The Lions roared in the final game of The Basketball Circuit's Championship weekend, emerging from an absolute battle against Synergy to claim the girls' WNBA Varsity Division Championship, 42-32, on Sunday, May, 23.
Samara Rosado continued her torrid shooting, knocking down three huge 3-pointers in the game's deciding minutes, to give the Lions the win and claim WNBA Division Tournament MVP Honors.
The game was a beautiful battle of contrasting styles, with the Lions slow, methodical offense based on spacing, back cuts, and ball movement leading to open three's and, facing off against Synergy's frenetic, swarming defense, tenacious rebounding and aggressive transition offense.
In the end, it was the extra passes and timely shooting that pushed the Lions over the top. Rosado was brilliant, scoring 13 points, but her impact was far larger than her numbers. Rosado was the straw stirring the drink for the Lions, running the offense flawlessly, drawing defenses before finding open teammates for easy buckets, and coming up with big rebounds and key defensive stops. And seemingly with every Synergy run, it was Rosado calming down the Lions before answering with a backbreaking three or jaw-dropping pass to a teammate for two.
Teammates Jayda Caldwell and Grayson Edward also shined, joining with Caldwell's ball handling standing out as one of the keys to breaking through Synergy's swarming defense, while Edward did all the little things on both sides of the ball critical to championship teams.
For Synergy, Arlenis Veloz shined in the hard-luck loss. A Tornado of energy, Veloz, who was just edged out by Rosado for Tournament MVP Honors, did everything for Synergy, playing with a seemingly inhuman energy until the final horn. Veloz brought tenacious defense, attacked the hoop and the glass with reckless abandon. Multiple times throughout the game, Veloz brought the ball up, started the offense, and wound up rebounding her own miss and putting it back in over a swarm of defenders.
Veloz was joined by teammate Dylan Cunneen on the T.B.C. WNBA All-Tournament Team.