After three years, Chloe Godbold finally got the Catholic League championship trophy in her hand. And all she could do was start sneezing.
But don’t worry, the Farmington Hills Mercy guard isn’t allergic to winning. In fact, she was just what the doctor ordered as the Marlins won their first league title in three seasons, 45-36, over Bloomfield Hills Marian today at Wayne State.
Mercy (17-2) avenged a loss to Marian last year by giving the Mustangs a dose of their own medicine: a lock-down defense.
“We worked hard as a team and we just came here and handled business today,” said Godbold, who had a game-high 19 points in the A/B title game. “Our plan was to box out and get a lot more rebounds than when we played them the other two times (this season). Our other thing was to get out on their shooters.”
“We think we play good D,” Mercy coach Gary Morris said. “We mix it up and play more zone. Defensively, we think we’re pretty solid, and obviously if you’re playing good defense it’s going to allow you to stay in the game.”
Marian got the first two baskets of the game, but the only other time the Mustangs held a lead was a 3-minute stretch late in the second quarter. Godbold hit a three-pointer in the final minute before halftime and the Marlins didn’t look back.
“Each team had their runs early,” Morris said. “I think the biggest lead in the first half was four (17-13), and then I was very happy that we were the team in the second half that seized the lead and were able to get it above four. It feels pretty good once you get it to seven because that makes it a three-possession game. I’m always worried about them coming down and hitting a three. I thought we really contested well against those.”
Marian (13-5) was just 2 of 12 outside the arc and couldn’t erase the deficit. Lauren Montalbano led the Mustangs with 12 and Olivia Moore added 10.
Godbold, who transferred to Mercy from Southfield Christian following her freshman year, was relieved to finally make good on a team goal.
“This year we were like, ‘We’re going to win Catholic Leagues,’ and we set out to do that and we did that,” she said. “I’m just so proud of our team; we all work hard in practice and I’m just so happy that we actually could feel what we wanted to do this season.”
Royal Oak Shrine 52, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes 47: Shrine won its first C/D championship since 1991 by avenging a 21-point loss from mid-season.
“I think that Lakes really underestimated us, and we knew we had the power to beat them if we played right and we played with the right defense. They didn’t expect us to come out and win,” said captain Liz Mantha, who scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half and gave her team the lead for good on a three-point play with 1:45 remaining.
Sophomore Grace Murray led Shrine (14-4) with 27 points. Rebecca Kruliski scored six, and had three key steals in the final quarter.
“We came into the game kind of nervous, but as a whole, we were ready to go,” Kruliski said. “We weren’t going to be scared or intimidated by them, we just needed to play hard. We just came in on our ‘A’ game, playing hard, with a hard defense.”
The defending champion Lakers (14-3) raced out to a 19-9 lead after one quarter by hitting 8 of 12 attempts from the floor. But as their shooting cooled down, the Lady Knights battled back to take the lead 5 seconds before halftime. There were 12 lead changes and nine ties overall.
“That game was so nip-and-tuck,” Shrine coach Wayne Gigante said. “They went up, we went up, it was just a back-and-forth game; but once that buzzer sounded at the end, it was just a huge relief.”