Britt King's tough defense and eight fourth-quarter points sparked St. Anthony's to a 42-35 victory over McKinley in the championship of the first Eastern Board of Officials girls Christmas tournament yesterday at McKinley.
Concentrating only on rebounding (12) and defense (five blocked shots) the first three quarters, King suddenly turned to offense at the beginning of the final period.
"We weren't getting her the ball early in the game," said St. Anthony Coach Daryl Tolliver. "But when the game got tight, I told our people to get the ball inside to her."
The tactic proved successful for the Tonies (8-0) as the 5-foot-10 junior center held off the scrappy Trainers almost singlehandedly. Both teams exchanged baskets until King scored her final basket on a power move to put the Tonies ahead for good, 37-35, with three minutes left to play.
After that, she shut down the middle and the Tonies played keep away.
McKinley jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but the Tonies came back on the scoring of senior guard Taiquia Brittingham (game-high 17 points) to go up, 13-10, at the end of the first period.
Brittingham continued to score during the second period, getting six of her team's eight points as they took a 21-12 halftime lead.
But McKinley refused to fold and took the lead, 27-26, at the end of three on the scoring of Cheryl Mitchell (10 points).
Then came the final period, when King went into her act. If she wasn't scoring inside, she was forcing the Trainers to miss several close-in shots at the other end.