RICHMOND — Before leaving the court as a Virginia Class 6 champion, Woodbridge forward Aaliyah Pitts took one last glance at the wooden championship trophy and read its inscription to her teammates.
Woodbridge’s players could hardly believe they were playing in the program’s first state title game at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center on Wednesday night. Fifteen minutes after their 64-43 victory over Cosby to claim the state title, they were still in shock celebrating.
“Speechless,” said forward Camryn Platt-Morris, who scored a game-high 18 points. “It’s honestly surreal.”
“We’re just over the moon right now,” said Coach Tamika Dudley, who played at Woodbridge in the late-1990s. “We can’t believe we’re here and we won the game.”
Woodbridge (29-1) fell in the Class 6 quarterfinals each of the previous three years, so beating T.C. Williams in Monday’s semifinals was a milestone on its own. Two days later, the Vikings dominated Cosby (23-5), which had won four of the previous five Class 6 titles, to cap the season with a 20-game win streak.
There were flashes of how good these Vikings could be in the preseason. But there was a still period of adjustment after graduating two of their top players.
“I knew if we could bring that together into one good game,” Platt-Morris said, “nobody could stop us.”
Dudley called Woodbridge’s loss to Chartiers Valley (Pa.) on Dec. 22 the “lowest point” of the season. About three weeks later, the Vikings won both their games at the Say Yes to Success Showcase in New York. With their chemistry clicking, Dudley saw the best group in her eight years at managing the Prince William County school.
On Wednesday, Woodbridge players said their nerves faded when they surged to a first-quarter lead behind their full-court press. Vikings fans were also excited for the rare opportunity, packing a section of the bleachers and chanting “Woodbridge” throughout the game.
The Vikings, expected to lose just two players to graduation, led by two points after the third quarter, but relied on their size advantage in the final period to take control. They held Cosby without a field goal in the fourth.
The Vikings’ festivities began with just over a minute remaining. Platt-Morris, who said she’s dreamed of guiding Woodbridge to a state title since fifth grade, finished an and-one layup to provide her team a 17-point edge. Dudley flashed a wide grin and began hugging her assistant coaches.
Six years ago, Dudley said she questioned whether she was prepared to coach after her squad finished with consecutive losing records. Wednesday night, when the final buzzer sounded, Dudley joined her players jumping around midcourt.
“It was sigh of relief,” Dudley said. “It was a long time in the making for us.”