Even before last night's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference final, Arlington Baptist's girls basketball team had the T-shirts ready: "Back To Back Conference Champions." And why not?
The Eagles had beaten every C Conference opponent this season - and by an average margin of 35.4 points. Beth Tfiloh had come the closest, twice losing by 19 points. But last night, the Eagles defeated the Warriors going away, 64-37, at Villa Julie College.
Led by a transition game that C Conference foes cannot counter, the league's top post player in 5-foot-11 senior Faith Happel, and hot-shooting point guard Brianna Wise, the Eagles (21-0) raced to a 27-10 lead. The Warriors (20-6) whittled the deficit to 10 early in the third quarter, but the Eagles answered with an 8-2 run to pull ahead 41-25 and all but seal the win.
Happel led the Eagles with 21 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks, five assists and four steals. Sade' Bryant also scored 21, while Wise added 14. Myca Scott and Kendra Harris made key defensive contributions that sparked the overwhelming running game.
"It's their fast-breaking. If it wasn't for that, we would have been right in the game," said senior Lisa Holzman, who led the Warriors with 11 points.
Alisa Brem added eight points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors, while Stephanie Riederman had eight points and eight rebounds.
Had the Eagles been able to, they likely would have moved up to the B Conference after last season's title, but the IAAM's biennial realignment comes after this season.
"We just want to keep proving to everyone that we are more than a C-level team," said Happel. "We definitely have the aggressiveness and the defense and offense that it takes to be at a higher level."