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Knights Come Up Short in Upper State Championship Game

Knights Come Up Short in Upper State Championship Game

Denmark-Olar pulled away in the third quarter and went on to a 52-41 win over St. Joseph's in the Class 1A girls basketball Upper State championship at the Florence Center Monday afternoon.

In some ways, it ended for the Knights as it had the previous season, in the state semifinals against Denmark-Olar. In fact, if not for Evie Adams' 3-pointer as time expired, the score would have been the same, 52-38.

But this team took significant steps forward, increasing its win total from 15 to 21; earning a share of the region title (last year's team finished third) and the top seed; and then having three playoff games at home (last year's route to the Upper State was all on the road).

And although the Knights fell behind 20-11 midway through the second quarter, they battled back.

With 13 seconds left in the half, Lola Kelly scored on a drive. Then she made a steal and layup that just beat the buzzer, pulling the Knights to within 22-19 by halftime.

Tiffany Helmer, who had 11 points and five rebounds, did a great job of taking the ball to the basket and getting to the line; she made 5 of 8 free-throw attempts.

Harper Greer, who also had 11 points and five boards, scored inside with 5:08 left in the third quarter to keep the Knights within three at 26-23.

But then they hit a cold spell. They went more than five minutes without scoring. By the time Kelly got loose on a break and scored just before the end of the quarter, Denmark-Olar (25-3) had a 36-25 lead.

Helmer scored on a drive early in the fourth quarter, but the Knights (21-9) hit another dry spell, this one of more than four minutes. It was too much to overcome.

Kelly finished with 10 points. Adelia Stefanik had four points, Adams three points and Ava Catherine Elder two points.

Congratulations to Head Coach Natalie Satterfield, Assistant Coach Will Satterfield and all the Knights on another tremendous season.

That's back-to-back seasons in the Final Four. That's quite an achievement.