Knights Win 3rd State Title
By NICK SUNDERLAND
Daily News-Record RICHMOND – Kaleigh Roadcap started the celebration, and the rest of the Turner Ashby High School freshman’s teammates quickly joined her in the traditional dog-pile on VCU’s Siegel Center floor. Wednesday night’s 3A girls’ basketball state championship game was a classic in every sense of the word, and it was the Knights who ultimately outlasted Valley District rival Broadway with the help of some gritty play from Roadcap and her older sister, Kierstin, down the stretch.
Kaleigh – a reserve guard – scored seven of TA’s final nine points in regulation and Kierstin – the Valley’s Player of the Year – delivered a key steal and layup in overtime as the Knights beat the Gobblers 64-60.
TA (27-3) trailed by 12 points in the second quarter and even faced a 49-44 deficit with 1:23 left in regulation before storming back to claim the program’s third overall state championship and first in 16 years – all coming under longtime coach Rob Lovell.
“We’re a tough team, and I think so many people doubted us at the beginning of the season,” Kierstin Roadcap said. “And I honestly think none of us thought we would make it this far, but we had to play tough the whole game. We knew Broadway was going to come out fired up.”
The junior guard contributed 13 points and a series of key hustle plays, while sophomore guard Hope Simmons stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, nine rebounds and three assists to help TA prevail in its fifth and final meeting with the Gobblers this season. The teams had split their previous four matchups, with the Knights beating Broadway 59-53 in the 3A West regional title game Sunday.
“There’s just no quit in these kids, and it just speaks volumes to their character and how hard they’ve worked all season long and in the offseason,” Lovell said. “For them to get rewarded like this is just phenomenal.”
For BHS, Wednesday’s result proved to be another heartbreaker.
Last season, the Gobblers ( 21- 8) lost to Valley rival Spotswood in the 3A state title game. And this time around, with junior guard Hannah Mac-Donald’s hot start helping BHS jump out to a 23-11 advantage, it seemed a different ending was in store for coach Bobby Mongold’s team.
MacDonald scored a gamehigh 22 points for the Gobblers, who also got double-digit scoring from junior guard Chrissy Delawder (17 points) and sophomore forward Faith Funkhouser.
TA’s raucous display of jubilation after the final buzzer wasn’t secured until Simmons took a long inbounds pass and converted a layup with six seconds left in OT. One play earlier, Broadway freshman Sarah Wimer converted a steal under the basket into a layup to cut what was a six-point advantage for TA down to 62-60.
“You’re obviously disappointed, but I’m as proud as can be of them,” Mongold said. “I mean, just to get back here twice in a row is extremely tough. And you just have to put your hats off to TA because they made plays.”
And it was Kaleigh Roadcap who made most of them in crunch time. Her only two 3s of the night came in the final 3:12 of the fourth, and TA junior guard Sydney Sheffer sank a pair of free throws with 53.4 seconds to tie the game at 49-all. The last of Roadcap’s 3s came as a direct answer to a behind-thearc make by Delawder, whose shot had given Broadway a fivepoint advantage and sent its supporters at the Siegel Center into a frenzy.
Funkhouser stepped in front of a driving Roadcap to draw a charge on TA’s last possession of regulation, but BHS was unable to get a potential game-winning shot off ahead of the fourthquarter buzzer. In overtime, TA took control for good when Kierstin Roadcap stripped Delawder and drove the full length of the court for a layup to put the Knights ahead 58- 53. From there, Broadway never had another possession with TA’s lead within three points or less.
Kierstin Roadcap transferred from BHS to TA after the winter semester of her sophomore year. She had started at point guard for the Gobblers as a freshman.
“ We’re not here without them,” Lovell said of the Roadcaps. “And we certainly wouldn’t have won this game without them. For Kierstin here, over and above anything she does skill-wise, Kierstin – and I’d say the same thing for Kaleigh – just bring us a great deal of toughness as a team. And I think that that sort of spills over to the rest of our kids.”
Delawder 7 1-4 17, MacDonald 8 4-8 22, Repko 3 2-3 8, Earhart 0 1-4 1, Funkhouser 5-9 0-0 10, Ka. Landis 0 0-1 0, Wimer 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 8-20 60.
Simmons 7 3-5 21, Ki. Roadcap 5 2-4 13, Sheffer 1 4-4 6, Witt 1 0-0 2, Ka. Roadcap 5 2-7 15, Wood 2 4-6 8. Totals 21 15-26 64.Broadway 18 10 10 11 11 – 60 Turner Ashby 10 10 14 15 15 – 64 3-Point Shooting: Broadway 4 (Delawder 2, Mac-Donald 2), Turner Ashby 7 (Simmons 4, Ka. Roadcap 2, Ki. Roadcap). Team Fouls: Broadway 22, Turner Ashby 16. Fouled Out: Broadway (Funkhouser).