For the first time since 2013, the Meadville girls are champions of the Northwestern Invitational Tournament.
In a slight upset, the third-seeded Eagles -- rostering just seven players -- toppled top-seeded Higbee on Saturday night, 44-27, and totally controlled the basketball game.
Sophomore guard Kiera Holcer had a spectacular night, and was responsible for well over half of her team's points. Holcer's 31 total points included seven three-pointers. Krysta Meyers was second on the team with six points.
"Our girls got down on missing some shots, and we can't do that," Holcer said. "We had to let it go and get back to work. We battled for every loose ball, we played with aggression, and we came focused. We just had to go for it."
The Eagles took an 18-6 lead into the second quarter, and never looked back. Higbee cut the Meadville lead to 22-14, but that is the closest margin that the Eagles would have to navigate for the rest of the game.
Meadville went on a 9-1 run to begin the third quarter, and from that point onward, the game was slowed with fouls as the result of an aggressive, but fruitless, Higbee defensive effort.
First-year Meadville coach Caitlin Cramer said that she said that her girls played loose and free and that was the recipe for taking control of the game early.
"We played like we had nothing to lose," Cramer said. "We have a lot of respect for Higbee, but tonight we looked like seven girls with seven really big hearts. That first quarter was a representation of that, and how much we wanted it. When we felt a lag offensively, (Kiera) came through, and getting that kind of momentum is a big breakthrough for us.
"We came out with an intensity, and our girls are all-in. I'm just really glad to have a front-row seat to enjoy it."
Saturday night marked Meadville's 10th championship in the tournament's 63-year history. The Eagles, now 3-1, travel to Atlanta on Thursday.