Updated February 26, 2022 - 8:10 pm
RENO — Ever since Centennial won its first girls state basketball championship 20 years ago, it has been the program everyone is chasing.
Rarely have the Bulldogs dominated at a state tournament the way they did Saturday. Centennial made six 3-pointers and forced nine turnovers in the first quarter and never let up in a 93-34 win over Bishop Manogue in the Class 5A championship game at Lawlor Events Center.
“I’m happy. It’s been a long haul with this group,” Centennial coach Karen Weitz said. “We’ve been working for a couple years and haven’t had any high school ball, so to have this — and especially in this atmosphere — is great.”
The win gives Centennial its seventh straight state crown and 13th overall. It was also the Bulldogs’ largest margin of victory in a state championship game, surpassing a 97-52 win over Bishop Manogue in 2017.
Weitz’s 13th state title as a coach pulls her within one of the state record of 14 held by Pahranagat Valley’s Amy Huntsman.
“My biggest thrill is watching the kids that had never won one,” Weitz said. “Have I won one? Yes, but that means nothing. To watch these kids win is awesome, and they’ll have this the rest of their lives.”
Montaya Dew led 12 Bulldogs who scored with 15 points off the bench. Mary McMorris scored 12 and Kaniya Boyd 11 for Centennial (17-3).
McMorris, a senior signed to Northern Arizona, won her third ring. But for the majority of the Bulldogs, this was their first.
“It means a lot,” McMorris said. “I knew we could do it. We have the team. We have the group. It’s really exciting, especially seeing that a lot of them haven’t done it. We got it done, and a lot of people got their first ring.”
Weitz wasn’t pleased with her team’s offensive execution in Friday’s 65-9 win over Douglas, and her team received the message it needed to play better on that end.
“When you knock down shots, everything feels better,” Weitz said. “We’ve been working a lot on our shooting for the past month, so I think (today’s performance) is attributed to the girls putting in that work and having the confidence to make the shots. The inside-outside game worked a little better today, and that helped open up our shooters.”
Bishop Manogue scored 47 points in the first half of Friday’s semifinal against Spring Valley, but it had nowhere to turn early on against Centennial’s quickness, length and aggressiveness. Soleil Cariaga led the Miners with seven points.
Manogue (20-5) turned the ball over on its first three possessions and trailed 7-0 by the time it got its first shot attempt. It was 26-6 after the first quarter and 51-19 at halftime, but Weitz didn’t allow her team to let up.
In fact, McMorris admitted, that was one of the most difficult parts of the second half. The Bulldogs knew the game was over and were ready to celebrate, but they wanted to live up to the standard that Weitz demands.
“That was pretty hard,” McMorris said. “But coach stays on us the entire game to stay focused. With her, we’re always going to bounce back and refocus.”
Contact Jason Orts at email@example.com. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.