Princess Anne wins 8th consecutive girls basketball state championship

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Marty O'Brien, The Virginian-Pilot
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Aziaha James capped one of the most illustrious careers in Hampton Roads girls basketball history with a 32-point performance, leading Princess Anne to a 56-41 victory over Patrick Henry of Roanoke in the Class 5 girls basketball state tournament championship game Saturday in Roanoke.

The state title is the Cavaliers’ 12th overall and eighth in succession. They have played in a state final the past 13 consecutive seasons.

The Cavaliers entered having won their past five state championship games by an average of 26 points, but were challenged by the Patriots.

Patrick Henry used an aggressive 1-3-1 zone to force the Cavaliers’ offense outside in the first quarter, where they missed five of six 3-point attempts. They also frustrated James, limiting her to few clear looks and four points as the game was tied at 12-12 after eight minutes.

But James put the unbeaten Cavaliers (10-0) ahead on a floater in the lane early in the second quarter, and was on fire the rest of the first half. She added a couple of pretty turn-around jumpers, a 3, a bank shot and a pair of free throws to score 13 points in the second quarter as Princess Anne led 27-21 at halftime.

James continued her torrid pace in the second half, scoring eight points in the third quarter, as the Cavaliers stretched their lead to 38-27 heading into the final quarter. James and Zakiya Stephenson (11 points) made consecutive 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter, stretching the lead to 17 points, and the Cavaliers were never threatened thereafter.

Savannah Derey led Patrick Henry with 18 points.