COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Nia Marshall and her teammates left the court in tears.
Not because they lost, but because it was the last time they would play together -- as history-making champions.
Marshall, a second-team Associated Press All-Ohioan, scored 17 points and added 18 rebounds to lead Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown to a 56-44 victory over Millersburg West Holmes in the Division II final on Saturday, giving the Blazers a record fifth consecutive state title.
"It was definitely different because even throughout warmups I was thinking, '(This is the) last 32 minutes with these girls,'" Marshall said. "It was really emotional at the end that we knew we had our fifth one in the bag. And that was the last time that we would ever be playing together as a team."
The Blazers were already assured of another record -- becoming the only team in the girls tournament's 38 years to make it to the final four in seven consecutive years.
Amazingly, they have now won 36 tournament games in a row.
It was almost too much for coach Paul Barlow, now 234-92 in 13 seasons, to wrap his head around.
"We walked out of there with a fifth straight state title, which is really hard for me right now to even think about or comprehend," he said.
After losing in their first two trips to the state tournament, in the 2007 and 2008 title games, they haven't lost in tournament play since.
The Blazers (23-6) broke a deadlock with Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame and South Euclid Regina, which had each won four in a row.
Marshall, whose 18 rebounds was a Division II championship-game record, scored all five of Hathaway Brown's points over the first 4-plus minutes of the final quarter, enabling it to play keep-away with both the lead and the ball.
Rachelle Morrison had 13 points for West Holmes (28-2), which had beaten the Blazers on their home floor on Dec. 1. Paiten Strother had 10 points.
Defense was a huge factor in the outcome as the Blazers put the clamps on first-team All-Ohioan Laina Snyder. Averaging almost 16 points a game, she had scored 26 points and added 19 rebounds in a semifinal victory over Dayton Chaminade-Julienne. But, surrounded every time she touched the ball, she was limited to eight points and six rebounds.
"With their three 6-foot girls down low, anytime I was near where I usually get the ball there were three people taller and stronger than me," Snyder said.
In the final minutes, barely grasping a lead against the pressing Lady Knights, the Blazers were content to work the ball around the perimeter and take time off the clock.
Vanessa Smith, a first-team all-stater who battled foul trouble all day, sat out the early portion of the fourth quarter while Marshall took over the game. But she came in to toss a lob pass that led to Poland's backdoor basket, then coolly hit a pair of foul shots to expand the lead to 44-32 with 2:45 left. The Lady Knights would not threaten again.
"We weren't able to get baskets for long periods of time," WH coach Lisa Patterson said.
Hathaway Brown roared out of the gate to take an 18-10 lead after a quarter, thanks to a 9-1 run midway through the period. It led 28-18 at the half and 35-28 through three quarters before relying on Marshall and the rest down the stretch. The Blazers never trailed.
Smith added 11 points for the Blazers, who shot 45 percent from the field (17 of 38).
Long after she'd help cut down the nets at Value City Arena, Marshall was still fighting back her tears.
"We've grown so close to each other over these past four years," she said, her voice breaking. "It's hard. It's hard."
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