COLUMBUS (AP) — When Jodi Johnson took the opening tip-off and scored six seconds into the game it signaled that Wadsworth was ready to avenge its only loss of the season on the biggest stage.
Johnson kept scoring and had 12 of her 28 points in the fourth quarter to lead Wadsworth to its second title with a 60-51 win against Mason in the girls Division I final on Saturday.
“It’s the mentality of these kids when they said they were on mission to win states,” Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth said. “Talk is cheap sometimes, but you saw the look in the kids’ eyes. You couldn’t help but believe them.”
The Grizzlies (28-1) last won in 1997 by also beating Mason in the final. Mason (26-3) was looking for its second championship after winning in 2000.
Wadsworth led 16-6 after the first quarter and Johnson, an Associated Press co-player of the year, nearly outscored Mason with 12 points as Wadsworth took a 30-14 halftime lead.
“We were just being aggressive from the start,” she said. “We knew we had to be aggressive at both ends of the court. That’s what we did in the first quarter and throughout the game.”
Johnson capped the dominating two quarters with a running bank shot with two seconds left.
“They got to the start we were hoping to get off to,” Mason coach Rob Matula said. “We couldn’t get into a flow offensively or defensively. Give them credit.”
It was the type of start Mason had in handing Wadsworth its only loss, 41-30, in the Grizzlies’ 15th game.
“It was a learning experience,” Johnson said.
Mason pulled to within 47-44 with four minutes left in the game before Johnson scored Wadsworth’s next seven points to keep them ahead at 54-50.
Sophia Fortner made four foul shots for Wadsworth in the final minute to seal the win. The Grizzlies made 24 of 27 free throws. Mason was 14-for-23 from the line.
Lauren Van Kluenen had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Mason.