Visitation senior guard Kate Gillespie celebrated her eighteenth birthday by unwrapping Flint Hill’s defense and leading the Cubs to an unshared ISL AA championship Sunday. For Gillespie it was the best birthday present she could have gotten, “Spending it with my best friends…what more could you ask for.”
The Cubs pulled away from Flint Hill with an overwhelming second half surge to win 60-46 and avenge last year’s title loss to the Huskies.
“It was the exact same situation as last year,” Gillespie said. “We had two really close games in the regular season with them and lost in the championship last year. That was the worst feeling for us. We knew we couldn’t have that be our last game [together].”
The Huskies weren’t going to allow the Cubs to be easily crowned. Flint Hill jumped on Visitation early and built a 17-11 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Huskies were able to control the boards and feed off second chances during the opening period.
Flint Hill’s Alex Long was deadly from the outside early and finished the game with a team-high 16 points.
The Cubs adjusted and put Libby Mosko in the post. It was a great move as the senior controlled the paint and turned the tide on the boards for Visitation.
“That was one of the differences for us,” Gillespie said of Mosko. “She makes a huge difference because she’s a tough defender and rebounder.”
Meanwhile, Gillespie and Maddy Williams began to rev up the offense. Williams hit a 3-pointer while Gillespie took the ball to the rim. The result was 15-6 run by the Cubs in the second quarter and a 26-23 lead by halftime.
Gillespie finished with a game-high 26 points, while Williams added 14 and sophomore Ana Hagerup chipped in 10.
The Huskies managed to keep the game close in the third quarter, but in the fourth, Gillespie slammed the door shut on Flint Hill.
The Holy Cross-bound senior scored 13 points in her final quarter as a Cub to give Visitation a double-digit lead down the stretch. It allowed coach Mike McCarthy to give his six of his seven seniors a curtain call.
"It was great,” McCarthy said. “I told them before the game that I didn’t have a doubt that we would win the game.”
With over a minute remaining, the tears began to flow as the seniors checked-out for the last time. Most of the Visitation seniors have known each other since fourth grade and only Gillespie will play college ball.
“The past four years we have become best friends,” Kelsey Tillman said while holding back tears. “[When I came out] I realized it was coming to an end. I can’t that was the last game I’ll ever play. It’s been the time of my life and we’ve become so close.”