TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — Oregon-Davis senior Ashley Campbell saved her best performance for last.
The senior guard scored a career-high 35 points, setting a Class A record, in leading the Bobcats to a 69-64 victory over Vincennes-Rivet in the girls Class A state basketball championship Saturday.
Campbell was hot from the start and helped deliver the knockout blow from the foul line late. The Bobcats (23-2) were in control most of the game, but the Patriots cut the lead to 67-62 lead with 57 seconds to play.
Campbell calmly stepped to the foul stripe and knocked down the final two of her 12 free throws. That closed the door on a Vincennes-Rivet comeback. Campbell said she was not aware she was on a record pace as she continued to create ways to score.
“When you’re in that zone, you don’t stop to think about much of anything,” Campbell said. “You can’t hear anything but your teammates. And when you’re in that zone, nothing else matters.”
Her performance was the first 30-point game in a state final since Carmel’s Chrissy Steffen had 31 in 2008 and helped Oregon-Davis claim its second state title since 2006-07.
“These kids are a determined group of kids,” Oregon-Davis coach Terry Minix said. “After watching the ’07 team, they wanted to emulate that. And once the tournament started, they turned it up a notch.”
Senior guard Jessica Avarone pitched in with 16 points, four rebounds and three steals. Her efforts on defense contributed to the pressure Vincennes-Rivet felt from the Bobcats for most of the game. She also banked in a 3-pointer from 28 feet to beat the first-quarter buzzer.
Vincennes-Rivet was led by sophomore guard Kelsey Ivers, who scored 23 points and grabbed six rebounds. Senior forward Lauren Herman added 21 for the Patriots (22-5). Herman was then named the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude award winner.
After falling behind 15-4 early in the game and trailing by double digits much of the contest, Vincennes-Rivet clawed its way back into the game by outscoring Oregon-Davis in both the third and fourth quarters.
The Patriots had pulled within five before Campbell iced the game. They attempted to erase a 10-point deficit with less than three minutes to play and control appeared to be slipping away from Oregon-Davis.
But Campbell calmly stepped up when her team needed her, and Vincennes-Rivet’s attempt at a late comeback was thwarted.
“We just spotted them too much,” Vincennes-Rivet coach Tim Young said. “I’m proud of the way our girls didn’t give up.”
Young said his team couldn’t stop Campbell from creating her own shots most of the game and continuously getting into the lane for easy looks.
“She’s just a great, young player,” Young said. “If you’ve scouted her, she’s done that all year. You have to pick your poison against Oregon-Davis. They’re a great team and we knew that.”
Oregon-Davis finished the season with a 10-game win streak. With the net and her state championship medal hanging from her neck, Campbell said the season ended as it should have.
“There’s no better feeling in the world,” Campbell said. “It’s indescribable.”