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Wenonah rallies past Chas Henderson to win 4th straight 5A girls championship

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Charles Henderson had Maori Davenport. Wenonah had championship poise.

The Dragons (30-3) rallied from a five-point deficit in the final minute to win a fourth straight Class 5A girls championship by beating Charles Henderson 55-52, enduring a virtuoso performance by Davenport, the Trojans’ 6-foot-4 sophomore center.

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Davenport finished with 20 points, 25 rebounds and 19 blocked shots before fouling out with 57.5 seconds to go. At the time, Charles Henderson (30-6) led 50-45, but the Dragons rallied when she went to the bench.

“One girl will never beat a Wenonah team,” Wenonah coach Emanuel Bell said.

For Wenonah, the championship capped an emotional season for Bell, who is battling lung cancer.

After Davenport fouled out, Wenonah’s Dastani Davidson tied the game with a 3-pointer, and Alexus Dye’s fastbreak layup made it 54-52 with 13.6 seconds to go. The Dragons ended the game with a 10-2 run.

“We said we’re going to dedicate this season to Coach Bell,” Wenonah’s Faith Reynolds said. “We were playing for Coach Bell.”

Bell’s message all season has been that he’s not giving up against cancer. His team didn’t give up in the state championship game.

“They listen,” he said with a smile after the game.

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Did you know?: Davenport’s 19 blocked shots is a new single-game AHSAA girls record, according to the AHSAA’s online recordbook. It also ranks 11th nationally.

Stat sheet: Alexus Dye led Wenonah with 17 points and nine rebounds, and Davidson scored 15 points, all on 3-pointers. “Best 3-point shooter in the world.” Bell said. … Tatyana Siler scored 12 points for Charles Henderson, and point guard Niaira Jones had nine points and 10 rebounds.

By the numbers: 6, Charles Henderson played only six players, while Wenonah used nine and substituted freely. … 56, Charles Henderson won the rebounding edge 56-32. … 19, both teams made 19 shots, but Wenonah took 68 to the Trojans’ 53. … 34, Wenonah forced the Trojans into 34 turnovers. … 1, Charles Henderson coach Dyneshia Jones said today was the first time Davenport has fouled out this season.

Coachspeak: “Give glory to God. I give it to Him. I told the girls, ‘Keep fighting, keep fighting.’ When we’ve had tough games, we’ve won them in the fourth quarter.” – Bell

“Great game. I’m proud of my girls. We fought to the end. No regrets.” — Charles Henderson coach Dyneshia Jones

They said it: “I just wanted to win today, so I played as hard as I could.” — Davenport

“The whole plan was to keep attacking, keep attacking. They said, ‘Coach, she keeps blocking it.’” – Bell on the gameplan of driving against 6-foot-4 Davenport

“Who wouldn’t want her on their team?” – Charles Henderson coach Dyneshia Jones, talking about Davenport

Celebrity sighting: Alabama coach Kristy Curry watched the game from behind Charles Henderson’s bench. She had to like what she saw from Davenport, who is clearly one of the nation’s best prospects in the Class of 2019. Complete article

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