LA girls earn chance to defend state title

They’re back.

The Laurens Academy Crusaders girls’ basketball team will play for the SCISA Class A Championship for the third straight season, and will go for back-to-back state titles, after routing Cathedral Academy, 51-22, in Thursday’s semifinal round at Wilson Hall in Sumter.

The Crusaders advanced to play Dorchester Academy, which scored a 52-45 victory over Beaufort Academy in the other state semifinal. The championship game, slated for 11 a.m. at the Sumter Civic Center, is a rematch of the 2017 championship game won by Dorchester Academy.

In Thursday’s semifinal the Crusaders’ defense was dominant, holding the Generals without a point for the first 10 minutes. LA scored the game’s first 17 points and forced Cathedral Academy into 14 straight missed field goals to open the game. Cathedral Academy eventually finished the half 1 for 20 from the field.

“What I love about my team, and all 11 of the (players) is they take great pride in how they play defense,” LA Head Coach Jason Marlett said. “Blair had two points, but her rebounding and defense was off the charts. That is like scoring 15 (points).”

The Crusaders eventually led 28-5 at the half and pushed the lead to as much as 45-9 midway through the third quarter before easing off the gas.

Ruthie Moore led the Crusaders with 25 points, while Jennifer Wu added nine points and Florence Mitchell had six.

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