Vanguard girls' hoops claim program's first district tournament title
Fountain • For the first 5:41 of the third quarter, Evangelical Christian Academy limited The Vanguard School to all of two points. The problem: When Vanguard hit its second field goal of the second half, it was still up 12.
Vanguard (21-1), which never trailed and pushed its lead to 17 in the fourth, scored all seven of its fourth-quarter field goals in the paint to claim the girls’ basketball program’s first district championship with a 61-46 victory on Saturday at Fountain Middle School.
Bailey Haist scored a game-high 22 points, Caitlin Bower scored 17 and grabbed seven boards, and Angel McNulty scored 10 and grabbed seven rebounds to help The Vanguard school win the 2A District 8 championship.
The three of them scored 18 of 22 points in the first quarter, as the Coursers built a 15-point lead after one.
“We just wanted to start off strong and keep that momentum throughout the game,” Haist said.
While Haist scored 15 of her 22 in the first half, it was McNulty and Bower who secured the lead in the fourth quarter. McNulty scored four straight, Bower answered with four more and Cassandra Sulski scored four in a row for the Coursers who pushed their lead to 53-37 with 3:38 to play.
“We just looked on the inside when our perimeter game was not what it usually is,” said McNulty, who scored six in the fourth.
When the teams met Feb. 9, the Coursers squeaked out a six-point win. This one was never that close. Vanguard held the Eagles (17-5) to seven points in the first quarter and six in the second, as ECA shot 5 of 29 from the field in the half.
“We were kind of frantic because normally they play zone against us, but this time they played man,” said ECA’s Sammi Bost, who scored a team-high 21 points, 14 in the second half.
Two free throws from Abby Dorman cut the lead to 36-26 with less than a minute to play in the third. But Haist answered with her third 3 and the Coursers took a 13-point lead into the final period.
Regional brackets will be released Sunday.