The Crusaders of Upper Marlboro captured the program’s second national championship in three years on Saturday, besting Fremont (UT) 60-35 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“One of our mottos is championships and scholarships so we expect to win,” said Riverdale Baptist head coach Sam Caldwell, who has helped guide the Crusaders to a 96-11 record over the past three seasons. “Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. Somebody has to be No. 1 and it minus well be us.”
Riverdale Baptist was led by senior guard Chania Ray, a Florida State recruit, who scored a game-high 22 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists to earn the Most Valuable Player award.
Chloe Jackson, an N.C. State recruit, finished with 14 points and six rebounds and Alysha Berry added eleven points for the Crusaders (29-3).
Riverdale Baptist jumped out to a 15-0 lead and never looked back. The Utah state champions shot just 22.6 percent from the field.
Riverdale Baptist reached the championship game of the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament after Ray’s last second heroics helped the Crusaders erase a 19-point deficit in the second half.
Ray scored on an uncontested layup in the final seconds to lift the Crusaders past Edgewater (FL), 59-58, in a semifinal matchup.
Riverdale Baptist also captured the National Association of Christian Athletes tournament championship in February when Jackson nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to catapult the Crusaders to victory.
“Chania has been very instrumental in what we do,” added Caldwell. “There’s no question that Chloe and Chania are two of the best guards in the country.”