With Dami Sule underneath the basket, a missed shot was almost as good as a make for the Bakersfield Christian girls basketball team Saturday night.
Playing for a state title, the senior center proved unstoppable under the basket, recording 37 points to go along with 29 rebounds, as the Eagles captured the Division IV Southern California Girls Basketball Championship with a 60-46 win over the Academy of Our Lady of Peace out of San Diego.
“I knew this was going to be my last time playing on a BCHS court so I just gave it everything I’ve got," Sule said. "I said ‘By the time I’m done with this game, I need to be almost ready to pass out.' So that’s what I did.”
For much of the game, it was the Pilots who looked as if they were about to go under, as they had no answer for Sule. With the Eagles trailing 13-12 after one quarter, Sule recorded a putback layup on the first possession of the second period, kick-starting a 7-0 run that kept BCHS ahead the rest of the way.
She then put her stamp on the game late, grabbing an offensive rebound, bodying a defender to the ground and finishing with her around her ankles as she put in her 14th and final field goal of the night.
While Sule was the star, she got help as well. Jordyn Toler had 10 points while Addie Schaefer scored on back-to-back possessions to close the third quarter after the Pilots had cut a double-digit lead down to seven.
Despite not winning a Section title, the Eagles still captured the ultimate prize, ending a bizarre year in a very satisfying fashion.
“We didn’t know if we were even going to have a season," Eagles coach John Buetow said. "And these kids kept working whenever the Governor allowed us to practice, we’d be outside practicing, we’d be six feet way with masks practicing. They just hung in there all there. It couldn’t have gone better.”
"I never had a state championship in mind," Sule added. "I would have never though I'd end it like this. It was definitely all worth it.