Keira Robinson was determined to end her high school career with a basketball championship.
So on Saturday at Colonial Life Arena, the senior forward posted a game-high 17 points to lead her Keenan Raiders to the Class 2A title. The Raiders defeated defending champion Bishop England 46-41.
“I was kind of nervous, but being here for the second time, I just knew I had to play big. And I wasn’t leaving here without a championship,” said Robinson.
She posted seven points, two steals and a rebound in the fourth quarter.
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Robinson and guard Daisha Eddy both were sophomores on the Raiders team that lost the 2011 title game in overtime.
“We should have won the first time we were here, but to win now, my senior year, it’s indescribable,” said Eddy, who posted 14 points, five rebounds and three steals in her final game.
“Our seniors played very big for us today,” said Keenan coach Reggie McLain, whose Raiders finish 20-6.
Though the Raiders held a modest lead early in the game, McLain said, they fell behind by playing Bishop England’s game late in the first half.
Robinson and the Raiders turned the game around by getting back to their fast-paced transition game.
“At halftime, we said we were not going to lose this game, and we came out and got to it,” Robinson said.
It took six minutes of the third period for the Raiders to erase their seven-point halftime deficit. Robinson pulled the Raiders even with two free throws with 1:54 left in the session, then put them in the lead, 29-26, with a clean stroke from the top of the key.
But going into the fourth quarter, the Raiders trailed 30-29.
The Bishops’ first possession of the fourth ended in a turnover that Keenan turned into a Leon Hill layup for the lead.
When Bishop England again built a three-point lead, Robinson responded with a putback layup, steal and two free throws to put the Raiders in front with 5:35 to play.
Eddy added four free throws in the next two minutes to extend Keenan’s lead to 39-34, the Raiders’ largest of the game.
Eddy then picked Michele Boykin’s pocket to give the Raiders possession with 2:38 left and was immediately fouled. Another free throw put the Raiders up six.
Boykin left the game with an injury with two minutes to go, finishing with 15 points.
Keenan led by three points after eight minutes. But in the second quarter, the Raiders’ 16-percent field goal shooting kept them from pulling away.
Instead, Mia Kiernan’s jumper pulled the Bishops even with six minutes left in the half, and a 3-point bucket by Eran Artigues put the Bishops up one. When the Raiders answered with a three from Daisha Eddy, Artigues put up another long ball that gave Bishop England a one-point lead, and the Bishops began to pull away.
McLain switched the Raiders to man-to-man defense to take control of the rhythm of the game in the second half.
“It’s very satisfying for us to get a win,” McLain said. “This team worked very hard in the summer, they worked hard in the preseason and now they get the chance to celebrate.”
K: Reaves 6, Keira Robinson 17, Rudder 4, Hill 3, Daisha Eddy 14, D. Robinson 2. B: James 2, Mary Harriet Moore 10, Kiernan 2, Michele Boykin 15, Artigues 8, Archambault 4.