A remarkable season finished in an exceptional way. The Middle School Girls Basketball Team, coached by Sarah Reis, Darline Berrios, and Kelly Barr, played in the championship game of the Rhode Island Middle School Girls League against Times 2 Academy.
The two teams met earlier in the season, and the Times 2 girls bested our team by two points. Our squad, led by eighth graders Nyasia Chantavong, Chanel Madison, Destiny Woods, and Sasha Salazar, slowly, but surely improved all year, winning games against Barrington Christian Academy, Providence Country Day, Friends Academy, Sophia Academy, and Highlander Charter School.
The Tournament began with a spirited win against last year’s champions and tournament host, Rocky Hill, a team coached by a former Brown University Coach, Theresa Conroy. The win propelled the navigators into the finals at Rocky Hill.
The game was a close affair all the way through with neither team holding more than a four point lead. With 16 seconds left, Paul Cuffee School led by one point, 20-19, before missing a shot and turning the ball over to the talented Times 2 Team. They ran down the floor and quickly scored to take a one point lead, 20-21, with 8 seconds remaining. On the ensuing play, Destiny Woods inbounded to Nyasia Chantavong who passed to Anissa Rivera, a talented sixth grader, for the final shot. Anissa dribbled down the right hand side, hoisted an off-balanced three-point attempt with .5 seconds left and secured the improbable victory, 23-21, for the Navigators.
The low-scoring affair highlights the defensive effort of the Paul Cuffee girls, who forced several turnovers, many backcourt violations, and plenty of poor shot selections. Both teams played hard and deserved a great ending, but we were lucky to loft the last shot.Congratulations to a team that coalesced beautifully over the long winter.