- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Griffin Dempsey scored 30 points as St. Joseph beat St. Marys 83-48 Saturday for its sixth consecutive girls Class A basketball championship.

Rachel Lee added 21 points and 10 rebounds, Mychal Johnson had 15 points and nine assists and Asia Petitte scored 13 for the Irish (23-3), who made their claim as the best program in girls state history.

St. Joseph broke the all-classes mark for state titles that it shared with Class AA’s Summers County, which won five straight from 2007-11. The boys team from Northfork holds the overall mark of eight straight won from 1974-81.

St. Marys (24-2) had 23 turnovers and lost to St. Joseph for the fourth time in the championship game since 2010.

Ashley Hall led St. Marys with 17 points. Kendra Walker, who averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds in two earlier tournament games, had nine points and 14 rebounds Saturday.



Unlike the semifinals, when St. Joseph struggled to take control until late in the second period, the Irish had the momentum from the start in the championship game.

St. Joseph raced to a 21-7 lead after the first quarter and led 42-18 at halftime.

The Irish had 10 3-pointers in the first half alone and finished with a tournament-record 17, breaking the mark of 11 it set in the semifinals.

Mychal Johnson, who has signed to play next season at Notre Dame, left the game early in the second quarter after getting hit in the midsection. Her sister, Mychelle, went to the bench to have her right shin wrapped in ice in the third quarter. Both returned to the game.

St. Joseph just kept on going, winning for the 73rd straight time against in-state competition. The last loss to a West Virginia school came to Wheeling Central in the 2008 championship game.

One by one, St. Joseph coach Shannon Lewis hugged his starters one final time as they were taken out of the game in the closing minutes as the St. Joseph fans yelled “Thank you, seniors.”

The Irish bid goodbye to six of them and will be challenged to push its run to seven straight titles next year. Mychelle Johnson, a sophomore, is the team’s top returning scorer at about 5 points per game.

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