The match-up between St. Mary's High School and Pinnacle HS was the most anticipated girl's match-up of the high school basketball season. Especially since the last time these two teams met during the 2010-2011 season, Pinnacle upset St. Mary's in what was the last time that the Knights would lose a game to an Arizona team.
Heading into Monday night's contest in this year's MLK Basketball Classic at Wells Fargo Arena, the headline game of the day's five different match-ups, St. Mary's had won an amazing 48-straight games against Arizona high school teams. Are you kidding me? Talk about getting it done.
St. Mary's 5-foot-7 senior guard/forward Chloe Johnson (San Diego State signee) had commented earlier in the season that her team wanted to make a statement in this game, and a statement they would make.
St. Mary's (18-1) only loss on the season, in fact in the last two seasons, had come at the hands of Mater Dei HS (CA) in this year's Nike Tournament of Champions. Mater Dei would go on to win the tournament championship after defeating the lady Knights.
Pinnacle's (21-2) only loss of the season also came at the hands of out-of-state competition - losing to Windward HS (CA) in the Nike Tournament of Champions.
The state's two top teams would face off in an exciting contest, as both teams were coached by parents of elite college prospects. St. Mary's head coach Curtis Ekmark, father of sharp-shooting 6-foot-1 junior forward Courtney Ekmark (UCONN commit), and Pinnacle HS head coach Troy Wiese, father of gifted 6-foot-1 senior point guard Sydney Wiese (Oregon State signee).
Pinnacle would come out firing, as Sydney Wiese would quickly knock down a three-point attempt off the tip. But St. Mary's would match their effort with a three-pointer from talented 6-foot-2 senior post Chantel Osahor (Univ. of Washington signee). Another three-pointer in transition from 6-foot senior forward Britta Nordstrom would put Pinnacle back ahead 8-5 with 6:18 remainning in the first period.
Chloe Johnson would make her presence felt early for the Knights after a driving basket after being fouled. Johnson's three-point play, and then a back-door layup by Ekmark after an assist from Osahor would put St. mary's ahead 10-8. The Knights would take a 14-10 lead after the first quarter.
St. Mary's would begin to gain momentum early in the second period behind the strong play of Chantel Osahor. Osahor's ability to make plays for herself and her teammates proved to be a major difference in the game. After a three-pointer from 5-foot-9 senior guard Dominique Williams (UCLA signee) after an assist from Osahor, then a three-pointer from Osahor and a no-look pass from Osahor to a cutting Chloe Johnson, St. Mary's would take a 23-15 lead in the game.
Then afetr a basket by Ekmark, Osahor would steal the basketball at half-court and travel down the floor, only to miss the layup. But Osahor would rebound her own missed shot and get the put-back after being fouled. Osahor's three-pont play would give the Knights their biggest lead of the game - 29-18 with :52 seconds left to play in the first half.
Pinnacle's Sydney Wiese would convert a three-pointer for Pinnacle just before the halftime buzzer. St. Mary's would hold on to a 30-21 advantage at the half.
In the third period, St. Mary's would get back to business. With Pinnacle competing hard and looking to make up the gap, Courtney Ekmark, the #7 prospect in America's 2014 class and a commit to the nation's top women's college basketball program, would get it going for herself. Ekmark would put down a three-pointer with 6:45 left in the period, make another three-pointer a minute later, and then score on a back-door layup after an assist from Osahor.
Osahor would make another assist to a cutting Chloe Johnson with 1:08 left to play in the third quarter to put the Knights ahead big - 46-30. The Knights would lead 46-32 after three.
In the fourth period, Osahor would bring it home for her team in style. Osahor would get a big shot block on a three-point attempt by Wiese with 5:08 remaining in the fourth - one of the top highlights of the game. Then, late in the game, with :53.2 seconds to go, Osahor would take the ball to the basket with a defender on her hip and score a driving layup after being fouled on the play. Osahor would complete the three-point play and cap off a big 63-43 victory for the lady Knights.
St. Mary's was led in scoring by Courtney Ekmark with a game-high 17 points, while Chantel Osahor finished the game just shy of a triple-double - 12 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, two blocks and four steals. Chloe Johnson had 15 points and Dominique Williams had 12 points for St. Mary’s in the win.
Pinnacle was led by Sydney Wiese with a team-high 14 points in the loss.