With standout junior Amari Carter hampered by the pain of a stress fracture in her left tibia, No. 4 St. John’s was forced to look elsewhere for point production in Thursday’s D.C. State Athletic Association championship game.
St. John’s senior Britani Stowe is familiar with the bright lights of the Verizon Center, the site of Thursday’s contest — her mother worked as a guest relations coordinator at the arena for nearly 14 years until Novemeber. And with her team in need of an offensive spark, the guard played like the seasoned veteran she is, matching her career high with 16 points to lead the Cadets to a 58-42 win over No. 9 Georgetown Visitation and the DCSAA title.
The victory helped dispel the taste of the Cadets’ Washington Catholic Athletic Association title game loss to Paul VI last week.
“This was a game that we wanted to win regardless of the fact we lost the WCAC title,” Stowe said. “We wanted to let everyone know that we still are the best team.”
The Eastern Michigan recruit was matched up with the Cubs leading scorer Alexis Gray and held the explosive sophomore to seven points on the night. The Cadets’ high intensity man-to-man defense forced 12 turnovers and the Cubs shot 44.1 percent (15-for-34 from the field).
“She’s had a great year all year long,” St. John’s Coach Jonathan Scribner said of Stowe, who he has coached since she was in fifth grade. “She’s grown as a floor leader and come through over and over in big games for us all season long.”
The Cadets (25-7) shot just 36.8 percent from the floor but won the rebounding battle, 33-24, to create second chance opportunities. They also showed tremendous ball security with just six turnovers.
St. John’s led by 10 at the half, but Visitation, which suffered a 70-48 loss to the Cadets in early February, roared back. Their 14-8 run out of the break cut the deficit to one point with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.
But Carter, who had just four points entering the final quarter with her team nursing a 39-35 edge, knocked down three crucial three-pointers and she and Stowe combined to score 11 points during a 13-4 Cadets run to start the fourth that put the game away.
“It was tough, but I tried not to let it affect me a lot,” Carter said. “Britani came through and stepped up a lot. I knew in my mind I needed to make those shots and I did that.”
Visitation senior Sarah Tierney scored a game-high 19 points and kept the Cubs (27-4) in the game as in inside-out threat. She knocked down four three-pointers on the night and was the only Cubs player to crack double-figures.
St. John’s will head to Cumberland for the Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational Tournament this weekend, looking to cap their season with another title. But Stowe, who was named most valuable player Thursday, and her teammates were eager to relish this one first.
“I’m just honored,” Stowe said. “It’s an amazing experience for me.”