holding the state championship as a senior and ready to go to Villanova in June.
“I can’t thank my coaches and my teammates enough for everything they’ve done for me. It’s been a great ride.”
It couldn’t have been any better Friday night.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ