Makayla Van Nett kept scoring, Elaina Jones kept rebounding, and Raiyne Adams kept hitting free throws.
When all was said and done, St. Paul Como Park had captured its third straight Twin City girls’ basketball championship, defeating Minneapolis South 66-63 before a capacity crowd. The game was a see-saw battle with multiple lead changes. Van Nett — a junior guard who finished with a game-high 27 points — came with her bag of tricks of shooting, ball handling and penetration to keep the Cougars on pace with the host Tigers.
South, who earned the right to play in the intercity classic with a 14-0 conference record, followed the leadership of guard Morgan Hill, the junior guard who used her repertoire of hoop skills to lead her team with 22 points.
Eighth grader Jade Hill (Morgan’s sister) added 15, junior forward Ariyon Kelly chipped in 11, and sophomore Solan Cushing had nine, all on timely three-point shots. Como Park got timely rebounds and put backs from Jones, a sophomore, who had finished with 14 and 14 rebounds, and clutch free throw shooting from Adams, who had eight.
Adams had initially missed two crucial free throws in the closing minutes but got redemption when she was fouled twice and converted three of four down the stretch.
The Cougars came into the contest after sporting a 10-0 St. Paul City Conference record.
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Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.