MYRTLE BEACH — Big 3s are usually known to win championships.
The Patriots’ Big 3 is no different.
Freshman Jess Carney and seniors Sarah Curran and Kristie Costantino combined for 52 points as Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) dialed in from long distance to stun King’s Fork (Va.) 55-48 Saturday in the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational Championship Game.
“It was great,” Patriots coach Chuck Creighton said. “We have some good shooters that weren’t making shots in the first half but we were fortunate that they hit some shots in the second half. We got hot and we kept on a roll. We shared the ball and the open players took good shots so we’re very fortunate.”
Archbishop Carroll, facing a 35-20 halftime deficit, halted the Bulldogs’ momentum in the start of the second half. The Patriots went on a 22-8 run in the opening 11 minutes of the frame.
“We had nothing to lose,” Creighton said. “We had to come out and play hard, maintain our composure and make some shots. That’s all, we just needed to compete.”
Carney led the way, hitting five treys during the Patriots’ late surge. Carney scored 16 of her game-high 19 points in the second half.
“We know she can shoot like that – so, against the zone – she’s our zone buster,” Creighton said. “She did a great job tonight and fortunately she was making her shots.”
Curran added 18 points and Costantino finished with 15 for Archbishop Carroll, which was 11-for-23 (47.8 percent) from behind the arc in the contest.
“We take pride in our defense so I’m a little upset that we allowed three people to do most of their scoring and shooting,” King’s Fork coach Maurice Fofana said. “It’s a hard loss for the girls and it’s a lesson learned but I think we’ll do better.”
King’s Fork went on a 28-7 run to close out the first half. The Bulldogs were 13-for-21 from the field (61.9 percent), and King’s Fork outrebounded Archbishop Carroll 15-5 in the first half. The score was tied three times before the half, and the lead changed only once.
“I thought we played well in the first half and did everything we said we were going to do,” Fofan said. “In the second half I think we got complacent. I don’t know if we got tired and we left them open or what happened but there was surely miscommunication on defense. We were worrying more about trying not to lose the game instead of taking care of business and winning the game. Outside of that, we played well.”
The Bulldogs outrebounded the Patriots 29-16 in the contest, and outscored them 22-12 inside the paint. Shaikeyla Jordan, Chantel Roberts, Julissa Riddick and Khadedra Croker had 11 points apiece for King’s Fork.
“I think we played well as a team. Not one player really stood out,” Fofana said. “It was a great game, though. Both teams fought hard and they just made more shots down the stretch and that was the difference in the game. Nobody expected us to get this far and we beat some tough teams. You normally don’t want to say a loss will help, but this one actually did.”
Said Creighton: “They’re a great a team and they have a lot of talent. They were making their shots in the first half and fortunately for us they didn’t shoot as well in the second half. We got lucky.”
Both coaches believe their teams will benefit from playing in such a competitive tournament.
“I think it’s good for the kids being in a different atmosphere and being on a bigger floor,” He said. “It was actually great. Getting to the championship was big for us and we definitely learned some things along the way.”
Said Creighton: “We love coming here. It’s a nice area and the hospitality is phenomenal. We had a great experience and this was a great tournament.”
• KING’S FORK (48) – Shaikeyla Jordan 11, Chantel Roberts 11, Julissa Riddick 11, Khadedra Croker 11, Brittany Alston 2, Shanell Pope 2.
• ARCHBISHOP CARROLL (55) – Jess Carney 19, Sarah Curran 18, Kristie Costantino 15, Lexi Stover 3.
• Halftime: King’s Fork 55-48. 3-point goals: King’s Fork 3 (Roberts 2, Jordan); Archbishop Carroll 11 (Carney 6, Curran 2, Costantino 2, Stover). Team fouls: King’s Fork 8, Archbishop Carroll 12. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: King’s Fork 9-1, Archbishop Carroll 5-1.
• Dreher 61, Edgewater (Fla.) 59 | Dreher held a 31-20 lead at halftime, but the Blue Devils watched that lead diminish quickly.
Edgewater (Fla.) came out strong in the second half, starting on a 15-4 run to tie the game at 35 with 10:56 to go. From that point on, it was a back-and-forth battle until the end.
Ultimately, Dreher survived as freshman phenom Jhileya Dunlap scored the game-winning field goal at the buzzer to give the Blue Devils a 61-59 win over the Eagles in the third-place game of the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational.
“I think when we came out in the second half, we were a little confused,” Dreher coach Teresa Jones said. “[Edgewater] came out with a lot of firepower. I tip my hat to them; they made a couple of big shots and got back into the game and the momentum changed for a minute. Then it was just tug-and-pull all the way to the end.”
Dreher received a scare with 14:11 remaining in the second half when Dunlap fell hard to the floor after contact and was taken out of the game. However, she returned with 9:48 left and finished with a game-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds.
“That was scary. At that point, the game did change with her being on the bench and that’s when the shift came in,” Jones said. “She’s a catalyst for us and does a lot of things on both ends of the floor … She went back out there and made a couple of good plays and shifted the momentum in our favor.”
Dunlap’s game-winning field goal came with some controversy, though. She was fouled by Tiara McMillan with 24.4 seconds left and the game tied at 59, but Dunlap missed both of her free throws. Kaydra Duckett grabbed the board and fed a pass to Dunlap, who laid it in as the buzzer sounded. Jones was leery of whether or not the shot went in on time.
“I am very glad that she came back out,” Jones said. “After that shot I was a little skeptical whether it counted or not. She missed those two free throws, but we got the rebound and we laid it back up. I’m just thankful for this win.”
Duckett finished with 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who outscored the Eagles 46-18 inside the paint.
Edgewater shot poorly from the field in the first half (20.8 percent), and Trimaine McCullough couldn’t knock down her shots as she was 1-for-11 from the field with only three points in the frame. McCollough finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, Haley Clark had a team-high 15 points and Nyala Shuler added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles.
Now that Dreher has wrapped up tournament play in Myrtle Beach, the Blue Devils have gained more knowledge to prepare them for region play.
“I think it was a tough experience, but it was a great experience for the team,” said sophomore Jordan Starr, who had five points and three boards. “There were a lot of teams that had more talent than we play back in Columbia so this prepared us for our region games.”
• EDGEWATER (59) – Tiara McMillan 6, Trimaine McCullough 14, Haley Clark 15, Nyala Shuler 10, Clarrissa Cutliff 7, Amariah Woodruff 6, Jakayla Richmond 1.
• DREHER (61) – Jordan Starr 5, Jazmine Robinson 4, Shaniqwa Hopkins 1, Jhileiya Dunlap 24, Kaydra Duckett 15, Makayla Johnson 8, Danielle Pierce 2, De’jah Canty 2.
• Halftime: Dreher 31-20. 3-point goals: Edgewater 6 (McCullough 4, Clark, Woodruff); Dreher 1 (Starr). Team fouls: Edgewater 18, Dreher 24. Fouled out: Edgewater 1 (Clark), Dreher 1 (Johnson). Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Edgewater 11-3, Dreher 11-1.
Contact MAX McKINNON at 444-1767.