The O’Neal Falcons left no doubt on Friday night that they are the top team of the Eastern Plains Independent Conference (EPIC). One week after clinching the regular season EPIC championship, the top seeded Falcons headed to Raleigh to square off against second seeded Cary Christian for the EPIC Tournament Championship. The Falcons led from buzzer to buzzer earning the 50-38 win and grabbing the title.
The Falcons jumped out to the early lead thanks to strong defensive pressure and a high tempo offense. Recording a monster double-double, senior Toyin Koleoso dominated the paint on both ends with 24 points and 21 rebounds on her way to earning the EPIC Tournament MVP award. Joining Koleoso in double figures was sharp shooting freshmen, Kayla Jenkins, who added 10 points on the night to go along with her tenacious rebounding. Senior Alana McRae made her mark dishing out 7 assists to join her 6 points and 8 rebounds earning her a spot on the EPIC All-Tournament team. Rounding out the scoring column were Ralayah McRae (4 points), Caelan McHarney (2 points), Rachel Patton (2 points), Beka Carr (2 points).
The win moves the Falcons to 20-4 overall and 14-0 against EPIC conference opponents. After the win, Coach Brase shared, “Wow, what a game! It is not easy to beat a good team once, let alone three times. Cary Christian is a very good team, and they made this a great game. This victory is truly a testament to the heart and desire of our girls. They fight for each other every single day! You can’t ask for more as a coach—I love this group! They so deserve this!!!”
The is the second Division 2A conference championship O'Neal Varsity Girls Basketball has won, with the first in 2006. They were Division 1A conference champs in 1997.
As the EPIC Champions, the Falcons earned an automatic bid to next week’s NCISAA 2A State Tournament. On Thursday, February 16th at 5:30pm the Falcons will host the winner of the Davidson Day/Fayetteville Academy game scheduled for Tuesday, February 13th.