Twice, Kane had stepped to the foul line in the waning moments of Saturday’s Virginia A Division 2 state championship with her team clinging to a one-point lead. Both times, she converted her free throws, lifting the Mustangs (26-5) to their third state title in four seasons with a 50-47 win over Gate City at Siegel Center.
“I was really nervous,” said Kane, who finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds. “I have actually never been that nervous in my life. I’m surprised I knocked them down, but I stayed focused and concentrated on the foul shot.”
The shots were the defining moments in the Mustangs’ win, but also just a small snapshot of a vital performance from Kane, who grabbed the reins when Cheney, Mason’s leading scorer, fouled out with more than four minutes remaining.
Cheney (10 points, 11 rebounds) was in foul trouble throughout, and two calls sent her to the bench for good with 4 minutes 22 seconds left and Mason trailing, 41-40.
“You really can’t do anything, it’s the refs’ call at the end of the game,” Cheney said. “And in retrospect I wouldn’t give it back for anything, because my teammates had my back.”
Indeed, several players stepped up in the final minutes to fight off Gate City (17-14), which showed the same fight that had carried it to the state title game after opening the season 5-11.
Senior Krista Kelly was superb on the defensive end, freshman Katie Goodwin dominated the boards and sophomore Ashley Alexander had two huge baskets in a two-minute stretch to give the Mustangs a 44-42 lead with 1:58 remaining.
“I was nervous,” Alexander said. “But I just kept thinking it was my first state championship, I want to win.”
Finally, with the game in doubt, Kane made six free throws and had three rebounds in the final minutes, including a huge offensive rebound to maintain Mason’s narrow advantage and secure yet another state title.
“It feels awesome,” Kane said. “Literally one of best moments I’ve ever experienced. It feels good to end the season this way.”
Complete state tournament coverage at AllMetSports.com