Using a sizzling 19-4 fourth quarter scoring run, the Chapel Hill Tigers toppled the Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders 48-38 Friday evening in the girls 3A Big Eight championship game at Chapel Hill High School.

It wasn’t easy for the Tigers to bolster their perfect record to 26-0 overall, however, as the Crusaders trailed just 21-18 at intermission. Cardinal Gibbons even led 34-29 at the end of the third quarter as sophomore guard Olivia Smith knocked down a pair of key treys.

“My players came through with shining colors for us,” said Chapel Hill coach Sherry Norris. “This was our type of game and we wanted to play it.”

Senior Jamella Smith took over in the fourth quarter for the Tigers, hitting jump shots and making her presence felt down low with a put-back hoop.

“They prepared well for us and we had to play them tough,” Norris added. “Jamella made some clutch baskets for us.”

Senior center Catherine Romaine also scored the 1,000th point of her prep career with an interior basket that put Chapel Hill up 39-36 late in the fourth quarter. Chapel Hill used its impressive depth to put the game away from there.

Chapel Hill, which won its regular season games over the Crusaders by 24 and 18 points, looked ready to roll again in powering out to an early 9-3 lead. Senior guard Stephanie Girard nailed a key three-pointer to get Cardinal Gibbons going, however.

The Tigers struggled at the free throw line in the opening half, connecting on just 3 of 10 attempts.