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Central, playing for MC, wins third straight state title

By TANNER COOK • Mar 10, 2019 at 1:22 AM

RICHMOND — The Wise Central girls basketball team’s journey this season has been an emotional one, but it ended in storybook fashion Saturday night inside VCU’s Siegel Center.

The Lady Warriors overwhelmed Greensville County 57-34 in the VHSL Class 2 championship game — their third consecutive title and fifth in the past six years.

“It was an absolutely great performance by my squad,” Central coach Robin Dotson said. “They take on all challenges. I told them before the game that I didn’t have anything special to say. I didn’t know if I could motivate them any more, but they motivated me for this game. I’m very proud of this team and what they’ve accomplished.”

The title was Dotson’s sixth overall, including one with J.J. Kelly in 2002.

View the photo gallery from the game

Olivia Mullins led the Lady Warriors (26-4) with 13 points, scoring 10 in the first half. She also had 10 rebounds for a double- double.

Fellow Central senior Dee Cvetnich also posted a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds. The season was dedicated to the late Mark Cvetnich — Dee’s father — who passed away in April.

“We’ve played all season for Dad,” Cvetnich said. “This means a lot to push through and win it for him this season.”

The Lady Warriors played their usual defensive game, never letting up from the start even when the shots weren’t falling.

Central shot just 26.3 percent from the field for the game, but its defense held the Lady Eagles to 23.7 percent shooting. No one scored in double figures for Greensville (25-6). Sanijah Robinson, Lena Clements and Jacqueline Hill each scored nine points.

The Lady Eagles made just one shot on 15 attempts in the second quarter and trailed 30-15 at the half.

“First and foremost, I’m proud of the young ladies that I have. They have had a magical season to get here,” said Lady Eagles coach Sharon Manning-Randolph.

“Hats off to Central. They are an exceptional team. It was a struggle in certain parts of the game, but we might be back here next year.”

The Lady Eagles actually outrebounded the Lady Warriors 45-38 — 17-14 on the offensive glass — but they struggled after hitting 50 percent of their shots in the first quarter. Greensville County went over five minutes of game time from the middle of the second quarter to the beginning of the third without a made field goal.

The Lady Warriors forced 11 first-half turnovers that got them the lead. Their 19-of-26 free-throw shooting helped out as well.

“This one feels different,” said Central guard Brook Porter. “It’s where we’ve been playing together for all of our lives. It was our last time out on the floor together and it’s good to go out on a win.”

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