“The past two years we have had big hopes and dreams like this but they ended too early,” said Williams. “Now, when it finally happens and we finally come though, I think the losses make it even sweeter. We can take it all in and really appreciate everything we did.”
After waiting so long, the Raiders had to shake some nerves.
“At first I was feeling like, ‘Oh my god, this is the state finals. Can I do it?’” said Williams. “Well, I knew I could do it. But there was so much pressure and we had waited so long. But you just had to keep playing.”
Overcoming foul trouble
Battling an aggressive front line, Central superstar McLaughlin found herself taking a rare trip to the bench in the first half after picking up a pair of fouls.
“That was unfortunate,” she said. “You never want to come out of the game. But I knew I would get back into the game in the second half and try to take over.”
McLaughlin, of course, did take over. And despite picking up her fourth foul, played smart and finished off the game.
Seconds take a lifetime
After four years of dreaming, the final seconds seemed to last forever for McLaughlin.
“I had to keep my emotions down and not start to cry while the game was going,” she said. “To end my career like this. I am so proud of my team.”
No matter how hard Williams tried, the emotions started to flow before the final horn.
“The whole last 30 seconds I was jumping around,” she said. “I couldn’t stop smiling. I kept telling myself I had to keep playing, but it just wasn’t going to happen.”
An overjoyed Nagri agreed, “It was right there in our hands. I just wanted the clock to run out. I just wanted to celebrate.”