The Devils, coached by PCA coach of the year award-winner Suzanne Baker, beat the Tarheels coached by Jeff Alfred, 34 – 31 in the majors fall basketball final before a full-house at the Chastain gym yesterday.
The game was close throughout most of the first half as the outside shooting of Kate Grice paced the Devils and kept them just ahead of the Tarheels, led by the inside clever scoring drives of Ava Karvis. The fast-paced first quarter ended with the Devils up, 16 – 14.
Foul trouble plagued the Tarheels in the second quarter. Unfortunately for them, the Tarheels’ brilliant and tenacious defensive effort, led by Olivia Resnick, led to some foul trouble, as key players had to sit the late part of the first half.
The Devils led at the end of the first half by 8 points, and behind the tough inside scoring of Hadden Buschmann and the scoring drives of Nadia Hackett, kept a 6 to 10 point working margin throughout the 3rdand early 4thquarter. The Devils, led by “coach on the floor” Kate Leach, played their brand of great help defense, which never gave the Tarheels a clear look at the basket.
However, the never say die Tarheels kept battling back, as Audrey Welch got hot from inside, and her offensive rebound and in the paint put-back drew the Tarheels to within 3 points with 21 seconds to go. A missed front end of a 1 and 1 by the Devils with 6 seconds left gave the Tarheels a final chance to tie the game, but their 3-point shot at regulation bounced off the rim twice before not falling, leaving the Devils as a relieved and deserving champion.
Kudos to every player on the Devils and Tarheels, all of whom gave their best effort throughout the season and this game. It was a great finish to a great 2019 season.