Parry McCluer girls are back-to-back state champions

Fighting Blues stave off Surry Co. in championship

RICHMOND, Va. – For the first time since 2005, our area didn't have a boys' program advance to the State Finals which means it's all about the ladies. The Parry McCluer Fighting Blues made their second consecutive trip here and were looking to become back-to-back champions.

They had a tough battle with Surry County. Both sides came out shooting ice cold -- just a combined 5 of 27 from the field. Peyton Mohler proved to be big for the Blues with 13 first-half points.

But Surry County closed the gap before halftime. Tatianna Stewart put in 6 points in just nine minutes. The lead was 21-16 at the break.

In the second half, Parry McCluer opened it up to a 14-point lead, thanks in large part to Hailey Huffman. After hitting one bucket in the first half, she went on a tear hitting four of five shots, finishing with 10 points.

"I knew we had to pick it up a little bit and I just did whatever I had to," Huffman said.

The Cougars never went away. They cut the lead down to as little as 4 points with a big 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter. But Blues senior guard Kate Beverly hit a clutch layup and drew a foul to put a seal on this one as Parry McCluer goes on to a 51-42 victory, and are crowned back-to-back Class 1 state champs.

"It wasn't the prettiest game in the world to watch, but we did enough to get the job done late," said head coach Adam Gilbert.

"I thought Surry ... hats off to them. Every time we'd pull ahead 10 or 12 points they would make a run and cut it. But there in the fourth quarter when it felt like momentum was beginning to shift their way, our kids really buckled down and responded well."

This wave of success could continue next season for the Blues as they return all but two starters.

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