“We thought we had the momentum at 41-37 and we had [Richwoods star Camryn Taylor] with four fouls,” Eddie Stritzel said. “Annie went to the hole and missed a shot I thought she should have made to put us up six.
“We tried to get Annie in the high post to get some drives, but they switched to a 2-3 half-court trap and we didn’t attack that well at all. We got passive and the more passive you get, when you get passive, the more aggressive they get.”
Nazareth missed nine shots and three free throws and committed three turnovers on its first 12 possession of the final quarter. The Knights attacked relentlessly and took the lead for good when Jaida McCloud sank two free throws for a 42-41 lead with 3:16 left.
Richwoods made 12 straight free throws at one point and finished 24-for-31 from the line.
The Roadrunners, meanwhile, went 6-for-12 at the line and 17-for-43 from the floor. Annie Stritzel, who was brilliant with 29 points in Friday’s 58-25 semifinal win over Breese Central, finished with 17 points on 6-for-18 shooting.
But Alyssa Geary nearly single-handedly made Stritzel’s shooting woes a moot point.
The 6-foot-4 Providence recruit capped her career with a brilliant all-around performance which included a team-high 18 points, a state title game-record 12 blocked shots and eight rebounds.
“I can’t even speak to what Alyssa did tonight,” said Annie Stritzel, who had nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. “Some of us didn’t play very well and she didn’t get enough support.
“I wasn’t having my greatest scoring night but having Alyssa backing me up was unbelievable. Every time she touched the ball I knew she was scoring and there was not one time I was worried on defense. I knew she was blocking the shot every time.”