COLUMBIA, MO. • Whitfield sophomore center Aijha Blackwell wanted an immediate rematch.
Maybe not a good idea — just yet.
Minutes after the Warriors' 80-39 loss to Strafford in the Class 3 girls basketball championship game Saturday at Mizzou Arena, the 6-foot scoring machine lamented a wasted opportunity.
"I don't want to feel this feeling ever again," Blackwell said. "Hopefully, we can see them again next year."
Strafford, the beast from the southwest, capped off a record-setting 33-0 campaign with its second successive state championship.
The Indians set a record for most wins by a girls team in one season without a loss. They have won 49 successive games and boast a starting lineup that features four underclassmen.
So Blackwell and the Warriors, who have three starting underclassen, may get their wish.
But on this night, it was no contest.
"That's a great team over there," Whitfield coach Mike Slater said. "From the second quarter on, it seemed like they didn't miss a shot."
Slater was not exaggerating by much.
The Indians hit 11 of 17 shots in the second half while pushing a 47-25 halftime lead to as many as 41 points. The entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
Blackwell had 10 points and six rebounds, both team highs.
But she committed three fouls in the game's first 5 minutes and 54 seconds and spent the rest of the half on the bench.
Her presence on the court may have helped a little, but the Indians were simply better in every facet.
"They're good," Whitfield sophomore Nia Griffin said. "It's different facing a team that can shoot that well."
Whitfield (25-7) showed no intimidation early, keeping even at 11-11 until Blackwell went to the bench. Strafford promptly went on a 24-8 run over the next 5:56 to take command 35-19.
Sophomore Hayley Frank led the Indians with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Senior Abby Oliver added 22 points.
Strafford shot 54 percent for the game, including the same percentage from 3-point land. It hit 15 of 19 free throws.
"We heard that they thought they were going to beat us," Oliver said.
The Warriors fell behind 6-0 but caught up at 11-11 on a 3-pointer by Jade Moore with 2:59 left in the first period. Senior Jessica Scales added a triple less than two minutes later to get her team to within 15-14.
But Frank and Oliver responded with driving layups and the Indians were off and running.
Whitfield made the most of its first final four appearance. It beat Trenton 53-41 in the semifinal round Thursday behind Blackwell's 21 points and 13 rebounds.
But the end came painfully for the Warriors, who were in no mood to enjoy their second-place finish after the blowout.
"It hurts," Griffin said. "But, it'll make us work harder to get back here again."