A year the Champion Lady Chargers were undefeated entering the DeKalb County Middle School Basketball Championship game and lost to the Salem Lady Lions in a hard-fought battle at Miller Grove High School.
One year later and Salem entered the game 16-0 with a win over Champion during the regular season while Champion entered at 14-2 and knocked off Salem 31-22 using a tough defense and timely scoring to claim their fifth championship title since 2013 that includes seven trips to the championship game.
The two teams battled to a 6-6 tie at the end of the first quarter and Champion took the lead for good at 8-6 with 3:42 to play in the first half on a Lailah Cox layup to make it 8-6.
A 7-0 run that included baskets by Charmaine Owens, Jhia Primrose and Kamaya Rivers-Child helped Champion to go up 15-8 in at the half as the defense limited Salem to just two made free throws in the second quarter.
Another 7-0 run in the middle of third quarter pushed the advantage to 24-10 with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter. Owens again started the run with a drive to the basket and was followed by a three-pointer by Sanaa Stanton and a steal and layup by Rivers-Child.
Salem closed the gap to 24-15 as Shanya Heath hit a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left in the quarter.
Heath would score five points in the first 2:16 of the fourth quarter to close the deficit to 26-20 with 3:44 remaining in the game.
Cox scored on a layup aided by a nice pass from Owens and Kimari Barnett hit one of two free throws to extend the lead back out to 29-20.
Heath would hit two free throws with 1:01 to play to cut it back to 29-22 and had a big hustle play on the following inbounds to stop a snowbird play on a long inbounds pass by Champion with a block. Unfortunately, the blocked shot fell into the hands of Cox who rebounded it and put it back in to make it 31-22.
Charmaine Owens finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds long with several steals and assists to be named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Kamaya Rivers-Child led the team with 11 points while Jhia Primrose added 10 rebounds (2 points, 2 blocks) and Sanaa Stanton 14 rebounds (3 points).
Salem was led by Shanya Heath with a game-high 19 points and added 12 rebounds. Mya Perry finished the day with 12 rebounds (3 points).