ATLANTA - If not for an official's erroneous whistle in 2005, Collins Hill's quest may have been for back-to-back national championships.
A year later perhaps than it should have been, Collins Hill of Suwanee, Ga., got its coronation, beating South Gwinnett 61-37 to claim the Georgia AAAAA championship for the third straight year. As the Eagles have been ranked No. 1 all season, their unbeaten finish also will give them a national title.
Maya Moore, the No. 1 senior in the country, according to HoopGurlz.com, had 29 points and eight rebounds, Jordan Jones had 10 points and four assists and Taylor Dalrymple had 12 rebounds. No South Gwinnett player scored in double figures.
The Eagles did what they set out to do 12 months ago - take it all.
Maya Moore of Collins Hill
As usual, Collins Hill refused to lose, plain and simple.
"We came too far, going through Phoenix and Seattle, to let one game stand in our way," Jones said. Asked if this win erased the memory of Collins Hill's only loss in 2005-06, when an erroneous call caused Moore to be ejected in overtime against Christ the King, Jones said "as great as this win is tonight, nothing will ever erase that day."
A three-peat Georgia state championship - and a national title to go with it - meant enduring what many called an NBA schedule over the holidays - four cross-country flights in nine days, playing seven nationally ranked teams in just 12 days, winning the Nike Tournament of Champions as well as the T-Mobile Invitational. It meant two and threee miles of running every day - and then practice would start. It meant playing through illness, hyperextended knees, ice packs on every aching joint after games.
It meant going through eight nationally ranked teams, in all, including a semifinal victory over longtime rivals Stephenson High School, ranked as high as No. 5 by Full Court Press. Moore finished off Stephenson with 26 points and 20 rebounds. Jones added 23 points, making shooting seven of 10 from outside the arc. Dalrymple had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
And Stephenson may never forget telling Collins Hill, "We are coming for you," on local televsion.
The Eagles were 125-3 during Moore's career and finished this season 31-0. In the final high-school game of her career Moore left the court with about two minutes remaining and the game well in hand. She received a standing ovation from a crowd of 10,000 as she ran to the sidelines and full of emotion embraced each coach and teammate.
"This is a once in a lifetime moment," Moore said. "A national title and three back-to-back state championships, it just doesnt get much better than that."
Actually, it doesn't get much better than Maya Moore.
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