Battle of the champs by Adrian Curry
When you get to the final game of the season in division 1. You have to be not only great but dominate. The last two state champs in both pickerington central and mount notre dame been the two dominate teams all season long. The last loss for mnd was against centerville and pickerington central it was over the Christmas holiday season in dc. Something had to give as you had two great defensive teams going at with d1 committed players on both sides. The game was a slugfest with both teams feeling each other out. Pick central was able to make some great plays leading to an early 13-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the 2nd quarter, Mount notre dame started to assert itself down low with Julia hoeffling dominating inside and getting guard play from kk bransford and makira cook. Pickerington central did a great job of taking away Gabbie Marshall out of the game with aggressive trapping and double teams to make someone else beat them. At halftime mnd led by 3, 19-16. With mnd!s short bench you thought the pick central would wear them down with their depth but that wasn’t the case. After tying it at 22, they went back inside and restored order and got timely baskets from their guards. Pick central still played great defense and was right in the game at 32-29. The 4th quarter is where the game was won. Pick central went cold not scoring for over 6 1/2 minutes while Gabbie Marshall and her teammates got hot going on an 18-0 run that put the game away. Mnd outscored pickerington central 20-2 over the final period making a close game into run away at the end with the final score 52-31. For the game mnd shot over 50% while pickerington central only shot 25% for the game and that was the difference. Both teams had high expectations at the beginning of the season to get back to this game. For mount notre dame it was a return back to the championship game a year absence and as for pickerington central a return to prominence as they go back to back final fours and were a quarter away from back to back championships. Both teams have bright futures and will be favorites to make a return trip to Columbus as they both have talented underclassmen coming back next year and will reload. Pickerington central and their senior class have left a legacy not to be forgotten with 4 straight occ titles, 2 final fours, 2 sweet 16 berths and 1 state championship. They will pass on the torch to future lady tigers to live up to.