It almost seemed like destiny. As things stood Thursday morning, both the Monacan Chiefs and Midlothian Trojans were one game away from playing for the state championship. The catch? If they won, they’d play each other- for the fifth time. With Midlothian’s dramatic win earlier in the day, Monacan followed suite and set up round five with a gut-it-out 58-57 victory over William Fleming this afternoon at the Siegel Center.
In a game where it looked like a much quicker and more athletic team would run them into the ground, William Fleming charged back in the second half to make things interesting. The Colonels cut the lead to one with just 6.4 seconds left on the clock with back-to-back three-pointers. Sophomore sensation Megan Walker, the #1 recruit on espn.com in the 2017 class blocked a game-winning lay-up attempt from behind to secure Monacan’s victory in a tense moment for all.
“I couldn’t feel my stomach because my butt cheeks were pinched together,” said Monacan Head Coach Larry Starr. “I was afraid of what would come out of the other end.”
The Chiefs hit the war path early, running a big William Fleming team up and down the floor. The Colonels, from Roanoke, featured 6’3 center and Rutgers commit Desiree Keeling and 6’2 Malury Bates to go along with four other players listed at 5’9 or taller. The Colonels trailed by as much as 17, but Monacan held a 13 point lead at the half.
“We knew that they were gonna get a run,” Starr said. “We talked about that so that our heads wouldn’t go down [when it happened].”
Monacan weathered the storm and despite shooting 32 percent in the second half, Walker led the Chiefs with 19 points and nine rebounds. Point guard Alex Parson had 14 points and six steals, while Jaiden Morris finished with 12 points.
Monacan and Midlothian have met four times prior to this Saturday, and it would have been five had the Conference 20 Final not been snowed out. Monacan won the first two meetings in the Conference 20 Tip-off Classic, while Midlothian has taken the last two meetings- on their senior night and in the 4A South Region Championship game. Overall, the Chiefs have outscored the Trojans 252-244 in the four games.
“[After four games] You know what that team does,” said Walker. “It just makes the game even better because you know their strengths and their weaknesses,” continued the sophomore. “It’s always a competitive game but I think the better team will come out on top.”
Saturday at 11:45am at the Siegel Center on the campus of VCU, we’ll find out who will come out on top in an All-Chesterfield battle for the 4A State Championship.