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Sadie Shores and the Woodgrove girls are state champions after defeating Hampton 68-58.

Woodgrove takes down Hampton, wins state championship 68-58

It’s mission complete for Derek Fisher, Sadie Shores, Angelina Nice, and the Woodgrove Wolverines.

Friday afternoon at Siegel Center in Richmond, freshman Amaya Ramey scored 26 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to give the Wolverines their first basketball state title in school history, 68-58 over Hampton in the Class 4 Championship.

Wolverines freshman Amaya Ramey was dominant on the biggest stage, scoring 26 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.

The Woodgrove program reached the Class 5 Finals two years ago, but fell at Siegel to Menchville. In that game Shores and Nice were sophomores, and Nice didn’t play due to injury.

“This is something that took a lot of work…it’s not a one-year thing working up to this,” said Coach Fisher. “We’re just as proud as we can possibly be.”

“I honestly don’t think I was ready for this my sophomore year,” said Shores. “My mindset going into this season–I thought we were ready, and I thought I was ready.”

Against Hampton, Woodgrove led most of the way following a nervous first quarter after which the game was tied at nine apiece. Things began to open up in the second quarter as the Wolverines started to hit threes, their calling card. Sophomore Lyla Brown and freshman May Marsh hit from long range, as the Wolverines got out to a 23-16 lead, extending it to 29-21 by half.

The Wolverines (29-1) hit five first half threes, seven for the game, and as so often is the case that was a major reason for their success. With the victory Woodgrove even broke a VHSL record for most three-pointers in a season, with 259.

After the half, Woodgrove came out firing on all cylinders, extending its lead to 37-23. Hampton (23-4) responded with an 8-0 run, but Ramey delivered with a driving layup to stabilize the Woodgrove lead at 39-31. After that, Hampton cut the Wolverine lead to six a couple times, but a layup by Shores gave the Wolverines a 56-47 lead with 4:29 left.

Ramey stole the ball and delivered the ball up the court to Nice, who converted at the rim for a 62-52 lead with 1:46 left.

Then, the Wolverines faced a ton of adversity late, which they are no stranger to.

The Crabbers made it 62-58 with a quick 6-0 run in the next 15 seconds, off three layups and a couple of turnovers. Shortly thereafter Shores, the Stony Brook commit and Wolverines’ point guard, tweaked her ankle and left the ball game. She came back in quickly, but then quickly fouled out.

Freshman Mya Bundick hit three out of four free throws in the closing minutes.

The Wolverines stepped up without Shores. The Woodgrove defense didn’t allow Hampton to score again, and when the physical Crabbers fouled, the Wolverines delivered. Freshman Mya Bundick and Nice hit six of eight free throws, and the celebration was on.

“We figured we were tough enough for the moment, and we were,” said Fisher.

Woodgrove wasn’t an underdog coming into the game, but they delivered in a lot of key facets some didn’t expect. The Wolverines out-rebounded the athletic Crabbers 55-45, with Ramey leading the way on the boards. Nice added 12 rebounds to Ramey’s total, and junior center Valerie Blankenship had seven.

“They beat us on the boards, which was very surprising to us,” said Hampton Coach Shanda Bailey.

Angelina Nice (17 points, 12 rebounds) got to the basket late when her team needed it.

Nice finished with 17 points. As a senior, it capped an odyssey of a lifetime for her and teammates. There were many highs, but also significant lows, the most notable of which came when teammate Colette Baine unexpectedly passed away in the Fall of 2022.

“She’s with us every day,” said Fisher of Baine. “We showed up today and we were given locker room number 13 [her jersey number]. “She was an idol to these kids, these seniors…it was tough getting through that. She would have loved this game, everyone was on the floor, she’d have been all over that.”

Shores finished with nine points and seven assists. She played at Paul VI last year but came back to play at Woodgrove this season in order to attempt to win a state title. Mission accomplished.

“We’ve been playing together since like the third grade,” said Nice. “Her [Shores] coming back, we kind of knew before the season this was our last ride together.”

The star on this night, however, was the freshman Ramey. When asked if he was surprised that his freshman delivered in such a dominant fashion on such a big stage, Fisher, who got his first state title in 33 years of coaching, didn’t mince words.

“No…she’s a freshman and a young freshman at that,” said Fisher. “It took some time, but there’s been plenty of times when she’s been the best player on the floor for us.”

–Chris Jollay