TROY, N.Y. (WROC) — Bishop Kearney graduated one of the most talented senior classes in Section V history last year. Among their six seniors included Saniaa Wilson, Marianna Freeman, and Taylor Morris, each of who are playing Division I basketball right now. Throw in Camille Wright who played five years of varsity basketball and that’s quite the class.

Despite all their wins, they never were able to capture a state title. That’s in no small part due to their 2019-20 season being cut off after a sectional title due to COVID.

This year’s youthful squad was on a mission to win a championship for both themselves and those seniors and they accomplished that goal with a 63-57 win over Baldwin from Section VIII.

The Lady Kings found themselves down 17-14 after the first quarter but stormed in front 29-17 at the half. Aniya Rowe had eleven of her team-high 20 points in the frame.

Amaia Jackson took over in the third quarter, scoring nine of her twelve points in the quarter to take a 51-38 lead into the fourth quarter.

Baldwin didn’t go down without a fight, going on a 10-4 run midway through the quarter and pulling to within five points with less than a minute remaining.

But Bishop Kearney stepped up with clutch free throws when it mattered most to put the game away and give the Lady Kings a state championship.

“This team did it, a team with a bunch of freshmen and a bunch of underclassmen and we were led by one senior,” said head coach Kevan Sheppard. “It’s amazing and this was not just for them, it was for the seniors that graduated last year who lost two years during this pandemic.

“It says a lot about the talent that we have, it says a lot about the hard work and compassion that we show towards each other and the family atmosphere that we have as well,” said senior Kaia Goode.

Caydence Hadley finished with 15 points on the night, Goode had seven, Allie Hall scored five, and Klarissa Goode put up 4.

Kaia Goode was the heart of the team, the lone senior on the team who will play Division II basketball at Le Moyne. It was evident how much she meant to her team after the win.

“We wanted to win for Kaia Goode, it’s her last year. We wanted to win it for her, we pulled it through,” said sophomore Aniya Rowe. “It shows how much we battle. We’re young, but we’re tough. We wanted to fight from last year, we had lost and fell short in the finals at sectionals so we wanted to win it this year.”

This is the second state title in program history for Bishop Kearney. In 2013, they won the Class C championship.