In a fairy tale finish, the number-12 seeded St. Johnsbury girls' basketball did it, completing an improbable run to capture the Vermont Division I state championship by knocking off the number-three seeded Rutland Raiders, 27-24, at Patrick Gym in Burlington.
Not only was this the lowest-scoring state title game ever in Vermont girls' high school hoops, but the Lady Hilltoppers, with a 7-13 final record, are also the lowest seeded team to ever win a state championship. Quite an amazing feat indeed.
The stunning win over Rutland capped off an improbable tournament run that saw St. Johnsbury knock off number-five Rice (14-6) in the first round, number-four CVU (16-4) in the second round and then number-one Burr & Burton (18-2) in the third round before finally beating number-three Rutland (17-3) in the title game.
It doesn't get much more miraculous than that, folks.
In a defensive struggle throughout, neither team could muster much offensive flow, but when the chips were down in the waning minutes it was the Lady Hilltoppers who hit the big shots when they needed it.
St. Johnsbury jumped out to an early 9-4 lead on back-to-back three-pointers from Bianca Calkins and Brittany Regis, but Rutland fought back to only trail by one point at the end of the first quarter, despite two starters going to the bench with two fouls each.
The Lady Raiders would fight back in the second quarter, however, and after two drives to the basket by Liz Douglass, Rutland had a one-point lead at the half.
At the start of the second half Rutland continued to gain momentum and built a seven-point lead (24-17) at the 6:30 mark of the third quarter.
However amazingly, it would be the last points Rutland would score, as they went into a drought the rest of the way. In fact, the Raiders did not score a single point in the final 14-plus minutes of the contest.