HERSHEY — The opponent was different, the path to the Giant Center was different, but the performance and the outcome were the same.
Diamond Bragg triple-double, Passion Bragg nearly a double-double, Camp Hill rolls to a District 3 title.
Tuesday evening’s 69-25 romp of Mid-Penn Capital rival Steel-High in the Class 2A championship was nearly identical to the Lions’ 59-38 championship win last year over Columbia.
It gives Diamond Bragg and her senior teammates three titles in four tries during their careers, and wraps a nice little bow on the program’s 10th crown.
HERSHEY — Double the Braggs, double the titles, and double the production.
The Wisconsin-bound Bragg was dynamic, which is hardly a surprise at this point, rolling to 17 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals. It comes a year after she went for 20 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and four blocks.
“As long as she’s herself, we’re fine,” Lions coach Mark Clarke said succinctly.
“I’m never really looking at stats, but I do pride myself on being able to be pretty well-rounded on the court, whether it’s distributing, rebounding, just trying to get it done and doing whatever I can do to win,” Bragg said.
It was plenty.
She finished 7-of-15 shooting and fed six different teammates for buckets. If she doesn’t return to Hershey in the state championship game in March — the Lions’ stated goal since last season — it will be one of the better two-game stretches by a single player at Giant Center in recent years.
HALFTIME: @GoCHAthletics 30, @RollerAthletics 15.— Jake Adams (@jakeadams520) February 27, 2018
Here's video of @diamond_bragg going coast to coast AND picking up the foul. She's at 11 points, 7 boards, 5 assists, 3 steals by my count. pic.twitter.com/9EI9muvKnk
And she wasn’t lacking for help.
Younger sister Passion, who is healthier by the day after a midseason foot injury, had 15 and eight, unofficially, a year after she went for 11 and 13.
“I think just the big [arena], everyone coming out to support, just made us hype for the game,” she said of her performance.
Senior Anne Johnson finished with five points and two rebounds, while classmate Katy Collingsworth chipped in eight points, three boards and two steals. She sparked the game-ending third-quarter run with five points — including a layup that drew laughs from her teammates after the game — a steal and a rebound.
“Being here four years in a row is pretty awesome, and we just do what we could to basically make school history,” Johnson said.
“It’s really great,” Collingsworth added. “We were here in our freshman year and we lost, so we just wanted to come back and prove everyone wrong.”
Added their coach about the senior class: “Just tremendous. Diamond was the driving force for the first two trips here. … And what Katy and Anne have contributed over the last two years has just been phenomenal, too.”
No. 1 Camp Hill (20-4), two weeks removed from their last meaningful game after Columbia forfeited last week’s semifinal for lack of players, needed a quarter to get their feet wet. They were sluggish from the layoff and also struggled to adjust to the deeper background at Giant Center.
The Lions opened with a 3-0 lead before the Rollers took over by one for a bit. Camp Hill then pushed ahead 11-7, but No. 3 Steel-High (11-10) answered back with consecutive 3-pointers by Serenity Vidot before the end of the first frame.
It was due primarily to turnovers (three) and poor shooting from the field (4-of-14) and the free-throw line (3-of-6).
“We were kinda out of shape,” Diamond Bragg said of the layoff between games.
But it turned around quickly. The Lions, who had some limited success with a full-court press early, forcing seven turnovers and holding the Rollers to 5-of-15 shooting, found better success when going to a trap half-court press.
The result: Steel-High went 4-for-29 the rest of the game and committed 30 turnovers.
Camp Hill used that effort on one end to jumpstart the other end. The Lions went on a 14-0 run that encompassed around five minutes in the second quarter, turning a 16-14 advantage into what would end up a 30-15 halftime lead.
It broke the Rollers emotionally, and Diamond Bragg felt it.
“Personally, as a leader of this team … my job is to recognize the defenders and what they’re seeing, what they’re feeling,” the point guard said. “And I knew instantly when they were done and they were frustrated. That was my chance to take an opportunity and my job to seal the game.”
The Braggs combined for five unofficial steals, but it was a team effort (12 in total).
Sheridan Reid was credited with just one unofficial swipe, but was flying all over the middle of the court and contributed to several other turnovers, proving a catalyst in that trap zone that flummoxed the Rollers. She finished with 13 points.
“They’re just active with their feet and hands, anticipating the next pass and not being afraid to double-team when the opportunity is there,” Clarke said.
It was effectively over at that point, but Collingsworth sparked a dominant third quarter that iced the game with a defensive rebound that eventually became her 3 at the left wing and a steal-and-layup on the next defensive stand.
“The first half I didn’t play really well, so I just wanted to come back out and make sure they knew that I was someone they needed to watch and that they needed to pay attention to,” she said.
The five-point ministretch turned this one into a laugher, with Camp Hill pushing ahead 54-20 after three quarters. Clarke pulled most of his starters for good less than two minutes into the final frame.
Vidot paced Steel-High with eight points. Camp Hill finished 26-of-57 from the field, compared to 9-of-44 from their counterparts. The 44-point margin of victory set a new Class 2A championship record, according to District 3, surpassing when Susquehanna Twp. beat Exeter Twp. by 38 points, 62-24. That mark was set 40 years ago.
The Lions play the District 6 fourth seed in the PIAA playoffs, which begin March 9.