Jade Vegas wouldn’t let the lead or the championship get away from Cardinal Spellman
The senior guard poured in 32 points to lead the host Pilots to a 60-57 victory over St. Joseph by the Sea in the CHSAA Archdiocesan girls’ basketball championship last Sunday Fellow senior Kameron Stone chipped in with 14 points and 10 rebounds. It is Spellman’s second straight title.
“Defense has been the key. They have done well from end line to end line.” Pilots head coach Jane Morris said. “St. Joe’s is a great team. We’ve beaten them once and they beat us once. They’re a very talented and balanced team.”
Spellman led 46-37 after three quarter, but Sea would not die down the stretch. Eventually the Pilots senior leadership prevailed down the stretch Vega and class made Sade Rogers made key free throws down the stretch.
“Jade’s leadership has been the key to the team’s success.” Morris adds. “She is the consummate floor leader. The win feels great. The seniors and the rest of the team are doing great and we’re fulfilling expectations that many have not expected from us.”
Spellman took control of the game and went into halftime with a 34-22 lead. In the second half, the Pilots maintained their lead, but the Vikings (20-7) stayed on their heels, pulling within six points in the third quarter.
“I’m proud of my team’s effort.” St. Joseph by the Sea coach Josh Slusiak said. “We never quit.”
Senior Casey Davidson led with 28 points and Nicole Vierno chipped in with 20 points. Davidson scored the 1,000th point of her career on layup in the third quarter.
“It’s something that I’ll always remember, but I wish we had gotten the win,” she said.
Both teams were clutch at the foul line in this game, but Spellman (23-4) ended up holding the lead together until the final buzzer. The Pilots earned the diocese’s top seed and bye in the upcoming CHSAA Class A state playoffs. Spellman reached the semifinal a year ago an want to take it a seep further this time around.
“I feel like the kids have worked really hard all year,” Morris said. “They really want this and I can’t envision them stopping now.”
Vega fell the title gives her club momentum and high hopes for the rest of the playoffs.
“I felt very confident and knew we would beat them as long as we played hard,” Vega said. “I feel if we continue to play hard and succeed, we can win the states.”