Bishop stages unlikely Hollywood ending
It isn’t very often that a high school girls basketball coach likens his team to a character in a horror movie. But the Bishop McGuinness girls, perhaps just this one time, will gladly take it.
Trailing by 11 with less than six minutes to go, the Villains did what they’ve done so many times this season — they rallied. Despite struggling all game, Bishop got several key stops and finally made some shots during the most critical stretch of the game.
That was just enough for the Villains to overtake River Mill in the final minutes for a 57-52 win and emerge with their eighth straight NCHSAA 1A state championship title Saturday afternoon in N.C. State’s Reynolds Coliseum.
“It’s funny. Before we came over this morning, we had a little meeting and we talked about how much we’ve been down all year,” coach Brian Robinson said. “It’s kind of like the Friday the 13th movies. Jason’s dead in Part I, Part II and Part III and then here comes Jason again.
“It’s really an amazing comeback by our team,” he said, with his players around him laughing at the comparison.
For a long time on Saturday, things didn’t look good for Bishop. They didn’t look good either back on Jan. 21 in a 44-21 loss at Providence Day that dropped them to 8-6. Since then, though, the Villains won 16 of 17 games to reach the final.
The perseverance they learned in emerging from that early-season lull played a role all the way to the end.
“We just have a don’t-give-up mentality,” said junior forward Cameron Nieters, who was named the West’s Most Outstanding Player. “When things go wrong, we fight through it and that was the difference in the game today.”
Julia Brown, who had 17 points and 14 rebounds in earning the Kay Yow Most Valuable Player award, talked about focusing on one aspect in her game in helping her get other areas rolling while she’s struggling.
“Coach always talks about how when things aren’t going your way on one half of the court, you have to do it on the other half of the court,” she said. “So, it’s just trying to focus on defense. I know for me I just think, ‘OK, I have to rebound.’ Rebounding kind of centers me as a player.”
In the end, it took a lot longer than Bishop (25-7) — which even had to overcome its team bus breaking down Friday — would’ve liked to finally get rolling. But eventually everything that they put into the season came to fruition in those moments.
“It feels really good at the end of the game when we’re just walking off,” sophomore guard Tessa Johnston said. “You kind of realize that we just came back and won this. It is a great feeling.”