Broadway girl’s basketball breaks through with 3A championship

Faith Funkhouser stopped and waited.

She had teammates to hug and the sensation of a career-defining achievement to soak up, but first she turned around and locked eyes with Ally Repko.

The only four-year players on Broadway's team, they wrapped their arms around each other for almost five seconds, slowly making their way toward the Gobblers' celebration at half court.

"I was just like, 'We're state champs. Like, we're finally state champions,'" a teary-eyed Funkhouser said, sporting a net around her neck at the postgame press conference. "It just felt so good and Ally was there; it was just the perfect moment because we've been together all four years and it's just a special bond we have."

The Broadway seniors finally added that finishing touch to their legacies.

Although Magna Vista grinded out a three-point halftime lead, the Gobblers stormed past the Warriors in the second half and captured the 3A girls basketball state championship with a 51-41 victory Friday at VCU's Siegel Center.

BHS struck out in the 3A state finals in 2014 against Spotswood and again in 2015 at the hands of Turner Ashby in overtime, but the Gobblers scripted a new ending Friday.

"It feels great," an emotional Repko said. "I mean, it's my last basketball game, but being a state champ, that's how anyone wants to go out."

The Gobblers, who finished the season 27-4 with their first Conference 29 tournament championship, brought BHS its first state title in any team sport. The Virginia High School League record book credits Broadway with a 1926 state championship in boys basketball, but that was earned before BHS was consolidated in the early 1950s.

The Gobblers' win Friday marks the sixth consecutive season that a Valley District girls basketball team has won a state championship.

"I just love how our girls have battled all year long and [I'm] so proud of them," said seventh-year Broadway coach Bobby Mongold, a 1989 BHS graduate who's brought the program to its first four state tournaments over the last six seasons. "I know the town of Broadway's super proud of them, too. What a crowd. I don't even know what to say right now. It was all a blur."

Fifty-Two Seconds Of Joy

The Gobblers, all 5-foot-9 or shorter, walked into the Siegel Center on Friday without any superstars on their roster. But in quintessential Broadway fashion, solid defense and a balanced, efficient offense were plenty enough Friday.

Broadway's active man-to-man defense limited Magna Vista to 31.9 percent shooting for the game, and multiple Gobblers stepped up to score and lead the charge past the Warriors.

"We challenged them by saying that Magna Vista challenged us," Mongold said. "We had to be mentally tougher and physically tougher in the second half."

Five consecutive points by senior Destiny Ritchie in the middle of the third quarter erased Magna Vista's final lead of the game. Although the Warriors tied the score at 28 early in the fourth, Funkhouser soon dished a kickout to sophomore Nakaila Gray for a 3 from the wing, and Broadway's closing run was underway.

Amid a string of defensive stops, Gray kicked the ball out for a Kailey Landis 3 and a four-point lead with 3:53 left, and a minute and a half later Sarah Wimer drained a corner 3 for a 37-31 lead with 2:17 to play.

"I thought we were patient and found the right person at the right time," said Mongold, whose team beat Magna Vista 52-37 in the 3A West Region tournament consolation game two weeks prior. "Shooting a high percentage is not just about being a good shooter; sometimes it's about taking a good shot and who takes that shot."

To stretch the lead to double digits and stomp out the chances of a Warriors comeback, Broadway went 12-for-16 at the free-throw line in the final two minutes.

Although BHS connected on 46.2 percent of its shots in the first 16 minutes, Magna Vista went into halftime ahead 17-14 — which Mongold believed was his team's lowest first-half output this season.

A 37-24 second half did the job for Broadway, though.

"We knew that if we didn't come out with a little more intensity it wasn't gonna be a win, so we just really focused a little bit more and executed our plays," said Repko, BHS's second-team all-region point guard.

The Warriors' run-and-jump pressure defense limited Repko's offensive impact to four points — all at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter — and two assists, but the Elon softball signee contributed on the rebounding front with a game-best nine rebounds.

The Warriors (21-4) have now experienced the same back-to-back doses of agony that Broadway endured in 2014 and 2015. Magna Vista battled Spotswood for the 3A state title last March, only to fall 40-39 on a last-second Addisen DeLucas free throw.

The Warriors made just 27.6 percent of their second-half shots Friday, and after relenting the lead midway through the third quarter they never grabbed it back.

"They followed the game plan. They did the best they could. It's just sometimes the other team's just better on that day," Magna Vista coach Vicky Hayes said. "… It hurts, but anything worthwhile and anything that you're that invested in, it does hurt. I expect emotion. I expect the tears, but I could not have asked for a greater group of kids to work with."

Magna Vista's Taisha DeShazo, a 5-11 senior and Catawba commit, posted a team-high 15 points.

Funkhouser tallied a team-best 15 points for Broadway, with Wimer scoring 11 and Gray and Landis chipping in eight each.

When the long-awaited buzzer sounded, the BHS coaches mobbed each other in celebration by the bench. The Gobsquad and Broadway fans were even louder than they'd been when the game swung their way. The Broadway players on the court, while Funkhouser and Repko shared their moment, sprinted across half court to embrace their teammates rushing over from the bench.

And by the time their veteran teammates joined them, the Gobblers had tamely — yet passionately — formed a dogpile of hugs on the Siegel Center floor.

Finally, Broadway's season was ending with a taste far different from disappointment.

"It just feels really special," Funkhouser, the Conference 29 Player of the Year, said. "We've worked so hard all four years and it just feels so good, especially to do it for the town of Broadway."

"Everyone just told each other they loved each other, because we're not just a team" Repko said. "We're a family, and that's all of Broadway."

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