RALEIGH Providence Day tallied a three-point win over Greensboro Day in the schools' Jan. 7 regular season girls' basketball game. The Chargers never let things get that close in Saturday's N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) 3A state final at Ravenscroft, where top-seeded Providence Day upended the No. 2 Bengals 66-42.
The win secured the Chargers' third consecutive state championship and seventh in eight years.
"The thing we preached was being aggressive at both ends of the floor," said Providence Day coach Josh Springer.
"We went to the basket, over and over and over again," he said. "We really limited their opportunities around the basket for 32 minutes."
The Chargers, who fell behind Rabun Gap (Ga.) 6-0 in Friday's semifinals, wasted no time pounding the basketball inside to all-staters Olivia Parker and Jatarie White. Parker and White combined for 13 of their team's 21 first-quarter points to help Providence Day (29-4) to a 10-point lead after eight minutes.
Greensboro Day (28-5) stayed within striking distance thanks to three first-quarter 3-pointers by Tenesha Connor (16 points). The Chargers, however, limited the Bengals to three two-point baskets - two by Ronata Rogers (12 points) before intermission, at which Providence Day led 29-20.
"Every time we thought we were coming back, they made a basket when they needed to," said Greensboro Day coach John Carty.
"They set the standard for private school basketball in North Carolina. They're so good and so talented."
The Chargers were in control, even with four first-half points (one field goal) from Tiffany Mitchell, the team's South Carolina-bound all-stater.
Mitchell, however, keyed a 7-0 third-quarter run with an assist to White before rimming in a 3-pointer and taking a rebound coast to coast for a layup as the stanza's two-minute mark approached.
"I knew my shot was going to come eventually, so I just kept playing the game, playing in the system," Mitchell said. "It worked out for us."
Providence Day got a game-high 21 points from the 6-foot-3 sophomore White, who made back-to-back shots to close the third period with the Chargers leading 44-28. White made two free throws that put her team up by 20 (58-38) with 3:29 remaining before completing a textbook post up and drop step from the center of the lane for two more.
Parker chipped in 14 for the victors. Mitchell netted 20 points in her high school swansong, which left Coach Springer with mixed emotions.
"Her drive and passion and will to win is second to none," he said.
"She has more competitive drive than any player I've ever coached."
"She will refuse to let her team lose, and we're going to miss her."