ROANOKE, Va. – On what was a jam packed Saturday full of Championship action, the day started with the Class 1 Boys Championship: Altavista at Parry McCluer. The Fighting Blues head coach Mike Cartolaro is very familiar with the Colonels--considering he led that program to 4 VHSL State Championships (2003, 2013, 2014, 2015). The Colonels current head coach, Casey Johnson, played under Cartolaro during his stint at Virginia High School, where he led that program to 2 state tournament births. Needless to say, the game featured more storylines than a WWE main event.
Altavista had the upper hand early, jumping to a 12-4 advantage in the first quarter. Parry McCluer would find a solution to the Colonels zone defense in the second quarter, outscoring them 13-3.
Spencer Hamilton scored 17 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks in the 56-39 win, as Parry McCluer won its first VHSL State Championship in program history.
“You know, you got a guy averaging 25 and he’s got two points and you’re up and we told him, you know, we told him that we’re okay. We’ll be alright, this is a state game and we’re taking a punch from a very good team but, he got a little bit comfortable in the second half. I thought that was a huge difference,” said Parry McCluer coach Mike Cartolaro.
“It was a little tougher. Usually I feel like I can go on the paint hard, you know, but they were pretty dominant on defense and they took advantage of me in a post so yeah, it was a little hard in the first half,” said Hamilton.
In Class 4 Girls action, Pulaski County welcomed in Louisa County to the Cougars den. They would jump out to a 20-13 advantage before the Lions started knocking down shots. Olivia McGhee scored 16 points for Louisa County who led for much of the second half. Ally Fleenor of Pulaski County cut the deficit down to 4 with under four minutes to play. But, the Lions hot shooting led them to a 59-51 championship victory.
“Two out of three years we’ve been to state title game, we get a little closer every year,” said Pulaski County head coach Scott Ratcliff.
“Hopefully we will have a good offseason this year, we’re going to have a good travel year, should be an exciting year next year. I believe someone said Louisa is dropping down to our region next year so should be a hell of a region next year.”
In Class 5, the Patrick Henry girls program has continued to raise the bar under head coach Mike Hedrick. This season they reached a VHSL State Championship game for the first time in program history. Their opponent? An 11-time state champion (7 consecutive title wins) in perennial power Princess Anne.
The Patriots came out unbothered by the Cavaliers historic track record, playing their game and knocking down shots, which led to a 12-12 game after the opening quarter. Princess Anne went to halftime with the lead but it was only by 6. Savannah Derey led the team with 18 points.
But Princess Anne hit another gear in the second half thanks to North Carolina State commit, Aziaha James. She would score 32 points in what proved to be a 56-41 victory for the Cavaliers.
“We gave them every single thing they could handle. We were right in the game, our mindset was phenomenal we followed the game plan with exactly what we wanted to do. The difference was, we made a few turnovers we didn’t want to and we had some shots that didn’t go in,” said Patrick Henry head coach Mike Hedrick.
With the win Princess Anne has now won 8 consecutive VHSL State Championships, 12 overall as a program.