Churchill 62, Woodlawn 38
-- For the second consecutive year, Churchill senior guard Alis Freeman elicited a standing ovation as she left the court for the final time.
Freeman scored a game-high 17 points and had seven steals today, leading No. 3 Churchill to its second straight Maryland 4A championship with a 62-38 victory over Woodlawn at UMBC's RAC Center. In their third consecutive appearance in the state final, the Bulldogs finished the season with a 21-game winning streak and ended Woodlawn of Baltimore's undefeated season.
"Alis is our most valuable player," said junior forward Chelsea Phillips, who scored 12 points. "We're going to miss her so much next year. There's no replacement. Whenever we're down, she takes the whole team on her back and carries it."
Freeman, an All-Met who has accepted a scholarship to Towson, scored 14 points in the second half. Phillips and senior forward Catherine Adams carried Churchill (24-2) in the first half, combining for 18 of the team's 30 points. Adams, Phillips and junior center Chloe Evans are all listed as 6 feet tall, and that height was a definite advantage over Woodlawn, whose only player capable of matching up with them was 6-2 freshman center Kim Carr.
"We try to use our strengths to our advantage, but as soon as we got the rebound, they were swarming us like gnats," said Phillips, who also had 13 rebounds and a block. "They were really aggressive and tenacious. . . . Yeah, we had the height, but they had the quickness and the speed."
With Woodlawn within 10 and less than seven minutes remaining, Freeman found her groove. She scored 11 points, including 3 of 3 free throw shooting, to spark a 14-2 run. When it was over, Churchill had a 57-35 lead with 4 minutes 10 seconds remaining.
"I didn't play well in the beginning, but it ended up being fun," said Freeman, who averaged 17.4 points per game in the postseason. "The ball just wasn't falling in the hoop for me. All my dreams have come true so far. I already got [the state title] once, and a second time, that's just a perfect dream right there. It's even more special because this is my last game."
The Bulldogs held Woodlawn (24-1) to six points in the second period, taking a 30-17 halftime lead. The Warriors never had a lead and trailed by 22 going into the fourth quarter. Junior guard Brittney Taylor, who led the Warriors to a surprise 54-50 win against Oxon Hill in Thursday's semifinal, scored all of her team-high 13 points in the second half.
"Churchill shot well from the floor," said Woodlawn Coach DeWayne Burroughs. "I thought we got off to a slow start. The officials took us out of it immediately. Other than that, I thought it was a good ball game."
Churchill's losses this season came in consecutive games, on Dec. 19 and Dec. 26, to Springbrook and Westminster, respectively. Since those games, the Bulldogs have outscored opponents by an average of 77-44.
"It's so much better this year, because last year I was on the verge of throwing up, I was so nervous," Phillips said. "This year I could relax and could enjoy the moment."