The Wildcats (28-1) extended their Western North Carolina-record streak Saturday at Charlotte Latin. Forham (N.Y.) signees Ralene Kwiatkowski (13 points) and Halei Gillis (10) were double-figure scorers in their final high school game – a 59-49 win over Davidson Day. Kasey Kidwell supplemented things with 11 points. Annabelle Schultz and Maleeah Langstaff each had 10 points.
Gillis, Kidwell and Kwiatkowski were named to the NCISAA 2-A all-state team. The Carolina Day girls won their final 26 games. The only blemish on their record came to First Assembly of Concord which Davidson Day (24-4) beat handily, 66-37, in Friday’s NCISAA 2-A semifinals.
“We continued a legacy and I’m so excited about that,” said Kwiatkowski, who is a 5-foot-8 guard.
“Nothing is ever going to be the same for me after this. I’m going to miss our coaches and all the players here at Carolina Day so much. Free throws really felt like the key to this game. Everyone did what they were supposed to do.”
Indeed, the Wildcats were 20-for-24 from the foul in Saturday’s state finals.
Carolina Day was in front 23-20 at halftime, but didn’t put some separation between itself and Davidson Day until late. The game was tied 32-32 with 11 minutes remaining.
"Davidson Day is a class act. There is no doubt that they are one of the best teams in the state," Carrington said.
"We're a young team, but we're experienced. When you are fortunate enough to play in so many state-championship games, everyone gets that experience. Kidwell and Langstaff really played some outstanding defense when we needed it. This group really developed an identity this season. They really turned into a team as the season went on."
Four out of five starters for Carolina Day have been dealing with flu-like symptoms recently which created an extra hardship Saturday.
"Our legs were kind of gone," Carrington said.
"The game was really back-and-forth. (Nautica) Smiley, Gillis and Kidwell all had two fouls at halftime and we really weren't shooting the ball well."
Gillis was proud to see such perseverance out of her team.
"During the game, we fell apart a little bit but we pulled it together when it was critical," she said.
"That was the most exciting part, seeing everyone come together. I'm so happy that I got to be a part of this legacy and carry it on. I think about all the older girls I got to play and all the younger ones, too."