NEWARK – While many in Delaware’s high school basketball community had written in Ursuline Academy as the girls’ basketball state champion before Friday evening’s final, someone forgot to let Caravel Academy in on the secret. The No. 2 Buccaneers stayed remarkably close to the top-seeded Raiders, but they had no answer for senior Adrianna Hahn, who exploded for 29 points in Ursuline’s 53-41 win at the Bob Carpenter Center.
It was Ursuline’s first title since 2012, Hahn’s freshman year, and the school’s 15th overall. For Hahn, it was the realization of a goal that she personally and the team collectively had set a long time ago. After the game ended, the Raiders and their coaches lingered on the Carpenter Center floor until security asked them and their fans to vacate the building.
Ursuline junior Kailyn Kampert takes to the air while teammates Dakota Raymond (red shirt), Alisha Lewis, Adrianna Hahn and Sabriya Harris watch the final seconds tick off in the Raiders’ 53-41 championship win over Caravel. (The Dialog/www.DonBlakePhotography.com)
“This has been our goal since the first day of the season, all 15 of us and the coaching staff,” Hahn said. “We’ve worked so hard, we accomplished so much, and I’m so proud. This is the best way to end it. I didn’t want to leave anything out on the floor. I didn’t want to regret anything. I wanted to give my 100 percent and remember this for the rest of my life.”
Hahn was on a mission Friday, scoring all 10 of her team’s first-quarter points despite Caravel employing a box-and-one defense and draping senior Ky’Asia Stanford on her. When it was over – 10 field goals, four assists, numerous crossovers and several drop steps later – Hahn cradled the state championship trophy that had been her main target since 2012.
Ursuline’s Adrianna Hahn drives during the second quarter. She scored 29 points to lead the Raiders. (The Dialog/www.
The Raiders were not at their best in the first quarter, which is when they are accustomed to putting opponents away. Caravel’s offense and ball control were lacking, however, and Hahn gave the Raiders a 10-4 lead after one quarter. Alyssa Irons came off the bench to drain a three-pointer early in the second, and it appeared as if Ursuline might finally have found its momentum.
Over the next three minutes, however, the Buccaneers stormed back, going on a 10-point run to take their only lead of the game at 14-13. Micah Morgan started the run with a layup, followed by another easy bucket from Stanford. The Buccaneers kept pounding it inside, with three more layups by Caroline Davis and two by Morgan.
Ursuline coach John Noonan let his team play its way through the point streak instead of calling a timeout. He said his coaching staff believes in letting the players figure things out on their own.
“They’ve overcome every obstacle all year, and that’s what we were saying there on the bench. Let the kids get out there and fix it. We say it in practice every day, fix it. We don’t believe in blowing timeouts. And that’s exactly what happened tonight. The kids just went out there and played basketball,” he said.
Hahn restored order after the last Morgan field goal with her own layup and a free throw, and the Raiders were on their way. They answered the Caravel streak with a 10-point run of their own, holding the Bucs scoreless for the last 4:23 of the half save for an old-fashioned three-point play by Grace Lange with 11 seconds to go.
An Ursuline player gives the state championship trophy a kiss after Friday night’s win. (The Dialog/www.DonBlakePhotography.com)
The teams played evenly throughout the third. When Caravel pulled to within 30-29 with five straight points, the Raiders responded by scoring 10 of the next 12. Seven of those were scored by Hahn, but eighth-grader Alisha Lewis also knocked down her only field goal of the night, and Kailyn Kampert drilled a big trey. Kampert hit six of seven free-throw attempts down the stretch to help keep Caravel at bay.
Kampert was an eighth-grader on the varsity roster when the Raiders won in 2012, and she tied her mother, Sue Manelski Kampert, with her second championship. Sue Kampert was a member of two state champions (1980 and ’81) during her storied career at Padua. Kailyn Kampert said this title means more than the one from three years ago.
“It’s so much better. Obviously, we’re 15 strong and every member matters, but playing for it, there’s no better feeling,” she said.
Noonan said “50 to 100” people had approached him in the days leading up to Friday’s matchup wishing the Raiders good luck, but that he wouldn’t really need it since his team was that good. After all, Ursuline had defeated Caravel by 20 in the regular season. He said that’s nonsense.
“Look, we all watch sports,” he said. “It never happens that way. You beat someone in the regular season, it’s a regular-season game. You beat somebody in the tournament, it’s a tournament game. The intensity level is off the charts.”
The future looks bright for Ursuline, which started a lineup that had one player each from eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th and 12 grades. Hahn is the lone departing starter, and despite the huge hole that will leave, Noonan can look forward to having Kampert, Lewis, Maggie Connolly and Kryshell Gordy return. Gordy was instrumental in the state championship win, grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. Ursuline finished with a 23-1 record, its lone loss coming in the Diamond State Classic to a Pennsylvania powerhouse.
Kampert finished with nine points – all in the final quarter – and six rebounds. For Caravel, which finished at 16-8, Stanford led with 14 points before fouling out with 2:09 to go, while Morgan added 13.