Cachet Murray had 30 points and 12 rebounds in the victory.
GIRARD - Girard High School senior Cachet Murray stood dribbling the ball at halfcourt, anxiously waiting for the final 5 seconds to run off the clock in the Indians' game against Champion High on Thursday.
As soon as the buzzer sounded, she tossed the ball in the air and the gymnasium was filled with the song "We Are The Champions."
Surrounded by coaches and fans, Girard danced to the beat of a 52-38 victory that made it reign supreme in the Trumbull Athletic Conference for the third time in four years.
Champion (13-5, 9-3) mustered its only lead of the game when Hillary Beachy scored from the right block at the 5:22 mark in the first quarter to put the Flashes ahead 6-3. Murray then recaptured the lead for the Indians with a layup at the 4:10 mark that put them on top for good.
The Flashes, however, were not about to go down without a fight, and kept it close by double-teaming Murray on defense and trailed only 12-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter was key
Things changed offensively for Girard (18-0, 12-0) in the second quarter as Murray found her groove and scored nine of the Indians' 14 points in the quarter -- twice getting the rebound at the defensive end and going coast-to-coast to score.
Murray, who is bound for the University of Mississippi to run track, finished with a game-high 30 points and 12 rebounds.
& quot;She's a phenomenal athlete," said Girard coach Andrew Saxon of the speedster, who won the Ohio state track championship in the 100 and 200 meters as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
"Her outside shot has come around, and if she can hit that shot, it's tough to stop her."
Girard's lead ballooned to 12 in the third quarter when senior Lora Doran hit back-to-back 15-footers from the left baseline to put the Indians up 35-23 at the 2:44 mark. But Champion's Jessica Wood finished the quarter with five straight points to cut the lead to 37-28 heading into the last period.
Wood finished with a team-high 19 points and six rebounds, while Elizabeth Ghindia added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Flashes.
The start of the final quarter proved to be more than the Flashes could handle as Murray scored seven consecutive points to start the quarter and put the game out of reach at 44-32 with 4:10 left in the game.
Although Murray is the one that draws the special defenses and gets all the glory, Saxon was not about to overlook the importance of the rest of the team.
"We know Cachet is a given, and I told them that," said the Indians' coach of 21 years.
"But the thing about tonight was that our other girls played really, really well. The other five seniors really stepped it up and scored for us. That put a lot of pressure on them [Flashes] because now they have to stop our whole team, not just one person."
Seniors Lauren Adams and Jessica Bowser added seven and five points, respectively.
Girard, which still has TAC contests against Hubbard and Newton Falls before tipping off in the Division III tournament, has not lost a TAC contest in two years and has never been undefeated at this point in the season.
But Murray wants more.
"This is the greatest feeling in the world," Murray exclaimed.
"This is my last year playing basketball. We're undefeated and ranked fifth in the state. It couldn't be any better! I'm looking for that trip to Columbus, to state. I've been there three years for track, and I'm trying to get there one year for basketball. & quot;